I’m A Celebrity 2020: Stars set to battle freezing temperatures and survive without a ROOF as bosses reveal first UK-based series will be based at derelict 200-year-old Gwrych Castle in Wales… (and ITV shelled out £1m for the privilege)
- Bosses confirmed on Thursday that the new series of ITV show will be filmed at Gwrych Castle in Abergele, North Wales
- It had previously been reported the Grade I listed country house would be host to this year’s series, after ITV reportedly paid £1 million to secure the castle for filming
- Construction to restore the castle and transform it for the new series began earlier this month, after bosses announced this year’s series would be aired in the UK
- I’m A Celebrity was relocated due to travel and distancing restrictions introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic
I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here 2020’s stars will be forced to endure freezing 8°C cold temperatures and no protection from the elements, as bosses confirmed the first ever UK-based series will be filmed at the 200-year-old Gwrych Castle in Abergele, North Wales.
The ITV show will be based at the historic site nestled in the Welsh countryside, after shelling out £1 million to secure use of the site when production was forced to be relocated from Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It won’t be an easy three weeks for the celebrities taking part as they forced to sleep in gruelling November temperatures in the roofless castle – throwing the famous shower scenes in question – and there could also be the setting for some paranormal activity, as the castle has earned a reputation for being haunted.
Challenging! I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here 2020’s stars will be forced to endure freezing temperatures and no protection from the elements, as bosses confirmed the first UK-based series will be filmed at the Gwrych Castle in Wales
As ever hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly will present the new series with celebrities completing an array of challenges to win food and drink for the camp, with one eventually being crowned King or Queen of the Castle.
The chilly November weather will no doubt bring pause to some of the bikini-clad stars looking to wash off in the shower, which became an icon of its own thanks to former contestant Myleene Klass.
Gwrych Castle is nestled in a tree lined hillside overlooking the Irish Sea, and is spread across 250 acres of gardens and grounds, with an array of picturesque turrets, alcoves and grounds.
Richard Cowles, Director of Entertainment at ITV Studios said: ‘The Australian jungle is such an integral part of the show it was a big challenge to find a UK location where we could continue to deliver what viewers love about I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Coming soon: The ITV series will once again be hosted by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (pictured) and has been relocated to the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Sprawling: The 200-year-old castle will be home to this year’s campmates, who will battle freezing cold November temperatures as they say goodbye to their luxuries
Iconic: Bosses confirmed on Thursday that the ITV show’s first ever UK-based series will be based at the historic site nestled in the Welsh countryside overlooking the Irish sea
It won’t be warm! The sprawling site boasts plenty of inside areas that could play home to the celebrities in November, when the show is expected to return
In the works: Construction on the castle commenced earlier this month, after bosses confirmed the new series would be moved to the UK
‘But Gwrych will definitely do that; the Castle sits in an amazing and atmospheric setting on a hillside overlooking the Irish Sea.
‘While there will be plenty of changes required as we move from New South Wales in Australia to North Wales in the UK, we are really excited to see how we can adapt the format and make the Castle our new home for a very special 20th series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! this Autumn.’
It’s thought that ITV spent an eye-watering £1 million to secure use of the Grade I listed country house, with Dr Mark Baker, Chair of the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust confirming it will be welcome boost to the local economy.
Popular: As ever the new series will see celebrities completing an array of challenges to win food and drink for the camp, with one eventually being crowned King Or Queen of the Castle
Step back in time: The castle may as well be plucked from medieval times, setting the stage for some hilarious and terrifying challenges the stars will have to face
Jaw-dropping: Gwrych Castle is nestled in a tree lined hillside overlooking the Irish Sea, and is spread across 250 acres of gardens and grounds, with an array of picturesque turrets, alcoves and grounds
Difficult: Richard Cowles, Director of Entertainment at ITV Studios said: ‘The Australian jungle is such an integral part of the show it was a big challenge to find a UK location where we could continue to deliver what viewers love about I’m A Celebrity’
Perfect: He added: ‘But Gwrych will definitely do that; the Castle sits in an amazing and atmospheric setting on a hillside overlooking the Irish Sea’
Plans: He added: ‘We are really excited to see how we can adapt the format and make the Castle our new home for a very special 20th series’
Splashing out: It’s thought that ITV spent an eye-watering £1 million to secure use of the Grade I listed country house
He said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted that I’m A Celebrity has chosen Gwrych Castle to be its UK location for the 2020 series.
