I’m A Celebrity star Shane Richie’s past as £20-a-night gigolo… ‘It was fantastic!’
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Shane Richie was just days shy of his 16th birthday when he landed his dream job as a Pontins Bluecoat.
Having added a couple of years to his age to land the job, he earned himself the nickname 'Baby Blue' and set about bedding as many women as he could.
First, the I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here host had a fling with a girl in her 20s who thought he was 18 and, "threw me around like an empty crisp bag in a storm."
On another occasion he got frisky with a group of four naked women after a night out on Great Yarmouth.
And it was while working as a Bluecoat that he got to know a well-heeled local businesswoman called Sandra.
Shane, back row, third from left, was just shy of 16 when he landed a job as a Bluecoat
(Image: Rex Features)
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In her late 30s, she would call into the Pontin's bar once a week for a drink, and on one occasion told Shane, now 56, that only a woman knows what another woman wants in the bedroom.
When he asked her to elaborate, Sandra apparently brought him a pile of lesbian porn films.
"I could have died and gone to heaven," the former EastEnders star wrote in his autobiography, Rags to Riches.
And it was through Sandra that Shane found his next money-spinner – sleeping with older ladies for £20 a pop.
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He wrote: "I ended up becoming a gigolo. She told me she had two older friends who were great fun. When you're 16, someone in their 30s seems old – and these ladies were in their 50s!"
Sandra introduced him to a divorced property tycoon and a widow who had been left a stable full of racehorses by her late husband.
The property mogul "took a liking to" Shane and invited him to dinner followed by a fashion show on a boat.
She sent a chauffeur-driven Mercedes to pick Shane up, before they drank champagne and ate caviar. "It was fantastic," Shane recalled.
Years after his wild Pontins days, Shane married Coleen Nolan
(Image: Ken McKay / Rex Features)
Then the issue of money was raised.
"At the end of the night she asked to see me again and added: 'Shane, I understand you won't want to do this for nothing,'" he said.
"I was gobsmacked. I had no idea what she was on about until Sandra explained.
"You mean, 'I'm going to make money just by going out to dinner with them?' I said. I couldn't believe my luck. 'Not exactly. They'll expect you to spend the night with them too,' Sandra replied. 'But they'll pay you.'
"Well, how much?"
"I'm not sure, about pounds 20."
And that was music to Shane's ears.
He continued: "Twenty quid! Just for a bit of how's-your-father? Yes please! The truth is I'd have done it for nothing."
Back then, he was earning just £22 a week as a Bluecoat and sending a large proportion of that back to his mum.
Meanwhile, his older lovers bought him clothes and gave him cash in return for companionship.
Although each woman had different requests with the property mogul preferring just a kiss, cuddle and snuggle in bed.
"We'd end up in the bath, drinking champagne with me massaging her shoulders. After our bath she'd ask me to get into bed and stay there with her until she was asleep before I left.
"I did do the rumpy-pumpy with the other lady, maybe five or six times during the summer.
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"It never felt strange or sleazy. These were lonely ladies who simply wanted company."
Shane went on to marry Loose Women star Coleen Nolan but they split in 1999.
He married actress Christie Goddard in 2007 and they have three children – Mackenzie Blue, 14, Lolita Bell, 12, and Romani-Skye Angel Shelley, nine.
Rags To Richie: The Story So Far by Shane Richie was published by Contender Books in 2004 and can be purchased online.
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* I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here continues Monday, November 16 at 9pm on ITV.