I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Here! to return to Wales in 2021

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image source, ITV
image captionITV have confirmed the 21st series of the show will return to Wales

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! is to be filmed in Wales for the second successive series, ITV have confirmed.

The reality TV show, hosted by Ant and Dec, is normally held in the Australian jungle but returns to Gwrych Castle in north Wales due to Covid restrictions.

Author and presenter Giovanna Fletcher was crowned queen of the castle last year, beating radio host Jordan North and TV star Vernon Kay in the final.

Restoration of the castle has been sped up after featuring on the hit TV show.

The castle near Abergele, in Conwy county, will again feature as the backdrop to this year's programme when it airs on ITV in November and December.

The 2020 edition of the popular show was switched to Wales from Australia due to travel restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic - now ITV bosses have confirmed it will return to the Grade I listed gothic revival 19th century castle.

"We've always said we have contingencies in place for the series if the Covid situation continued to bring uncertainty, and after a highly successful run at the castle last year we're pleased that we can return there," said Katie Rawcliffe of ITV.

media captionLast year celebrities were put to work doing chores and splitting wood for a boiler at Gwrych Castle

ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said in March the show would return to Australia for the next series if possible, saying it was "meant to be" there.

But ongoing coronavirus restrictions have meant the show returns to north Wales and Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust chairman Dr Mark Baker said he was "absolutely delighted" the programme was returning.

media captionHow do you pronounce I'm A Celeb's Gwrych Castle?

'Amazing'

Tracey Brennan, a councillor in Abergele who runs a gift shop and greengrocer's in the town, told BBC Radio Wales Drive Time: "There's a real feeling of excitement in the air again. People are just so pleased. It's amazing."

She said she hoped businesses would benefit: "One of the unique things about Abergele is that the about 95% of our business are independent, we don't have any of the big national names here, so this will be a massive boost for our local economy.

"If we can bring more people in to showcase the town, castle and the beach it will be a massive help."

The Welsh government's arts and sport deputy minister Dawn Bowden added it was "excellent news" the show was coming back.

Host Ant McPartlin previously said he would be "very happy" for the programme to return to Wales as the crew was warmly welcomed during the last series.

image source, ITV
image captionThe last series of the programme was won by podcast host Giovanna Fletcher

"There were cardboard cutouts of me and Dec [Donnelly] in the butcher's, and the local school did a tribute," he told Digital Spy.

"We'd happily go back there. We'd miss the sunshine, mind."

Gwrych Castle was open as a visitor attraction until the 1980s but since then, several owners failed to make the building a success and it fell into a near-derelict ruin without roof or floors.

media caption"Am I Cledwyn now?" - I'm a Celeb castle reopens

The Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust finally managed to buy the building in 2018 and has been working to stabilise it since.

The money generated from hosting the show hasn't just helped the castle itself, but the local economy, according to the castle's owners.

Dr Baker claimed the show brought in more than £1m to Wales' economy last year as he said ITV fulfilled its promise to use local contractors wherever possible.

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