Ed Balls has signed up for Comic Relief's Mount Kilimanjaro climb.

Ed Balls

Ed Balls

The 51-year-old former politician - who competed in 'Strictly Come Dancing' in 2016 - is preparing to throw himself into training for the expedition so he doesn't "slow the group down".

A TV insider told The Sun's Bizarre TV column: "He indulged a bit over Christmas and will be the oldest man taking part so doesn't want to slow the group down.

"But Ed is determined to get to his peak physical fitness."

'Strictly Come Dancing' judge Shirley Ballas and Little Mix are also said to have been approached to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the tallest mountain in Africa and stands at 5,895 metres.

Shirley will start preparing next month after the 'Strictly' tour finishes.

Every year around 1,000 people are evacuated from the mountain and approximately 10 deaths are reported, although the actual number of casualties is believed to be higher.

In 2009, Gary Barlow, Ronan Keating, Chris Moyles, Ben Shephard, Cheryl, Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen, Fearne Cotton and Alesha Dixon set off to Tanzania to tackle Kilimanjaro with project manager and guide Jeremy Gane of Charity Challenge.

Cheryl, Fearne, Denise and Ben reached the summit first at sunrise.

Then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with the group upon their return to the UK, and said they were "inspiring a generation of kids" with their bravery.

The climb raised an excess of £3.5 million with over £1.8 million coming from the audience of BBC Radio 1, which was a record for the station.

Comic Relief has raised more than £1 billion since it launched in 1985.

The charity says it uses the money to "tackle the root causes of poverty and social injustice in the UK and across the world".