I’M A Celebrity bosses are making emergency plans as storms threaten to plunge the show into chaos — with tearful campmates also turning on the waterworks.
Producers had prepared for poor Welsh weather in November but were last night battling conditions “far worse than anticipated”.
Actress Jessica Plummer broke down into in floods of tears in the show’s first epsiode Credit: Rex Features
The camp at Gwrych Castle is already being battered by driving rain and 50mph winds — with more forecast later this week.
A temporary canopy erected over the main site proved to be insufficient as filming began.
Further back-up plans hurriedly drawn up include a separate place to relocate the celebrities if the weather gets too intense.
The ITV hit, moved from Australia amid the Covid crisis, returned to our screens last night, with actress Jessica Plummer, 28, in floods of tears already.
The camp at Gwrych Castle has been battered by driving rain and strong windsCredit: Rex Features
A show source said: “We knew it could be wet, but hadn’t really planned for anything like this.
“The crew don’t even want to leave their cabins. It’s completely bleak and we’re having to step up our contingency plans.
“Now, if things start to become too much to cope with, there is a place off camera where they can temporarily move the celebrities if filming just becomes impossible.
“The first week is forecast to be absolutely bleak so it wouldn’t be surprising if they need to put some of these plans in place.
Campmates gathered as the new series kicked off at Gwrych CastleCredit: Rex Features
“It’s already clear the canopy over the camp is going to struggle to keep the elements out, and a lot of the trials and other parts of the show are due to be shot outside anyway so the campmates are going to get completely soaked.
“They’ve been given seriously heavy-duty clothing and waterproofs, but there is no desire for any of them to get sick so no major risks will be taken. If needed they will be temporarily taken out of camp to dry off and shelter. It has already been enough of a challenge to get to this point this year, we don’t need any more challenges.”
Last night the show, fronted by Ant and Dec, got under way at the castle near Abergele — a town close to the north Welsh coastline.
The area has around 18 days of rain each November, and can get up to 50cm. Temperatures are set to plummet later this week. There were also floods of a different kind as soon as the campmates arrived.
Filming is taking place at a castle near Abergele — a town close to the north Welsh coastlineCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Bosses have already begun to draw up contingency plans Credit: Rex Features
Tearful EastEnders’ star Jessica, right, was comforted by the other female celebs after getting upset about her four-year-old girl Noa.
She said: “We’re all in it together and this is the experience of a lifetime and I want to make my family proud so they don’t want to see me crying and upset.”
The first episode was also a traumatic experience for radio DJ Jordan North, 30. He was seen vomiting before even getting to the castle — when he and some of his other campmates had to abseil down a cliff for their first terrifying challenge.
Jordan said: “I can’t believe I was sick, I’ve only been here five minutes and I’m puking up already.”
AJ Pritchard was first to strip off in the campCredit: Rex Features
He was one of five celebs who had to retrieve their rucksacks fastened on to a cliff edge.
The only way they could unlock the sacks on the way down was to correctly answer questions about the other celebrities.
It led to some dark humour, with Vernon Kay, 46, joking: “It’s going to be good, it’s exciting. One of us could die which makes great telly.”
‘Like a hug from gran’
By TV editor Andy Halls
I’M A Celebrity . . . it’s just what the world needs right now — like a hug from a relative you’re not allowed to see.
It may be taking place in a wet Welsh castle rather than the warm Aussie jungle, but all the essential elements are there — and that’s more important than the surroundings.
Ant and Dec, below, set the tone early with razor sharp links — and a nod to the ridiculous year we’ve had with “socially distanced helicopter rides” for the celebrities. But more important was the genuinely decent line-up. There’s a bit of everything.
There’s legendary soap stars Shane and Bev. Other celebs who you’d have thought would have eaten their own testicles, let alone a kangaroo’s, rather than take part, such as Vernon and Mo.
And a few who would have turned up for nothing just for the publicity.
By this morning, the show will no doubt have drawn in a load of extra viewers just like when Holly Willoughby stood in for Ant two years ago. The curiosity factor sucks in the non-regulars.
All at ITV were devastated to have to switch from Oz to Wales — but after 20 series the move presents a chance to reinvent and inject some new life and I think they’ve managed it.
It must be tempting to save on business class airfares and stay in North Wales in future . . .
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