I’m A Celebrity splashed £500k on ten former stars including Carol Vorderman — despite them not taking part


I’M A Celebrity bosses shelled out £500,000 on isolating ten reserve stars for two weeks — even though none of them actually took part in the show.

The ITV juggernaut paid former contestants and winners £50,000 each for a fortnight in quarantine — just in case they were needed if the show was hit with coronavirus.

I’m A Celeb bosses paid ten former stars £50k each, including Carol Vorderman
The former contestants, like Vicky Pattison, never actually took part on the show

Despite pocketing Premier League-style pay rates for the two weeks, the stars left without being required to make any contribution to filming.

They stayed near the show’s new home in Gwrych Castle, North Wales, before being sent packing on Friday because producers decided they were no longer needed.

HOAR on Sunday can reveal TV host Carol Vorderman, 59, who took part in 2016, and ex-England cricketer Phil Tufnell, 54, crowned King of the Jungle in 2003, were among stars told to be ready.

They were placed in accommodation around the North West to comply with Covid guidelines.

Former King of the Jungle Joe Swash enjoyed a £50k payday

EastEnders legend Charlie Brooks also cashed in

Other celebs to enjoy a £50k payday included former winners Joe Swash, 38, Vicky Pattison, 33, and Charlie Brooks, 39.

Ex-Towie star Joey Essex, 30, also cashed in.

Had any entered the show, they’d have snagged a separately negotiated appearance fee on top.

Bosses even gave them codenames to avoid their identities leaking.

The celebs, including Joey Essex, were sent home without appearing on the show

Bosses gave the celebs codenames to avoid their identities leaking – with Phil Tufnell’s being Cat

Vicky’s was Gravy and Phil’s was Cat.

The hopefuls were allowed to bring partners into the luxury quarantine with them and their food was paid for.

Producers were discussing whether to put them in for a night, get them to present a trial or have them pop up in new, yet-to-be-decided features.

They were advised to get ready for “all eventualities” and to pack appropriate clothing and any necessary items for a stay at the 19th-century pile.

Producers were discussing whether to put the former stars in with the current celebs for a night

A telly insider said: “The celebs weren’t given much information, but the £50,000 price tag was obviously very attractive at a time when there isn’t much TV work due to Covid.

“They were treated like kings and queens in luxury accommodation, with their every need looked after.”

GOT a story? RING HOAR on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]

Did you miss our previous article…