I’m A Celebrity… Everything you need to know as stars set up camp in Wales
Written by on 13 November 2020
It’s that time of year again, but for 2020 the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! camp has gone through a few changes.
For the first time in 18 years, the hit reality TV show has been moved from the Australian jungle, due to restrictions in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now being filmed much closer to home, in Wales.
Will this be better or worse for the celebs? Will the toilet still be the dunny? And how do you find a witchetty grub in Wales?
As the 20th season of I’m A Celeb is set to start, here are the answers to all the important questions.
Who’s taking part?
Following much speculation and a few leaks, the line-up has now been confirmed.
First up, there is Sir Mo Farah, 37, the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history.
With all those medals under his belt, surely the team will be relying on him to do well in the tasks.
“I think there will be a lot of pressure but hopefully it should be good,” he said. “I know the eating trials involve yucky stuff but you just have to hold your nose and crack on.”
TV presenter Vernon Kay, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly, is also on the bill, and says he’s doing it for his daughters, Phoebe and Amber.
The 46-year-old, who has helmed shows including T4, All Star Family Fortunes, Beat The Star and Splash!, as well as presenting on Radio 1, said: “Every time I talk about it, I get a double fist pump from them and they are thrilled to be involved.”
Coronation Street favourite Beverley Callard, aka Liz McDonald, is also taking part, saying after turning down numerous offers to appear in the jungle she finally said yes after making the decision to leave the soap after 31 years.
They will be joined by singer, presenter and comedian Shane Richie, 56, best known for his portrayal of Alfie Moon in EastEnders; Radio 1 presenter Jordan North, 30; journalist and broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, 52; author and podcaster Giovanna Fletcher, 35; former Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Pritchard, 26; Paralympic gold medallist Hollie Arnold, 26; and singer and EastEnders star Jessica Plummer, 28.
And no doubt there will be a few additions as the series gets going.
Where is this series being filmed?
This year, the celebs will be swapping suncream for sou’westers as they set up camp at Gwrych Castle, in Abergele. North Wales.
ITV has said the format of the show series will stay the same, despite the decidedly different surroundings – although this year’s winner will be crowned King or Queen of the Castle, rather than the jungle.
Sitting on a tree-lined hillside overlooking the Irish Sea, and situated next to Abergele Golf Club and Manorafan Farm Park, the privately owned castle boasts turrets, towers and lookouts, and offers 250 acres of gardens and grounds.
While the venue did feature in Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys series several years ago, this will be its time to shine.
Dr Mark Baker, chairman of the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, has described the castle as “a beautiful grade I listed 19th century house and a must-see destination for tourists visiting Wales”.
The trust is hoping that the show will help support an ongoing restoration project, and also give the region an economic boost.
What restrictions will be in place due to COVID-19?
Despite the latest lockdown rules, the series is very much going ahead.
However, ITV has published a “COVID management plan” which details strict measures – including the use of wearable buzzers, which will go off when crew members get too close to one another.
The number of on-site crew has also been halved, with much work taking place remotely in London, and both the celebrities and hosts Ant and Dec will have “extremely limited” production access.
Contestants have been isolating for the past two weeks and have formed a bubble, as have Ant and Dec – fortunately, the pair are good friends.
They will all be tested for coronavirus every three days.
Other measures include visitors being banned from the site, masks for crew in certain locations, temperature checks on arrival, handwashing, testing and special training.
Richard Cowles, director of entertainment at ITV Studios, has said: “Everyone on the production team has worked incredibly hard to bring I’m A Celebrity to Wales and a massive part of making that possible has been developing our protocols around COVID.
“We have worked with ITV’s independent chief medical officer Dr Paul Litchfield, ITV’s health and safety department, and our own health and safety and medical teams to keep everyone connected with the production – both in front of and behind the camera – as safe as possible.”
Have any of the cast or crew had coronavirus?
Pritchard revealed he tested positive when he went into isolation before travelling to the castle.
However, he said he did not have any symptoms, and since his positive result he has had two negative tests – which means he shall go to the ball.
“Thank you to ITV and the whole team for putting the safety measures in place to protect their staff and the celebrities, that’s why we do go into isolation,” he said.
“It’s one of those scenarios in this crazy world we live in at the moment.”
He added: “I’m ready to conquer anything thrown at me.”
How are Ant and Dec coping?
Hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly recently revealed they had taken part in their first ever bushtucker trial, which was shown in a special episode ahead of the series launch.
Filmed in the jungle in 2019, the presenters took on one of the infamously gruesome eating challenges.
Trailers for the series have shown the duo getting used to their new habitat, with one featuring the pair at a Welsh cafe. After 18 years of Australian food, they instead are served Welsh cakes.
Another shows them scratching their heads in search of the filming location, wearing waterproofs in the rain as they test their map skills.
“Well, this is the coldest summer in Australia ever,” said Dec, before Ant’s phone plays a message to him in Welsh.
What about the challenges?
A lot of the jungle challenges depended on, well, the jungle and its creatures. So how will they be replicated over here in the UK?
While Australia has snakes, spiders and those massive angry crabs galore, Wales has it easier when it comes to terrifying critters.
ITV have kept details under wraps, simply saying that viewers will see the celebs undertaking “gruelling trials and fun-filled challenges to win food and treats in the lead-up to one of them being crowned, for the first time ever, King or Queen of the Castle”.
So you’ll have to watch to find out.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! starts on ITV on Sunday 15 November at 9pm