Many were surprised last year at the news the I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! was still going ahead despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many more were surprised (and a little sceptical) when it was announced that it would take place in the most exotic of locations.... Gwrych Castle in North Wales.
But despite the scepticism, ITV managed to pull off a cracking series of television, successfully bringing the jungle (and all the terrifying creepy crawlies that come with it) to the UK.
With the new series kicking off last night when ten brand new famous faces including Frankie Bridge, Richard Madeley and Danny Miller set foot in camp, you may be wanting to familiarise yourself with the castle, or it may be that this is your first introduction to the new location.
Join us on a little tour of Gwrych Castle which has proved itself to be the perfect location for I'm a Celeb, with just enough of the old and new to satisfy viewers and still keep things fresh.
I'm A Celeb's living quarters
As you enter the gates of the castle you are welcomed by a campfire circled by some rocks and logs. This is where the Celebs cook and relax after a long day of Bushtucker trials. You really couldn't get much more basic than this. Right from the get go, gone are all the comforts of home living (especially for the celebs).
As well as providing a much needed source of food and heat, the living quarters are also home to the famous I'm a Celeb telephone box. This is a lovely touch, helping to bring the jungle to the UK.
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2002: Tony Blackburn
Tony Blackburn was the first ever winner of I'm A Celeb back in 2002. He had a dramatic fall from grace in 2016 when he was sacked after 49 years working for the BBC, for failing to co-operate with the Jimmy Savile inquiry. He has since returned to the BBC and also hosts a podcast with Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson called Ricky and Tony's Pop Detectives.
I'm A Celeb's sleeping quarters
The sleeping quarters aren't much better in the way of comfort (which is something you would ideally want from somewhere you're supposed to be sleeping in). The wooden beds are hard and uncomfortable and the hammocks are both fewer in number and easier to fall out of in the night.
To be honest though, the celebs will be so exhausted from the daytime activities they'll be able to sleep anywhere. Then again, at least they're not sleeping outside...
I'm A Celeb's washroom
The washroom is perhaps the least luxurious of all the rooms (and that's really saying something). The "shower" is actually just a metal watering can attached to a water pipe and it takes two to use this shower, with one celeb having to operate a pump by hand whilst another washes.
To supply hot water to the washroom, the celebs will have to keep the boiler going with logs from the wood drop, a challenge indeed.
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I'm A Celeb's courtyard
The courtyard acts as a bit of much needed outdoor space for the cast. It really delivers on the ambience of the setting, with views of the sky and an old well in the centre. Like the living quarters, the courtyard has a fire pit. Most importantly, the courtyard is home to the toilet (if you can even call it that), meaning the cast must pass through whenever they need to use it, which must be pretty scary at night.
I'm A Celeb's toilet
You will find the toilet in the courtyard. This toilet really is the bare minimum you could expect from one. Not to mention the fact it is outside and seemingly little more than a shed, which must mean it is freezing at night. Hopefully none of the celebs will have to use it in the night as the journey to and from the toilet in the dark must be both freezing and terrifying. And imagine if they run out of loo roll...
I'm A Celebs's boiler room
Next to the courtyard you will find the Boiler room. Here celebs must split logs using a log splitter and burn them to power the boiler. They also have to take turns keeping the fire lit so they can provide hot water for the shower and heat for the castle. A simple enough task, however when you consider the limited supply of logs this becomes a lot more challenging.
The celebs have to collect the logs from the log store, which is quite a walk from the castle itself. Forgetting to do so, however, will leave them without heat and hot water... in Wales. Not to mention the fact that the same logs need to be used in the fire pits around the castle. The celebs have to stay vigilant to keep the castle heated.
Finally the celebs also wash their clothes in this room - by hand of course because this isn't a hotel.
I'm A Celeb's lookout
The lookout really does what it says on the tin. From here the celebs can look out over the castle and its grounds, and the surrounding countryside. Here they can chat and have a much needed break from the trials of the day.
I'm A Celeb's kiosk
Viewers of previous series will remember Kiosk Kieth, the straight faced operator of the Outback Shack. He was sacked back in 2018 but fear not, his Welsh cousin Cledwyn has stepped in to run the castle's kiosk. As with the telephone box this brings a bit of the jungle to Wales, returning a fan favourite to the show.
I'm A Celeb's The Clink
Just when you thought camp couldn't get enter more basic, enter The Clink. Upon arriving in North Wales, the celebs were divided into two teams and told only one would be entering the main camp, while the others would set up digs in The Clink. Eventually, the red team - Snoochie Shy, Louise Minchin, Matty Lee, Kadeena Cox and Frankie Bridge - won the challenges and were allowed to stay in the slightly comfier main camp, while the yellow team - Danny Miller, Naughty Boy, Arlene Phillips, David Ginola and Richard Madeley - were forced to reside in The Clink.
Unlike the main camp, The Clink doesn't have beds which means the celebs are forced to sleep on the floor with just a blanket covering them from their dark, damp and dingy surroundings. There's also a small shower, which looks far from comfortable.
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How does the Gwrych Castle compare?
Whilst Gwrych Castle isn't quite as wild as the show's original setting, this new location comes with new challenges to keep the formula fresh, such as keeping dry and warm. In the original series you wouldn't have to worry about keeping warm in the scorching Aussie heat. There's also a really interesting atmosphere to the castle (and maybe even a few ghosts to contend with) and the new tasks that come with living there have really shaken up the show, making for some great telly.
It helps that they've brought all the grossness and creepy crawlies from Australia, and the kiosk and telephone box bring with them an extra bit of familiarity.
But from this castle tour what do you reckon? could you see yourself living there? We reckon it needs a lot of renovation done to it before you could even consider moving in... starting with that sorry excuse of a shower.