‘Gwrych Castle is a beautiful grade I listed 19th county house and a must-see destination for tourists visiting Wales. I’m A Celebrity being here will really help support Gwrych Castle and its ongoing restoration as well as giving the region a much-needed economic boost.’
Lord Elis-Thomas, The Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism added: ‘We’re extremely pleased to welcome such a large production to Wales, offering a chance to showcase a spectacular part of our country to significant audiences across the UK.
‘We’re looking forward to working with the team on this production and hope to use this opportunity to show some of what North Wales has to offer.’
Andrew White, Director Wales, National Lottery Heritage Fund said: ‘We have been delighted to support Gwrych Castle and it is great to hear it will be having its moment in the limelight. The series will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the beauty of north Wales as well as show how a historic building can engage a modern audience in innovative ways. We hope it will help to boost support for the castle in the long term.’
It’s also been reported that bosses are thrilled to learn that the castle has spooky history, setting the stage for some paranormal activity in the camp.
A source on the ITV show previously told The Sun: ‘Producers are chuffed with the new location — they’re excited for a change in scenery this year
‘The Bushtucker trial crew, who work tirelessly all year round, have been working overtime to come up with some terrifying new trials and challenges.
‘Not only will there be creepy crawlies galore, but now they have the added aid of playing with a haunted castle. They think it will make for brilliant TV.’
As only fitting with the new location, this year’s trials are thought to be incorporating the spooky setting and there will be cameras around the castle to capture any paranormal activity.
It has been suggested that ITV will include a medieval theme, with celebs possibly having to joust for dinners or even spend time in a dungeon or mock-up gallows.
Gwrych Castle was built by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh in the early 1800s. Its frontage is 1500ft in length and there are 18 battlemented towers.
There is no public access at all to the main building due to its substantially ruinous state, but the castle boasts 250 acres of historic gardens and parkland.
The castle is thought to be haunted by a number of spirits, including previous owner the Winifred Hesketh, the Countess of Dundonald who died in 1924.
Legend says she is angry at her husband for taking all of her former homes’ valuables, with some people claiming she, or another spooky spirit, stalks the area in a white dress.
Some locals also believe that the spirit of a servant girl who died falling off a horse haunts the land. While others say ghosts of former caretakers have been seen around the 200-year-old castle which boasts 250 acres.
Gwrych Castle hasn’t been lived in for years and was built by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh in the early 1800s.
During World War Two around 300 Jewish refugees lives at the castle however it has fallen into disrepair in recent years, reports the BBC.
The series, which usually returns to TV screens in November, will certainly look different when it comes back this year.
While viewers have become accustomed to seeing celebrities boost their careers by donning bikinis and going shirtless as they sweat out in the Jungle, the new batch will likely need to pack thermals for the new series.
And as the stars settle into their temporary digs, they will no longer get the opportunity to luxuriate in the daily delight of an outdoor shower, as they will now be bathing in a primitive tin tub, according to The Sun.
Restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced ITV to switch locations and has resulted in major changes to production, affecting everything from what food challenges stars will do to where they will sleep during filming.
While creepy crawlies such as witchetty grubs have been a mainstay on the Australian menu, dining in north Wales will have more of a local flavour, as it’s been reported their eating challenges will include sheep’s testicles.
And longtime hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are sure to have their tongues tied when they return to filming, as they’ll be based in a village called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
The change of location means a change of weather for contestants who will have to battle 8.5C (47.3F) temperatures and winds, a stark contrast to the blistering heat in the Australian jungle 22C (71.6F).
Contingency plans will be put in place to combat drastic weather changes, including make shift huts when they need protection from the elements.
Family and friends will also miss out on the opportunity to travel abroad and stay in a luxury hotel as they support their loved ones from the sidelines.
The winners title of King or Queen of the Jungle will also be replaced with the last person standing being crowned King or Queen of the Castle, as the crew aim to retain much of the original features of the show.
Even the stars’ I’m A Celeb kit will have a familiar look, however they will have to wear thermal layers to keep them warm underneath in the cold Welsh winter.
Despite all the changes, it has been suggested that relocating to Wales could save ITV a considerable amount of money, which could then be used to get bigger-name stars.
Although the broadcaster will still have to convince them that spending three weeks in the cold countryside is as doable as three weeks in Australia.
Restoration: Construction on the castle has been underway for several weeks, with bosses ensuring some crumbling areas will still be safe for the stars