The Covid-19 outbreak has meant that many have been unable to travel this year, including the team of one of ITV’s most successful shows. With Queensland closing their borders and flights being cancelled to Brisbane, I’m A Celeb is moving continents this year. However, this has not stopped ITV bosses from carrying on with the show! They have donned their long johns in place of their Akubra hats in preparation for the cold and wet weather. But what changes are we going to see this year, and will they severely impact the shows appeal?
Arguably, I’m A Celeb was in need of some changes, with the show being filmed in the same camp near Murwillumbah since 2003.
First will be the drastic changes in climate for both campmates and crew. In previous years, we have seen thunderstorms in the jungle, but campmates were sheltered by a canopy hung above the camp. This year it is said the campmates will be more exposed to the elements than ever before, and they will even be competing for hot water. Despite this seeming incredibly entertaining for viewers at home, former contestant Christopher Biggins stated in an interview that with the wintery UK conditions he “certainly wouldn’t want to be in it this year.”
Arguably, I’m A Celeb was in need of some changes, with the show being filmed in the same camp near Murwillumbah since 2003. There is no doubt that everyone loves the Aussie accent, but some have argued I’m A Celeb is seeing trials and scenarios recycled each year.
One fear from fans is that it may be quite PG this year, feeling more like CBBC’s Raven than the I’m A Celeb we’re used to
We could see the producers be more medieval in their Bushtucker trials this year, drawing on historical methods of torture, such as the rack or the stocks. Horror stories of the haunting of the castle may also be used as a key narrative throughout the series. One fear from fans is that it may be quite PG this year, feeling more like CBBC’s Raven than the I’m A Celeb we’re used to! The Sun has speculated that our favourite terrifying Bushtucker trials could be restricted or ditched all together due to the UK’s strict Animal Welfare and Wildlife and Countryside Acts.
The RSPCA offers advice for TV shows who wish to use animals. They say that they will always try to encourage “alternative methods” of entertaining without the risk of causing undue suffering to animals. The Director of the RSPCA, Elisa Allen, has spoken of her beliefs surrounding I'm A Celeb's actions in the past. She believes it needs to “change its format”, adding that "The show's been doing the same tired, tacky, and cruel stunts for years." It begs the question- is our entertainment more important than the wellbeing of these animals?
Molly Kay highlights the possible benefits to UK tourism to "shoot something so massive" in this country that "hopefully it'll boost our own tourism economy."
One thing is for sure, the nation will be glad of some much-needed new TV on our screens. ITV is said to be in "one of the most challenging times" in its history, with advertising revenue falling by a jaw-dropping 43% in the April-to-June quarter. Many will be wondering how the crew will stay COVID safe. They may draw guidance from the USA's Big Brother All-Stars, in which contestants had to quarantine two weeks prior to filming, alongside being required to conduct regular tests. There is always a risk, however, and it certainly would not look good on the show if one celeb was tested positive!
I interviewed fellow I'm A Celeb fan Molly Kay, who highlights the possible benefits to UK tourism to "shoot something so massive" in this country that "hopefully it'll boost our own tourism economy." Jess Bailey added that it may "help to restore the castles" and thus aiding the Heritage sector, which has been severely affected due to COVID-19.
ITV producers are remaining hopeful for the new series, with Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Director of Television, stating he is “thrilled that we can bring the show to viewers, albeit not in the jungle.” The potential changes to the Bushtuker trials and strict new rule will apparently not alter the show too much, with it still having “the same tone” as previous years.