I'm A Celebrity star slams show for returning to Welsh Castle instead of Australian jungle11/12/2021
I'M A Celebrity star Shane Richie has slammed the ITV show for returning to the Welsh Castle instead of its original format.
For 19 years, contestants flew out to Australia to live in the jungle for three weeks.
But the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible for the series' 20th anniversary to take place there last year.
Giovanna Fletcher went on to be crowned the very first Queen of the Castle.
Now, Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly are returning for a second year to present live from soggy Wales after The Sun revealed show big wigs are considering hosting alternate years between its usual home in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, and Gwrych Castle in Abergele.
It comes as the new crop of stars entered quarantine on Saturday ahead of the show launch.
Shane – who finished in fourth place – told The Sun in an exclusive interview: "When we did the Castle, we all knew it was the first time it had been done.
"We thought it was going to be a one-off for the 20th anniversary and it won't happen ever again in Wales.
"But once they announced they were going back to Wales it took a bit of the specialness off of it."
The 19th Century estate is being used for a second year after bosses were forced to abandon its Australian base for a second year running due to Covid rules.
That’s after 2020’s opening episode was watched by 12 million TV viewers.
It had the best viewing figures for I'm a Celebrity since the final in 2018 and was the second most-watched launch of the franchise since 2013.
ITV's flagship reality show has confirmed to return on Sunday, November 21.
Coronation Street's Simon Gregson, 47, will go head-to-head with EastEnders soap rival Adam Woodyatt, 53, in camp.
They will be joined in the castle in Abergele by TV favourite Richard Madeley, 65, who has penned a £200,000 deal.
Other stars include Loose Women's Frankie Bridge, 32, who is following her footballer husband Wayne's footsteps.
Meanwhile Shane has returned to the stage to star as Hugo/Loco Chanelle in Everybody's Talking About Jamie after a brief break.
He'll now be on tour across the country until April next year.
But Shane admits he has to be careful about what he's eating – so he can still fit in his dress.
"I've had to watch my weight because it's so easy to balloon up," he said.
"As ladies knows, when you've got to get in a dress and seven-inch heels you can't be carrying too much weight.
"My skin has had a rest from the make-up in the break, but I'm really excited about getting back out on stage.
"It's great to be back and hearing an audience coming into the theatre and feeling the buzz."
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