Strictly star Tony Adams says handling Craig will be easier than jail

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Recovering alcoholic Adams served 57 days in Chelmsford Prison following a 1990 conviction for drink-driving, and later said his spell behind bars taught him nothing. Now 26 years sober, the former Arsenal player – nicknamed Donkey – laughed when other contestants listed the tough times they thought would help them cope with the Strictly pressure.

“I’m going to top you all,” he insisted, “because when I came out of prison they lobbed bottles at me and I had carrots thrown at me. So – I’ve trumped it.”

The dad-of-six, 55, says he accepted the offer to appear on the show now that he has more time, following a breakdown and heart scare in 2016.

“I had a mental breakdown when I was 49 and working too hard in China and I’ve just got time now.

“I’m not working too much, my calendar’s pretty empty for the next three months so I just thought yeah, go for it.

“After my heart procedure – I nearly died when I was 49 – my main artery was 99 per cent closed and the stress of life.

“I’m a bit of a born worrier, my mum was a worrier so I just decided to take things a bit easier and get myself on a silly show.”

He said he feels fit and healthy to take part – last year producers suffered the blow of Robert Webber pulling out due to poor health.

“They do a thorough examination, the production is another level to be honest. My physio was quite damning because I’ve got a new metal knee as well, she went ‘no knee slides’.

“It was ‘can’t do this, can’t do that’ – she kept saying ‘you’re not very good are you?’ I said ‘I am 55 now’.”

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