Patti Newton says neither she nor TV legend Bert, 76, were adventurous enough to spend weeks in the African jungle away from their family and the comforts of home.
The TV power couple joins a line of stars, including Shane Warne, Derryn Hinch and Sophie Monk, to pass on the project despite being offered up to $60,000 a week.
In a grab for first-night ratings, Channel 10 is keeping a tight lid on the cast until the series goes to air.
Family Feud’s Grant Denyer, former Today Show gossip Richard Reid, cricketer Andrew Symonds, former US child star Melissa Joan Hart, actor Vince Colosimo, Australian Idol judges Mark Holden and Ian “Dicko” Dickson and The Bachelor’s Laurina Fleure are now the leading candidates to take part in the series, which has celebrities camp in the African jungle and perform extreme challenges.
“He (Bert) has not been asked to be part of the show, but I have and I declined,” Patti said.
“I think it’s a bit risky for someone like me. I wouldn’t want to go into the jungle at my age and be away from my creature comforts and my three grandchildren.
“I don’t think this show is something that Bert or I would excel at.
“There wouldn’t be many people who would want to be seen without their make-up and be seen in their true state. Most of us like a bit of camouflage.”
Patti said she and Bert had never been to Africa.
Plans to visit Namibia in 2012 so that Bert could film a role in the latest Mad Max film were cancelled following his quadruple bypass.
She said the scare had cost Bert his role, but he had plenty of stage work to keep him occupied this year with back-to-back roles in Grease and The Rocky Horror Show.
“I’m sure Africa is lovely but we’re not very adventurous,” she said. “We’d be much prefer to go on holiday to Noosa.”