SO FAR the roster of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! have faced creepy crawlies, horrifying heights and nerve-testing water challenges.
But according to former campmate Louise Minchin, the Aussie jungle cast have it “easier” than she and her fellow stars did last year in Wales’ Gwrych Castle.
The ex-BBC Breakfast host, 54, was voted out after 17 days after taking on a plank walk 250 metres above a lake, being doused in cockroaches and mealworms as well as surviving Storm Arwen.
Louise told HOAR: “I think it’s going to be easier for them than it was for us, even though we didn’t have creepy crawlies or snakes going through the camp.”
More challenges await this year’s I’m A Celebrity stars and many predict Matt Hancock will face the worst Bushtucker Trials after 9.1million tuned in to see his arrival last night.
Now Louise gives her take on this year’s show and reveals behind-the-scenes secrets that many viewers may be unaware of.
One chore campmates SHOULD avoid
Being deprived of home comforts and with nothing for entertainment other than each other, things can easily get tense in the camp.
There were “grumbles” about who would take on certain chores during Louise’s season and she believes there is one task that’s guaranteed to make a celebrity very unpopular.
She said: “Most of the conflict in camp comes around the cooking and I forsee this already happening in I’m A Celebrity this year.
“You don’t want to be cooking because everyone has an opinion on how it should be done, my one bit of advice is to stay away from it and do the chopping instead.
“We were not good at cooking the rice and beans to begin with, the rice was like porridge and the beans had to be soaked overnight and cooked for two hours to make them in any way edible.”
Louise barely ate for the first five days because the food was “so tasteless” and she only relented after her campmates began to worry.
She countered claims that stars are given “extra food” or electrolyte drinks and insisted there were “absolutely no luxuries” apart from hot water, which they had to boil themselves.
Wales I’m A Celebrity was tougher
As the days go on, some of this year’s I’m A Celebrity stars are finding it hard in the Aussie camp – but Louise says some parts of their season “will be easier” for them than her.
She said: “The way the camp is set out they can all lie with their beds around the fire, which makes it cosier and warmer, we couldn’t do that but it would have been nice.
“Watching them complain about being cold made me laugh, I was like ‘You don’t even know what cold is! Try being in Wales’ and we had to face Storm Arwen.
“Also washing with cold water in the Australian jungle is completely different to the cold water in Wales, we only managed to make the hot water work on my last day.”
One thing Louise was relieved to avoid was creepy crawlies and snakes but even in Wales some still managed to find their way into camp.
She recalled: “After being doused in cockroaches and having mealworms in your ears you are checked and the bugs are removed but even then quite a few of us found bugs on us back at camp.
“I had enormous cockroaches in my hair and didn’t even realise. It was ridiculous because they were massive and I didn’t even have that much hair.”
The 2021 cast tried to sneak a number of items in – Coronation Street star Simon Gregson managed to smuggle salt and pepper but other items including a nail file, vaseline and fake tan were confiscated.
“They check everything, including your shoes, you have to be really inventive to sneak something in and I don’t know how they did it,” Louise added.
She also explained that they were only allowed to bring in their own underwear and medication and everything else was provided by the production team.
She said: “I had my rings and a hairband and they gave everyone the same deodorant, toothpaste and moisturiser – but it wasn’t a nice antiaging one it was body lotion.”
Producers’ warnings ahead of the show
Louise was approached by the I’m A Celebrity team “lots of times” before her appearance last year and while she insists she has “no regrets” there were things she wishes she did differently.
She said: “They warn you about coming off caffeine and that was the main preparation for me because I love coffee and tea and normally have up to five cups a day.
“I tried to take myself off it 10 days before but it was not nearly enough, it’s really hard because it makes you feel all jittery and you have headaches.”
Producers explained they would be consuming fewer calories – around 700 calories a day, according to Louise – and she warns future contestants against going in underweight because she dropped nearly 9lb in three weeks.
‘Not a minute of privacy’
Louise struggled with the “complete lack of privacy” on the show and says there was “not a minute of the day or night that wasn’t filmed”.
She recalled: “I remember waking up in the morning and as I turned over in my bed I heard this ‘zoom, zoom’ sound as a camera focused on me.
“It was hard not having a quiet moment without the cameras, even if you covered your microphone and whispered they could still hear you.”
Louise says their mics weren’t even turned off while they were being escorted to Bushtucker Trials by the production team.
‘Told off over tanoy’
For the majority of the show, I’m A Celebrity stars have no contact with the outside world and according to Louise only heard from the crew when they are doing something wrong.
She recalled: “You are allowed to take your microphones off when you go to bed but as soon as you wake up you are reminded over the tannoy, ‘Campmates please put your mics on! Louise put your mic on’.
“The team never answers your questions and don’t talk to you. Even when Ant and Dec come into camp they don’t chat, they are there for 20 seconds.”
Reality show ‘lifetime ban’
Louise’s proud that she went on I’m A Celebrity and says she would have considered Strictly Come Dancing at the time, had it not been for a “lifetime ban” from her children, which has now been lifted.
She said: “As a mum of two teenage daughters, the capacity to be enormously embarrassing is huge but I don’t think I was too bad.
“They have kind of reneged and are like, ‘It’s ok’ because they have both left school and would be slightly less mortified, I don’t know why the lifetime bans has been lifted they know I’m a terrible dancer.”
Louise’s stint on I’m A Celebrity has left her craving more challenges and she says she would “definitely do another reality show” because she loves watching them.
She said: “Hunted fills me with fear but I’d love to do it and maybe Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins but that looks tough, beyond tough.”