Celeb Juice’s Keith Lemon risked backlash after signing younger Fearne and Holly

Celebrity Juice host Keith Lemon has cheekily explained why he signed up Emily Atack and Laura Whitmore as team captains for the new series.

They reminded him of their predecessors Holly Willoughby and Fearne Cotton, both 39, in their younger days, he joked.

Pals Emily, 30, and Laura, 35, will face brand new weird and wacky games and challenges.

Keith risked a backlash saying: "They are very much like Holly and Fearne back in their younger days."

Fearne stepped down from her role on Celeb Juice in 2018 after ten years as team captain.

Announcing her departure, she said: "It has been a joy to be part of this magnificent show and I wish the team the very best in future series."

She stepped away in order to focus on other parts of her career, including her podcast Happy Place, becoming an author and a BBC series.

Just shy of two years after Fearne's departure, best friend Holly also announced she was walking away after 12 years on the show.

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Taking to Instagram to share the news, Holly said: "Thank you @celebjuiceofficial for 12 years of fantastic chaos… I can't quite believe what we've done and how quickly that time has gone."

She went on to add: "All good things must come to an end and nothing lasts forever… It's time for me to hand over my team captain seat to some lucky lucky person…"

Keith was dealt yet another blow in July 2020, when Daily Star Online exclusively revealed that Fearne's replacement, Melanie Brown, had also made the decision to quit and focus her attention on other projects.

A source close to the Spice Girls songstress told us: "Melanie has loved working with Leigh [Keith], Holly and the whole team at Celebrity Juice but next year is going to be very busy for her."

Mel joined the show in 2019, replacing Paddy McGuinness as the team captain rival to Holly Willoughby and quickly became a fan favourite with her razor-sharp wit.

The new series of the ITV2 panel show starts on Thursday, October 22.

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