The reality show spin-off with a cast of I’m A Celeb legends kicks off! Get reacquainted with the contestants making a comeback and see some of their most outrageous moments
By Torri Mundell, Feature Writer
Camping outdoors, extreme weather, food rations, ridiculous challenges, bug-eating… who on earth would volunteer for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here? And even more bafflingly, would any star sign up twice? The answer is yes – 15 of them.
Yes, I’m A Celebrity is back for a five-part special, filmed in South Africa and featuring memorable contestants from the show’s 20-year run. And instead of the public deciding who stays and who goes, the stars will need to ace their trials or face an internal vote until one of them reaches “I’m A Celebrity Legend” status.
It’s a delicious new spin on one of the greatest reality shows of all time. It’s also a brilliant excuse for us to revisit the returning celebrities’ most shocking, hilarious and excruciating moments from the jungle. We’ve picked the I’m A Celeb alumni we can’t wait to see again, along with a little blast from their past.
They’ll be joining other iconic I’m A Celebrity campmates Gillian McKeith (You Are What You Eat), EastEnders stars Dean Gaffney and Joe Swash, model and reality judge Janice Dickinson, actor Andy Whyment (Coronation Street), musician and broadcaster Myleene Klass and Georgina Toffolo (Made In Chelsea).
Life in the I’m A Celebrity camp is a great leveller. Champion boxer Amir Khan is a force to be reckoned with in the ring, but all bets are off when it comes to snakes. And spiders. And camels. But especially snakes. Amir forfeited his first Bushtucker Trial after unexpectedly pulling a small python out of a tunnel; during a later challenge, his snake paranoia led to this hilariously suspicious exchange of words with fellow contestant Iain Lee.
Most likely to: pack an anti-venom kit
As one of the group dancers in Diversity, and a self-confessed family man, we expected team player Jordan Banjo to be adept at making friends, but his bromance with actor Larry Lamb was one of the most touching aspects of the 2016 series. Jordan admitted that Larry had become “like a father to him”, while Larry was inconsolable when Jordan was voted out of the camp before him.
Most likely to: make friends with everyone in the camp – even the wildlife
It’s hard to choose a single favourite moment from the 2016 series featuring the former Countdown mathematician and presenter. After all, she befriended a toad, flirted outrageously (while discussing pi) with fellow campmate comedian Joel Dommett and dressed as a chicken to collect giant eggs attached to bungee ropes. But perhaps we admired her the most for valiantly consuming a portion of *checks notes* “a whole brain loaf”.
Most likely to: bond with campmates over prime numbers
No amount of Coronation Street drama prepared Helen for her gruelling experience on I’m A Celebrity in 2012. Her campmates delighted in her overzealous fake tan application (hey, it’s hard to do without a mirror), while the audience at home revelled in her squeamishness – she ducked out of her first Bushtrucker Trial after 10 seconds. The public went on to nominate her for six more; our favourite was the steely determination she drew on to collect 12 stars with her teeth during the “Deadly Deliveries” challenge. No small achievement when your head is in a Perspex box and you’re showered with lizards, scorpions and rats.
Most likely to: pack a long-lasting fake tan lotion
She’s a record-breaking javelin thrower and double Olympic medallist, but thanks to I’m A Celebrity in 2011, our most vivid memory of Fatima involves a cockroach. During her Bushtucker Trial, Fatima donned a clear plastic helmet filled with an assortment of insects… and a cockroach crawled up her nostril. It took more than 20 minutes and medical intervention to dislodge it. Even more astonishing? Fatima stayed supremely calm throughout the ordeal, carrying on with her trial once the cockroach was evicted and eventually taking it home in a jar as a souvenir.
Most likely to: choose nose plugs as her luxury item
Princess Diana’s former butler and royal pundit Paul Burrell can add I’m A Celebrity runner-up to his resumé – he was narrowly defeated by comedian Joe Pasquale back in 2004. He’s best remembered for his “Hell Hole” challenge, when he demonstrated a vast repertoire of whimpers, shrieks and facial expressions while groping for gold stars through a variety of insects and reptiles.
Most likely to: deliver the series’ most meme-able facial expressions
Ex-England cricketer and former Question Of Sport team captain Phil Tufnell won I’m A Celebrity in 2003 when the audience fell for his relaxed approach and cheeky humour. Though he may have sampled kangaroo testicle in one of his trials, the greatest challenge Phil faced in the jungle was… boredom. The audience delighted in his rambling, open-ended monologues in the Bush Telegraph room where he debated the relative benefits of being bored versus going to bed.
Most likely to: charm his way to the top
Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder was another I’m A Celebrity finalist in 2010, just pipped at the finish line by X Factor singer Stacy Solomon. We couldn’t get enough of his sweary anecdotes and outbursts – whether telling alarming stories about his school days or ranting at Gillian McKeith about cabbage. His bad-boy reputation was confirmed when he was bitten by a python during one of his trials; it required two handlers to pry the snake’s fangs from his hand. The incident which, according to Shaun, felt “like sticking your hand through a sheet of glass” made everyone feel faint, but apart from verbally threatening the snake, Shaun kept his cool.
Most likely to: keep the bleeping censors busy
When is I’m A Celebrity… South Africa on TV?
The five-part series begins on Monday 24 April at 9pm on ITV1 (CH 103), followed by a new episode every evening at 9pm until the finale on Friday 28 April. After each show has aired, they’ll be available to stream on Apps & Games > ITVX.
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