GLORIA Hunniford confessed her Snow Leopard costume on the Masked Singer brought her to tears.
The broadcaster, 81, became the second celebrity unmasked in the ITV show’s new series when she lost out to Bagpipes and Rockhopper.
Her regal, white costume was one of this year’s finest – but it did have one drawback.
Gloria said: “I think that the costume makers are utterly sensational.
“They came to my house in Denmark. The first time they tried the mask on, it came with this big box, and I love snow leopards. I just think it's a lovely looking animal.
“And when they took the mask out, I cried. It was so beautiful.
“But I couldn't see anything. You have to go down a dark corridor and you can't see the edge of the stage.
“And you've got your costume. And the ones who are flying around stage have nothing on their legs except for the leggings. So they have lots of movement and I didn't because I was in quite a strict costume.
“It is quite hot, I have to say. It is heavy because the trousers are fur-lined… fur, and obviously, there's a lot of fur.”
Jonathan Ross correctly guessed Gloria was behind the mask, but other guesses from the panel included Jane Seymour, Judi Dench and Joan Collins.
Davina McCall thought Snow Leopard was an older lady because it was helped off stage by security guards.
Gloria, who sang Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender, said: “I'm proud of the fact that I'm the oldest person ever to appear on it, and I got away with it.
“If you go back over the shows, lots of people have to have a bloke on either side steering them along because you're coming down a black corridor on the stage, and you can't see the edge of the stage. So somebody has to place you.”
Bosses did make modifications to Snow Leopard to help Gloria after a malfunction in rehearsals.
She added: “Did I tell you the story about the rehearsal? The mask wasn't tight enough. I thought it would be tight enough, but when I turned my head back to sing, ‘Big Spender’, the mask flew back, and I got a mouthful of fur.
“So thank goodness that didn't happen on the night.
“The only thing I had to change was at the beginning my feet were enclosed in these rather big, furry ends.
"And it was too restricting for me, so they cut around, and let me wear my own shoes, which are much more comfortable.”
Singing on TV was a full circle moment for Gloria, who first hit the spotlight in Northern Ireland as a singer.
She added: “That's what I was going to be from the age of seven. But I loved broadcasting, definitely.
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“When I turned up singing on shows like Les Dawson, and Des O’Connor, and all the people who were doing big variety shows at that time, people were surprised.
“I did “And I think now that nearly three decades have passed, other people got surprised again when I came out singing.”
Gloria added that she knew she had no chance against Poodle after hearing his version of Rocket Man.
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