Work has continued on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here 2020 as cranes and scaffolding were seen being operated on site on Monday.
It was confirmed last week that the first ever UK-based series will be filmed at the 200-year-old Gwrych Castle in Abergele, North Wales.
And the hit ITV series is continuing work getting the location ready for a handful of brave celebrities who will be forced to endure freezing 8°C cold temperatures and no protection from the elements.
Exciting! Work has continued on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here 2020 as cranes and scaffolding were seen being operated on site on Monday
Construction to restore the castle and transform it for the new series began earlier this month, with new pictures showing a huge crane lifting things inside the building, no doubt objects and props for the show’s multiple Bushtucker Trials.
While workers were seen on site ensuring things were going smoothly ahead of the hit ITV series’ November launch date.
The ITV show will be based at the historic site nestled in the Welsh countryside, after bosses shelled out £1 million to secure use of the site when production was forced to be relocated from Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the upcoming stars said to be ‘excited’.
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.
Confirmed: It was confirmed last week that the first ever UK-based series will be filmed at the 200-year-old Gwrych Castle in Abergele, North Wales (hosts Ant and Dec pictured in 2019)
As ever hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, who revealed they are being tested for Covid-19 every four days in order to host the show, 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.
Busy: In new pictures, it showed scaffolding on the outside of the castle while a huge crane was seen lifting things inside the building, no doubt objects and props for the show’s multiple Bushtucker Trials
I’m A Celebrity’s haunted house: How the ghost of a duchess stalks corridors of Gwrych Castle
Gwrych Castle was built by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh in the early 1800s
It boasts 250 acres of historic gardens and parkland, and was built as a memorial to his mother’s ancestors, the Lloyds of Gwrych
The castle is thought to be haunted by a number of spirits, including previous owner Winifred Hesketh, the Countess of Dundonald who died in 1924
The Countess left the castle in her will to King George V and who then passed it onto the Prince of Wales (who became King Edward VIII)
Ghosts? The castle is said to be haunted by the Countess of Dundonald
The castle was passed to the Venerable Order of Saint John, and in 1928, Douglas Cochrane, 12th Earl of Dundonald purchased the castle for £78,000
During World War Two around 300 Jewish refugees lived at the castle, and was requisitioned as part of Operation Kindertransport
Following the war the castle became a visitor’s attraction, but it has fallen into disrepair in recent years after a plan to turn it into a hotel never materialised.
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!
‘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.
Dr Mark Baker, Chair of the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust confirmed it will be welcome boost to the local economy.
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.’
Coming soon: The ITV series will once again be hosted by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (left) and has been relocated to the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cold weather has cast doubt on the show’s iconic shower scenes (right)
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.
Ka-ching! The ITV show will be based at the historic site nestled in the Welsh countryside, after bosses shelled out £1 million to secure use of the site when production was forced to be relocated from Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the upcoming stars said to be ‘excited’
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.
The Countess left the castle in her will to King George V and who then passed it onto the Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VIII).
The castle was then passed to the Venerable Order of Saint John, and in 1928, Douglas Cochrane, 12th Earl of Dundonald purchased the castle for £78,000 (£4,932,388 today).
During World War Two around 300 Jewish refugees lived at the castle, and following the war the castle became a visitor’s attraction when it was purchased by Leslie Salt, but it has fallen into disrepair in recent years.
Reports: It comes as rumours swirl that Selling Sunset’s Christine Quinn (left) and presenter Vernon Kay (right) could be set to enter the cast this autumn
It was also the home of boxer Randolph Turpin in 1951, as he set up his training camp before beating Sugar Ray Robinson to become world middleweight champion
The series, which usually returns to TV screens in November, will certainly look different when it comes back.
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.
Good news: But despite the daunting prospect of difficult conditions, it’s been reported that the 2020 cast are ‘excited’ for the first ever UK series, with the full line-up now said to be complete
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 and Dec 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.
Excitement: Kevin Lygo, Director of Television at ITV, told The Sun: ‘We had booked most of our celebs. We were worried they thought they were going for a nice hot, sunny, bug-infested Australia but no – now they’re going into freezing cold North Wales in the dark and British weather!’ (pictured in 2019)
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.
But despite the daunting prospect of difficult conditions, it’s been reported that the 2020 cast are ‘excited’ for the first ever UK series, with the full line-up now said to be complete.
Following the shock switch from sunny Australia to chilly North Wales, show bosses were said to be very worried that they wouldn’t be able to bag big names for the now British-based programme.
However, they needn’t have worried as there’s said to be a buzz of excitement to the show’s new location in the stunning Gwrych Castle.
Kevin Lygo, Director of Television at ITV, told The Sun: ‘We had booked most of our celebs. We were worried they thought they were going for a nice hot, sunny, bug-infested Australia but no – now they’re going into freezing cold North Wales in the dark and British weather.
‘But everybody’s there, everybody’s excited. I think it’ll be fascinating to see and having this real treasure brand forced upon us is honestly, I think is a good thing.’
He said of the new location: ‘I think it’ll be fascinating to see what audiences do and a great challenge to producers to come up with different games and different tasks and not do exactly the same as they’ve been doing for years.’
Concerns: Following the shock switch from sunny Australia to chilly North Wales, show bosses were said to be very worried that they wouldn’t be able to bag big names for the now British-based programme (the original set pictured in 2017)
After coronavirus scuppered the original plans to host the show in its usual Australian location, Kevin added he ‘didn’t want a year’ without I’m A Celebrity.
I’m A Celebrity premiered in 2002 and has been a success every year since, averaging more than 10 million viewers per episode.
Last year’s finale, which saw former EastEnders star Jacqueline Jossa crowned Queen of the Jungle, was the most watched TV show of 2019.
Jacqueline beat out Coronation Street star Andy Whyment and presenter Roman Kemp in the final.
Other well-known stars who took part in the most recent series included reality star Caitlyn Jenner, Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle and Good Morning Britain’s Kate Garraway.
Already rumours are rife about who could be taking part this year, with stars including Vernon Kay, AJ Pritchard and Tamzin Outhwaite all reported to be in talks with show bosses.
Success! I’m A Celebrity premiered in 2002 and has been a success every year since, averaging more than 10 million viewers per episode