Entertainment & Arts

I'm A Celebrity will swap jungle for ruined British castle, ITV says

Jacqueline Jossa doing a bush tucker trial on her way to winning the 2019 series Image copyright ITV/Shutterstock
Image caption Jacqueline Jossa doing a bush tucker trial on her way to winning the 2019 series

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! will relocate from the Australian jungle to a ruined British castle for this year's series, ITV has said.

The broadcaster said the coronavirus pandemic meant it "just wasn't possible for us to travel and make the show" Down Under as usual.

That means bush tucker trials are out, but ITV promised similarly "gruelling trials and fun-filled challenges".

ITV hasn't revealed the location, apart from saying it's "in the countryside".

It has also not revealed whether the participating celebrities will live in the castle itself or in a camp.

"Our celebrities will probably have to swap shorts for thermals but they can still look forward to a basic diet of rice and beans and plenty of thrills and surprises along the way," ITV Studios director of entertainment Richard Cowles said.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Last year's launch show was ITV's most-watched programme of 2019

The company had "pulled out all the stops" to make the series happen in Australia, he said.

"Unfortunately, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and despite us looking at many different contingencies, it became apparent that it just wasn't possible for us to travel and make the show there," he said.

"However, we are all really excited about a UK version of I'm A Celebrity. While it will certainly be different producing the show from the UK, the same tone and feel will remain."

Ant and Dec will present the 20th series, with the winner to be crowned the first king or queen of the castle.

The announcement comes a week after ITV confirmed that the show would definitely return this autumn.

Director of television Kevin Lygo said: "We announced last week that we were doing all we could to make the series and I'm thrilled that we can bring the show to viewers albeit not in the jungle.

"We have a great team both on and off-screen and I know they will produce a hugely entertaining series."

Ratings winner

If the show had not gone ahead this year, it would have been a major blow for the channel as well as for viewers.

The 2019 launch show was its most-watched programme of the year, seen by more than 13 million people.

That made it the UK's most popular reality show, and was more than watched the top episodes for Strictly Come Dancing, Britain's Got Talent and The Great British Bake Off.

On Thursday, ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said the pandemic had put the broadcaster through "one of the most challenging times" in its history.

Advertising revenue for the April-to-June quarter fell by 43%, the company said.

Image caption Ant and Dec will be back as hosts

ITV also hasn't set out details of whether the contestants will have to quarantine and have coronavirus tests beforehand.

In the US, the participants in the latest series of Big Brother All Stars had to quarantine for two weeks and have regular coronavirus tests before its launch on Wednesday.

The contestants wore masks and socially distanced from the host before entering, but were allowed to remove the masks and stop socially distancing once they were inside, Buzzfeed reported.


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