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Gwrych Castle in Wales in Australian jungle out for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!


The 20th season of I’m a Celebrity get me out of here was on the verge of being cancelled due to Covid-19. However, with a swift change in venue, the producers were able to ensure the fans got their show.

No longer will we be watching the celebrities around the jungle campfire in Australia, but rather from within the cold stone walls of a castle in Wales. After 19 seasons, the show is finally coming home to UK soil, at Gwrych Castle, a 19th century grade I listed estate overlooking the Irish Sea. This caused both controversy and excitement, with viewers questioning if the castle would have the same impact as the jungle.

The castle may have walls with slightly more comfortable accommodation, unlike the jungle, but it doesn’t make it any less challenging for the celebrities. It is not secure from the outside elements and so they will still have to fend off creepy crawlies, spiders and rats. One change will without a doubt be the freezing cold temperatures that they will have to tolerate. The layout of the camp is similar, with the focal point being the camp fire and the recognisable red phone box, but the producers have made a few tweaks in keeping with the new location.

One of the main changes that viewers have picked up on is the washroom. Gone are the waterfall scenes from the outback. Now, they can have a lukewarm shower, but only if their campmate pumps the water for them, and only if they have managed to keep the boiler going, collected enough wood and pumped the system for 30 minutes twice a day! Some viewers were quick to knock the apparent luxurious warm water – but given the cold winter weather in Wales, and the lengths they need to go to, others find it fair and in keeping with the medieval theme.

Another concern was if the bush tucker trials would still be as horrific and jaw dropping for the public to watch. After seeing celebrities Shane Richie and Jessica Plummer taking part in the Wicked Waterworks trial, it is fair to say, they may even be worse! The contestants had to swallow 6 different drinks made from bugs, fermented eggs and animal parts – there was even one given to Richie which was made of a blended pig’s vagina. ITV are going all out to ensure the trials are just as gripping for those sat at home and judging by the thousands of tweets, they hit the nail on the head with this one.

But is the castle as good as the jungle?

Perhaps with the current pandemic, the mind-set of the public is more negative. There have been an abundance of articles which moan about the logistics of I’m a Celebrity, from the safety briefings the contestants receive before the trials, to ridiculous claims that the castle has central heating (all because they were wearing short sleeved t-shirts). And of course, it does not have central heating. ITV even donated £300,000 to help with the restoration such as fixing walls and floors. Producers must be laughing – any press is good press and is surely going to boost the viewings and ratings of the show.

Avid fans of the jungle have been quick to take to social media to express their dislike for the new venue in comparison to the traditional. Though perhaps they need reminding that this was not an option this year. “The castle doesn’t feel right” and “it just does not compare to the jungle” are common opinions from many.

Although there are some who dislike the atmospheric, haunted castle in Wales, the viewings have sky rocketed this year. Perhaps this is because of lockdown and the restrictions the public are under, or perhaps the makeover was what the show needed to give it a new lease of life. The 2020 launch was the biggest audience for the show since the 2018 final. In fact, more than half the available TV audience tuned in to watch it (51.9%). It is the 5th biggest programme on any channel so far this year.

The posts on social media came flooding in, with seals of approval for the stunning scenery. Wales is a magnificent and striking country that doesn’t often get the recognition it deserves. Perhaps now it will. One tweet said that the programme “really showed how beautiful the Welsh Countryside is.” Thousands of fans have commented on how great it is to “literally be on our doorstep” and that they would “welcome it back any year”. It has even been compared to the Crystal Maze, a nostalgic programme and a firm favourite of the British.

As pleasant as it is to sit and watch celebrities basking in the sunshine, it is certainly more comforting to watch a cold, characteristic castle in the middle of November, during a national lockdown. Sally Baker, a therapist comments that “we miss our old lives, we are grieving for our friendships and our families, and I’m a celebrity reminds us of what it’s like just seeing 10 people on the screen together. “ It brings a sense of normality, which during these testing times, has been greatly appreciated.

After 19 seasons, the show has welcomed a breath of fresh air and a change of scenery. Despite the debates amongst the shows’ fans, it has undoubtedly been a success. There may no longer be the legendary bridge to cross on the way to the trials, but there is a crumbling, marble stair case lit by fire torches. You don’t get more atmospheric than that.

While some argue – if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, the producers are considering alternating years between Wales and Australia, to keep it interesting and different. Although as one viewer bluntly wrote “All you need is Ant and Dec, and the trials”.

Is the Castle in and the Jungle out? Looks like they are both here to stay.

Some of the information on this post was taken from Betway.

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