Entertainment

As Theo Campbell joins Love Island, see the other sporting stars who turned to reality TV

These athletes branched out to dancing, dating and singing.

The arrival of Team GB 400m runner Theo Campbell on Love Island has already caused quite a stir, particularly given British Athletics were not aware of his amorous ambitions.

But while most sportsmen wait until their careers are over before taking the offer of reality TV, he is far from the first.

Theo Campbell Love Island
Theo Campbell was a surprise signing for Love Island (ITV)

Here, Press Association Sport picks six of the best mid-career diversions on the small screen.

Gavin Henson (Strictly Come Dancing/The Bachelor)

Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson put on his dancing shoes (BBC)

The Wales rugby union star took a surprise mid-career hiatus in 2009-10, on unpaid leave from Ospreys, but maintained a solid tabloid profile. That made him the perfect candidate for the ever-popular Strictly Come Dancing, which has often drafted sports stars in retirement. Henson signed a deal to restart his career with Saracens mid-series but – in a sign of the times – indicated he would be available to play only when his commitments in the ballroom were done. He and partner Katya Virshilas finished fifth and he was lining up for Sarries by Boxing Day. In 2011 he helmed the fourth series of The Bachelor UK, in which 25 women battled to become his new girlfriend. He went on to date winner Carianne Barrow, though she labelled him “boring and weird” after they split.

Jamie O’Hara (Celebrity Big Brother)

Jamie O'Hara
Jamie O’Hara in Celebrity Big Brother (Ian West/PA)

The former Tottenham and England and Under-21 midfielder once appeared destined for great things but there are a few curious entries on the 30-year-old’s CV in recent years. He probably would not have envisaged signing for Billericay Town in the seventh tier of English football back at the peak of his powers but the assignment which preceded it, a stint in the 19th series of Celebrity Big Brother, was even more unexpected. He was the ninth housemate to be evicted following a twist challenge called ‘The Final Judgement’.

Jack Brooks (Celebrity Dinner Date)

Jack Brooks
Jack Brooks went dating, too (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Brooks, one of the most consistent wicket-takers in county cricket over recent seasons, branched out earlier this year by putting his culinary talents to the test in a bid to find love. At stake was the chance to romance former Coronation Street actress Rhea Bailey. The Twitter feeds of his team-mates and opponents went into overdrive and Bailey was won over by his menu of chicken satay starter, chilli and honey salmon and chocolate chip cookies with ice cream. The pair did exchange numbers but love did not blossom.

David Haye (I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!)

David Haye
David Haye went into the jungle (ITV)

The former world heavyweight champion was not officially retired when he signed up for a trip to the jungle, though it would be almost four years before he fought professionally again. He finished a creditable third but proved less popular than Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts and EastEnders actress Charlie Brooks in the final analysis. The Hayemaker participated in five Bushtucker Trials along the way, including an eight-star performance in ‘Cruelty Towers’.

Matt Stevens (X Factor: Battle of the Stars)

Matt Stevens
Matt Stevens exercised his lungs (Mike Egerton/PA)

The former England prop, still plying his trade with Toulon, faced a year out of the game in 2006 due to a shoulder injury. That did afford him the chance to showcase his vocal talents, under the mentorship of none other than Sharon Osbourne. His songs of choice showed an old soul behind his front-rower’s looks as he reeled off the likes of Mack The Knife, Piano Man and Desperado en route to a second-place finish.

Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Gogglebox)

Daniel Sturridge
Daniel Sturridge took to the Gogglebox sofa (Peter Byrne/PA)

The England internationals featured on a Stand Up to Cancer special of the popular fly-on-the-wall show. The trio discussed a variety of comments as they sat back to watch some of the latest TV highlights. Sturridge came out as the social media star for his animated reactions, which included him discussing his low opinion of mosquitoes, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s ill-suitedness to the armed forces and Mark Wahlberg’s unsuitability to portraying him in a biopic.

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