The presenter was paid £100,000 to participate in the series. While this figure didn’t come near the reported £500,000 paid to some of his fellow contestants, Clark-Neal said he felt as though he’d “won the lottery”.
His fellow housemates included Steps star Claire Richards, actor Ryan Moloney, and reality TV couple Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. Clark-Neal was later crowned the winner.
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Speaking to Louis Theroux on his Grounded podcast, Clark-Neal said it was “quite shocking” to realise “how much money there is in television”
“I’ve known very big payments for people to go into that house. I mean some people have been paid half a million pounds and got evicted first, put it that way,” he said.
At the time, the Savile abuse scandal had broken and police were pursuing hundreds of lines of inquiries into the former Top of the Pops presenter, who died in 2011.
When Theroux questioned whether he really was compared to a paedophile at the time, Clark-Neal responded: “They weren’t saying I was devious, they were just saying I don’t deserve it, I’m robbing people of places, which is fine…”
In the same interview, Clark-Neal spoke about his struggles with the side-effects of fame, including suffering from agoraphobia.
“I hate people knowing who I am,” he said. “Which is the one thing I actually wanted as a child.”
Clark-Neal said he couldn’t remember the last time he went to a shop or did anything “really normal”, and would rather have friends over for dinner than go out in public.
“When you’re watched by people, and everyone is a photographer now, you worry,” he said.
Radio 4’s Grounded with Louis Theroux is available now on BBC Sounds.
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