11 SEPTEMBER 2003
Changing Rooms star Linda Barker's popularity shot up after she appeared in I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, leading to a new sex symbol image and a slew of lucrative promotional contracts.
But while the 41-year-old seemed to be thrilled with her commercial success, the BBC – which has tight regulations forbidding its stars from endorsing products closely associated to their shows – held another opinion entirely. The network told the star she had to make a choice: Changing Rooms or adverts. And Linda chose the latter.
"Linda really wanted to take advantage of her commercial interests but she knows she can't do that and appear on Changing Rooms," said a BBC spokesperson. "It was a mutual agreement that she leave."
Meanwhile, the TV presenter, who has called her new sex symbol status "hysterical but fantastic", is enjoying her skyrocketing popularity to the fullest. "I'm exactly the same person I was before I went on I'm A Celebrity," says Linda, "but if people want to call me a sex kitten, that's great."
The TV presenter, who designs sofas for DFS and appears in Currys adverts, will be starring on an upcoming daytime lifestyle series and a primetime entertainment show on ITV.