Gemma Merna, Ricky Groves to face their fears on Splash!

Gemma Collins, Ricky Groves and Gemma Merna will be among the famous faces heading for the high diving board in the next series of Splash!

The celebrity diving competition, which sees stars trained by Olympic medallist Tom Daley, is welcoming a new batch of novices which also includes ex-EastEnder Ricky, Michaela Strachan, Jenny Eclair and Diversity dancer Perri Kiely.

The Only Way Is Essex star Gemma Collins told the Daily Mirror that she didn’t want to be seen as ‘just a big whale in the pool’ and hopes ‘to show that big girls are beautiful’.

Meanwhile, Saturdays singer Una Foden announced she would be taking part by tweeting a photo of herself in a swimsuit with Tom, captioned: “I can now announce that I am in fact taking part in next years @splashitv #excited.”

Hollyoaks actress Gemma Merna (pictured) said that she had battled to overcome her fears so that she could take part.

She told The Sun: “I love swimming, but have never put my face in the water so I wanted to do something that pushed me. Everyone thinks I am really brave because they know my fears.

“But it’s going to be hard not being able to get tipsy over Christmas – I am taking it very seriously.”

Ricky, who said he was taking part to combat his laziness, said: “When you watch the Olympics on TV, you think, ‘I could do that. That looks easy.’ But I can assure you, it’s not. When you dive from the 10-metre board, you are travelling at 30mph.”

Other contestants include Daybreak’s Anna Williamson, TOWIE star Dan Osborne, former England rugby league star Martin Offiah – who will take injured Rav Wilding’s place – and WAG Danielle O’Hara, who has been spotted practising.

The new series of the ITV show starts on January 4.