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Last Updated: Monday February 26 2007 16:41 GMT

Gossip at the Fame Academy launch

The celeb students

The 13 celebrities who will be competing for the Comic Relief Does Fame Academy crown have been revealed - and Newsround's Leigh Mytton was at the show's launch to get all the gossip.

For the first time, the Academy will be based at a posh London hotel - and that's where we caught up with the nervous students as they all met up for the first time.


Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon told us: "I was really excited when I found out I was going in, but now the nerves are starting to set in.

"We had to keep it a secret, but now I can ring all my best friends and tell them!"

Zoe said she recently visited Malawi and a project in the UK that's been helped by Comic Relief.

The charity raised 61m for good causes in 2005 and this year's organisers will be keen to top that total.

Shaun Williamson
Shaun Williamson

Angellica Bell was pleased that Zoe would be joining her in the Academy as they worked together at CBBC.

Glammed up

"It's nice to know somebody and I want Zoe to do just as well as me. I cannot wait to be in the dorm - we can just talk all night!" she said.

Angellica said Fame Academy was a "great way to raise money for charity".

"Who doesn't want to be a pop star and to get glammed up?" she giggled.

Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman won the last Fame Academy, and her work pal Colin Murray is doing it this time.

"I won't live up to the challenge. I just want to get through the first two nights. She's going to come down and support me and she wants me to win, but I keep saying it's just a competition," said Colin.


BBC sports presenter Ray Stubbs revealed his previous singing experience was doing karaoke during the Euro 2004 championships, but said he was prepared to give the show his "best shot".

Tricia Penrose
Tricia Penrose

Shaun Williamson, who played Barry in EastEnders, admitted he had quite a lot of singing experience, but said that it wouldn't necessarily help him.

"It's not about having a strong voice. People will vote for who is busting a gut to improve," said Shaun.

Actress Tricia Penrose revealed that she started singing when she was 16 - in a duo with her mum.


She seemed to be more concerned about sleeping in the Fame Academy dorm.

"I shout in my sleep and I sleepwalk - I will be scared to go to sleep in case I do anything," she joked.

One student who might struggle with the early morning exercise classes is TV personality Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.

"My day normally starts at 2pm. I have never been to an exercise class in my life," she said, adding that fitness coach Kevin Adams was going to let her wear her high heels for his work-outs.

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

Kevin and the other teachers were looking forward to getting to know their new bunch of students.


Head teacher Richard Park said there was "a lot of intrigue on the way".


The BBC One show presenters Claudia Winkleman and Patrick Kielty were taking a good look at all the students and trying to guess which one would shine.

"It's about walking into the circle of fear and throwing everything into it," said Claudia.

"We can never tell who is going to be the star of the show," said Patrick.

The students
Angellica Bell
Colin Murray
Shaun Williamson
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson
Ray Stubbs
Linda Robson
Tricia Penrose
Mel Giedroyc
Rowland Rivron
Tim Vine
Fred MacAulay
Zoe Salmon
Miranda Hart

The students said they were just hoping to make it through the first showdown on Saturday's launch show, when one of them will leave.

The following Wednesday, another one will walk - and the remaining 11 get to move into the Academy.

But who will they be?

Keep coming back to the Newsround website to get the latest on the celebrity students and their attempts to sing for success.

The celeb students will be performing in the countdown to the grand final on the big Red Nose Day fundraiser on March 16.

The coverage begins on BBC 1 on Saturday, with CBBC starting its twice-daily lowdown from the Academy on March 7.

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