The television reality show, I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here is now in its 16th year, with the latest group of celebrities enduring all kinds of horrors in the Australian bush, as they compete for the honour of being crowned king/queen of the jungle.
The show first aired on ITV in August 2002, when nobody could have foreseen how massive it was going to be. Nor could the producers have envisaged the number of stars who would participate over the years. The first series was filmed at King Ranch, near Tully, in Queensland, when the winner was veteran radio DJ Tony Blackburn.
Along with fellow campmates, including television paranormalist Uri Geller, former boxer Nigel Benn and actor Darren Day, Blackburn participated in many horrific and gruelling challenges – including the dreaded Bush Tucker Trials, when contestants must eat all kinds of weird “foods”, such as insects.
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Hits and misses
Over the years, many other celebrities from all walks of life have tried their luck at living rough in the jungle, after the show moved to its permanent base at Dungay, near Murwillumbah, in 2003. Some have adapted to the lifestyle and triumphed, while others have failed.
Past winners of the show have included television personality and star of the reality show Geordie Shore Vicky Pattison, former EastEnders actress Charlie Brooks, World Superbike racer Carl “Foggy” Fogarty and singer and television presenter Stacey Solomon.
Celebrities who have had a disastrous time on the show have included The Only Way is Essex star Gemma Collins, who famously lasted only three days on the show in 2014, provoking derision when she left because she “wasn’t enjoying it”. She donated her fee to a charity that helps starving children.
I’m a Celebrity 2018
This year, celebrities including Anne Hegerty of TV quiz show The Chase, X-Factor finalist Fleur East, football manager Harry Redknapp, former EastEnders actress Rita Simons and pop star James McVey of The Vamps have taken part in the usual round of nightmarish jungle challenges.
For the first time, Holly Willoughby is co-presenting the show with long-time host Declan Donnelly, after his usual co-host and show business partner, Ant McPartlin, announced he was taking an extended break from TV. Willoughby is the regular presenter of breakfast TV show This Morning.
The current series has got off to a flying start in the ratings, with 11 million viewers watching the opening episode – the highest number of viewers in five years. The high viewing figures have continued, with the nightly show attracting an average audience of almost 10 million – this represents an increase of 1.5 million viewers compared with last year.
The rigours of camp life include living off a diet of rice and beans every day, having only cold showers, enduring many insect bites and taking part in some terrible trials. This year, the locker challenge saw camp mates Emily Atack and Nick Knowles taking part in the Dingo Dollar Challenge.
They were shown a set of school photos on a wall of all the camp members when they were kids and had to work out who was who. A set of lockers had been erected in a jungle clearing, designed to look like the ones they might have found in the school corridor in their youth.
Each locker was filled with typical school clutter, with some important facts about the owner hidden somewhere inside. Atack and Knowles had to rummage through the lockers, locate the information and put the relevant fact below the photo of the matching celebrity.
The challenge revealed some interesting facts about the contestants: Anne Hegerty had been an extra in a Robin Hood film, while Atack owned up to having bitten people when she was a kid – after her mum made her bite a bar of soap as punishment, she never did it again!
The duo succeeded in matching all the secrets in the lockers with the photos on the wall. On completion of the task, they went to the Outback Shack to find out what rewards they had earned.
Having received their Dingo Dollars, they decided to buy jam roly-poly pudding as a treat for everyone but first, the shack’s owner, “Kiosk Kev”, had to call the camp to ask the contestants a question before they could buy the tasty dessert.
The question was how many adults said their school days were the best days of their life. Unfortunately, the contestants said 40%, but the answer was 50%. Despite their hard work, Atack and Knowles had the kiosk shutter slammed in their face and had to return to camp empty-handed – much to Harry Redknapp’s dismay, as it turns out that jam roly-poly is one of his favourites!
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