I’m A Celebrity campers talk fears, goals and friendships as they head into the jungle
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It’s time for the return of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, where creature comforts and lives of luxury get left behind in exchange for open-air camp beds, creepy crawlies, terrifying challenges and meals of rice and beans.
Hosts Ant and Dec will, of course, be back to bring the jokes and japes as well as oversee the celebrities’ tasks, through which they compete to earn stars which count towards meals for their campmates.
Let’s take a look at what we’ve got to look forward to.
Who is entering the jungle this year?
As ever, there’s a whole host of familiar faces setting up camp in Oz this year.
In the starting line-up is: actress and singer Jamie Lynn Spears, TV personality and radio DJ Sam Thompson, This Morning host Josie Gibson, First Dates maître d’ and TV presenter Fred Sirieix, YouTuber Nella Rose, GB News host and former politician Nigel Farage, food critic Grace Dent, JLS star and TV presenter Marvin Humes, EastEnders actress Danielle Harold, and Hollyoaks’ Nick Pickard.
It’s a motley crew, some of which are beloved across the nation, and others, not so much – perfect fodder for some lively campfire discussions.
Phobias and fears
Part of the fun of watching I’m A Celebrity is watching the contestants squirm in the challenges, whether they involve being submerged in creepy crawlies, having to choke down a foul smoothie made of horrible things, or doing some incredible stunts that send a shiver down the spine.
Of course, there are certain things that our celebs fear the most.
“Everything I have seen I have been afraid of,” says Jamie Lynn Spears, 32, of the trials.
“Absolutely every one of these trials I am dreading. I haven’t looked at any of them and thought, ‘Oh cool, I could do that one’. This is going to be terrifying.”
“I am dreading the insects, and it’s my biggest phobia,” says Josie Gibson, 38.
“I also don’t like spiders and I freeze normally when I see one. My family thinks I am mad doing the programme too as they know what I’m like with creepy crawlies!”
“Everything is filling me with a real sense of dread,” admits Grace Dent, 50.
“But I am especially dreading being really hungry because I tend to eat four or five posh meals out a week because I am a restaurant critic.
“I know they are going to give me an eating trial, and I am dreading putting even worse things in my mouth than I have in the past in fancy restaurants! I think I will be writing very stiff columns about the jungle food when I come out!”
Over the years, we’ve seen some unlikely friendships – and even relationships – come out of the I’m A Celebrity camp. It’s a real melting pot of different personalities and professions, and living in close quarters for weeks with nothing much to do can either forge strong friendships or create some explosive riffs.
“What will be interesting is the perception the other campers will have of me,” says Nigel Farage, 59.
“They will go in with their preconceived ideas and it might be a little bit frosty – we will just have to see.
“I can’t pretend to be anyone other than who I am, I never have. But I survived for 20 years in the European Parliament with all sorts of people trying to trip me up, so I am used to that!”
Keen to impress his fellow campmates with his housework skills is Made in Chelsea’s Sam Thompson. “If they want me to cook, I will put my hand up, if they want me to clean, I will scrub those pans,” says Thompson, 31.
“You can’t be bored in there, it’s the jungle. I am never going to do this again, and so I want to be ‘in the moment’ and enjoy everything. When I am 80 years old, I want to be able to tell my grandkids all about it.”
“It’s a challenge to be away from my friends, family, comfort, only drinking water, no coffee, no wine, no mustard on my steak and – in fact – no steak!” says Fred Sirieix, 51, of heading into camp.
“I am seeing this as a wellness retreat. It’s an opportunity to get closer to myself inside my head and to see life through a different lens and in a place I feel uncomfortable.”
Motivations and goals
Each celebrity has their own reasons for going into the jungle, whether that’s for an escape from everyday life or to achieve some personal goals.
“It’s all going to be hard, but it’s good to do things that take you out of your comfort zone,” says Sirieix.
“I have been training harder than I have trained in the last three or four years. I go to the gym, I go to boxing, I train like a machine – that’s my way to cope with doing I’m A Celebrity. This isn’t a 100m race. You are going in for the long haul.”
“I do think going on I’m A Celebrity will be a nice way for people to see the real me,” says Spears. “This is an opportunity to be myself, and do something really cool, and have some awesome experiences in the meantime.”
“Now it is getting near to going into camp, I am so excited,” says Nick Pickard, 48.
“I am obviously not looking forward to eating kangaroo balls but at the same time, I am looking forward to the trials – that’s the fun part of doing this show.
“I love the ones where you climb up or jump for a star. And I like ones getting submerged in water. I can’t wait now! This is so out of my comfort zone and it’s the best show you can do.”
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! starts on Monday, November 19 at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX.