This Sunday, one of television’s most popular reality shows made a return on air. Forced to relocate due to coronavirus restrictions, this year’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! is set to take place in Gwrych Castle in North Wales, as opposed to the Australian jungle. Athlete Sir Mo Farah, television presenter Vernon Kay and soap star Beverly Callard join classical singer Russell Watson, theatre star Ruthie Henshall, former Eastender Shane Richie, BBC Radio 1 DJ Jordan North, journalist and presenter Victoria Derbyshire, Paralympian athlete Hollie Arnold, actress Jessica Plummer, professional dancer AJ Pritchard and McFly star Tom Fletcher’s wife Giovanna Fletcher.
Long-time presenting duo Ant and Dec kicked off proceedings, with Dec saying: “I can’t tell you how excited we are to see you all here together finally. Welcome to the castle.” Ant continued, “Things are going to be a bit different this year. There’s no jungle obviously, there’s no dunny, there’s a privy [toilet] and I can guarantee you there’s absolutely no chance of sunbathing.” Dec then went on to add, “Some things will stay exactly the same. Some things will be reassuringly familiar. So you will live on a diet of rice and beans and you’ll do trials to win food for the camp.”
Pitted against the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, I’m a Celebrity drew an average audience of 10.9 million, which was more than two million more than the earlier BBC show. This year’s opening episode has also already between last year’s figures. In the previous year, around ten million viewers tuned in to watch the I’m a Celebrity launch show. Once on-demand and catch-up views were added to the total, that figure rose to 13.17 million. The first challenge to be forced on this year’s band of campmates was dubbed ‘The Gates to Hell.’ Campmates were locked in chambers and tasked with passing gold stars to one another, as a mixture of cockroaches, maggots and crickets was dropped on them from above.