'I'm A Celebrity' — huge behind-the-scenes secrets that you NEED to know

Ant and Dec presenting I'm A Celebrity in Wales
I’m A Celebrity is back with a brand new series. (Image credit: ITV)

Creepy crawlies… treacherous trials… frightened celebrities can only mean one thing: it’s time for the return of I’m A Celebrity 2021

With the ongoing pandemic preventing the show from heading back to its original habitat of the Australian jungle, hosts Ant and Dec will be bringing us all the highlights from Gwrych Castle in North Wales for the second year running. 

Ten celebrities have been confirmed for this year's lineup, including Good Morning Britain host Richard Madeley, former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips and Loose Women panellist Frankie Bridge, BBC Breakfast news presenter Louise Minchin, Emmerdale star Danny Miller, Football legend David Ginola, Olympic diver Matty Lee, BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Snoochie Shy, Music producer Naughty Boy, and Paralympic gold champion Kadeena Cox. 

But which name will we be adding to the long list of I'm A Celebrity winners following last year’s winner, Giovanna Fletcher?

I'm A Celebrity 2021 celebrity contestants

Ten famous faces have been announced and will be taking on the castle this year. (Image credit: ITV)

Here, I'm A Celebrity executive producer Olly Nash reveals what goes on behind the scenes of TV’s popular reality show… 

There are a great many challenges to filming I’m A Celebrity in Gwrych Castle…

“Even though it looks beautiful, the castle is cold, wet and windy and very little of it has a roof! So everything – from plumbing to waste water, toilets, crew catering, electricity – has to be brought it. We started bringing in portacabins and building workshops in August. The planning has to be meticulous.”

I'm a Celebrity Gwrych Castle

Gwrych Castle is home to 'I'm a Celebrity' for the second year running. (Image credit: ITV)

But there are lots of positives at the castle, too!

"The castle setting sells the concept of the show: Our celebrities are normally dropped in the middle of the Australian jungle - miles from anywhere – and have to fend for themselves. Here, the Castle does the same thing – an abandoned over-grown derelict building tells the celebrities – quite clearly – they are on their own and must make the best out of the situation. It also provides a great backdrop for our trials."

The series is bigger than ever before!

“This year the show has got a lot bigger. We have expanded in more areas of the castle, so we have had to do more repairs but also we are doing more trials and bigger challenges and there is much more at stake. This means more work for the whole team, more infrastructure, and a lot more advice and guidance to ensure we get the most from a limited space. It’s all been about adapting our dreams to make the most of what the castle offers.”

I'm a Celebrity executive producer Olly Nash

'Expect more trials and bigger challenges.' says executive producer Olly Nash.  (Image credit: ITV)

Lessons have been learned from last year… 

“The best lesson from last year is that everything is possible. With a truly amazing team, working ridiculously hard, we made a TV show – famous for sun and jungle – work in a brand-new location in record time. We adapted many parts of the format and gameplay to fit a wet and windy environment but it proved that almost anything is possible. Having done it before, we have worked out how the site can work 24 hours a day, so we can develop more trials and challenges to keep our celebrities on their toes.”

Choosing the campmates…

"We always get a different mix of celebrities each year, they need to have a good sense of humour and be up for a challenge. And there isn’t a formula as you can never predict how they will all get on. Even with the happiest bunch on day one, sparks can fly on day two."

Frankie Bridge I'm A Celebrity

Frankie Bridge is one of the celebrities who's signed up for this series. (Image credit: ITV)

Tough trials…

“Without a doubt, the trials are tougher and more disgusting this year. There are more trials across the series than we have ever done and that means our celebrities will face the trials more often. I have never been anywhere near a trial and have refused to do so! I’m far too scared. Thankfully, the trials team like to put each other through the mill, so I don’t have to.

Ant and Dec are NOT divas!

“Ant and Dec require very little on set – a glass of water and that’s about it!”

TV tonight Ant and Dec are in the rain, not rainforest

Hosts Ant and Dec will be bringing all the gossip live from the castle each night. (Image credit: ITV)

The Castle Vs The Australian Outback

“The Castle is much more challenging than the jungle. In Australia, the sun is out, the days are long and the natural landscape gives us hills, mountains, lakes, sudden tropical storms and most importantly, a natural green-leafed back drop for every trial or challenge. And, of course, the animals out there are truly terrifying: A deadly snake or spider could wander through camp – and the crew areas – at any moment.

“In Wales, we have had to adapt to the weather and the winter. Most of the show is filmed in the dark, so we need lighting. While the Welsh landscape is terrific and beautiful, it’s too harsh during the winter months to ask our celebrities to swim in a lake or camp out for any length of time.”

I'm A Celebrity 2021 Richard Madeley

'Good Morning Britain' presenter Richard Madeley has also signed up for this year's series. (Image credit: ITV)

The Welsh locals get involved…

“Firstly, we are hugely grateful to be guest of North Wales. The show needs several hundred people to make it work – from chefs to production secretaries, technical wizards to carpenters – and many of them are either local or from the North West.”

It might surprise viewers to know that… 

“The amount of people and behind-the-scenes infrastructure is astonishing. We have created a small town that runs 24 hours a day. It’s as busy at 3am as it is at 3pm. Making the show is as fun and exciting as you can imagine. We all work stupidly hard but we laugh loads – especially when we come up with crazy ideas – most of which never make it.”

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here starts on Sunday November 21 at 9pm on ITV.

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!