I’m a Celeb’s bizarre rules you never knew – from substitute stars to ‘three-day’ demand and why pens are banned

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks during a memorial tree planting ceremony at Oxford Botanic Gardens following the G7 Health Ministers Meeting at Mansfield College, Oxford University, Oxford on June 4, 2021, ahead of the upcoming G7 leaders' summit. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

SCREAMING celebrities taking on disgusting challenges are back on our screen as I’m A Celebrity returns to the Australian Outback.

Matt Hancock hasn’t even entered the jungle but he’s already been allowed to break strict isolation rules.

Matt Hancock had the rules bent to let him keep his laptop and phone for work
I’m A Celebrity is back on TV screens and these are the secret rules

The MP was let by bosses to keep his laptop and phone with him for constituency work – despite other stars being banned from using theirs.

A source said: “Matt has been given a different arrangement during his isolation period to the other contestants.

“He has been allowed his phone and laptop so that he can carry on working and keep in touch with his constituents.”

But it’s not just isolation rules that contestants have to abide by in order to pick up their cheques at the end. Here, we take a look at the show’s rulebook.

Three-day enforcement

Gemma had to stay in the show for at least 72 hours if she wanted to get paid

Heading into the Australian bush comes with a large payment – and a catch.

It’s previously been reported that you only receive the full amount if you make it at LEAST three days in the show.

It might explain why Gemma Collins, 41, pushed herself to stay in for 72 hours despite being utterly miserable in 2014.

She refused to parachute in with her co-stars and then cited health reasons for her early departure from the show.

Advice? Not allowed

Danny Miller broke rules by asking pal Adam Thomas for advice pre-show

One of the more bizarre rules is that incoming contestants aren’t allowed to ask previous campmates for advice on how to survive in the jungle.

This is because you’re not allowed to tell anyone you’re heading into the iconic show before you’ve been officially announced by ITV.

Last year, Emmerdale’s Danny Miller allegedly broke the rule by asking pal and fellow soap star Adam Thomas for some hints before he’d officially been announced.

Danny explained: “I confided in Adam about me taking part as he is one of my best friends in the world.

“I feel like I am a step ahead as I’ve asked him questions about what it will be like. Obviously he was in Australia and this is in Wales but he has been amazing in helping to settle my nerves.”

While they can’t officially ask for advice, there don’t seem to be any r

Substitute celebs

Ferne was originally a substitute celebrity kept in the wings to fill in

Another reason for the advice ban is that ITV has spare contestants ready to be subbed in if needed.

Ferne McCann has claimed she was one of the unlucky signings that almost never made it into the camp.

She told Closer: “I was a substitute because someone didn’t make the medical for some reason – it happens on TV – and I was a replacement. I’m totally happy with that.

“I found out two weeks before. It was such a whirlwind because I had an interview and I wasn’t that well known.”

Another substitute, who sadly never made it on, was the late Keith Chegwin.

Ant spilled the beans in the special recap show I’m A Celebrity…Jungle Story in 2020.

The spare famous faces were flown to Australia and kept in a hotel near the camp in case they had to be drafted in before the voting stage began.

Underwear limits

Despite being given disgusting tasks, campmates get three pairs of undies

Most of us change our underwear each day, but unfortunately, the campmates have that luxury taken away from them.

Each celebrity is only allowed to take in three pairs and if they don’t have any dry clean ones – they have to wear their dirties or non at all.

While getting undies dry in Australia might not be too difficult, it was a different story for the two years in the wet Welsh castle.

AJ Pritchard managed to sneak in a fourth pair of boxers in 2020, which he claimed were a lifesaver.

He’s not the only star who’s flouted the rules, as EastEnder’s Rita Simmonds also snuck extra undies in.

In 2018 she told This Morning: “I smuggled in extra knickers. You’re allowed three pairs of knickers… Three pairs. I smuggled more.”

She was less successful sneaking in chewing gum and a lighter.

Psychological testing

AJ Pritchard told how stars are given a psychological assessment before entering the camp

Before being certified as fit for the jungle, each contestant has to undergo a psychic evaluation.

This is to make sure they will be able to cope with the demanding conditions of the jungle.

AJ Pritchard told HOAR: “You have a basic psych evaluation before you go in to check you’re fit to do the show.

“They then outline the before, during, and aftercare that you’ll be given access to.

“They take mental health really seriously and if you need someone during the show, you can speak to them.”

Katie Price, who went on the show in 2004, claimed they were all asked about “your past, your anxieties, [and] your likes and dislikes”.

No such thing as time

Celebrities are given no way to tell the time while in the jungle

If being in a different time zone wasn’t confusing enough, celebs aren’t granted any clocks or other time-telling devices.

It means they have no idea what time of day they are doing anything – just like the stars of Love Island on ITV2.

For the last two series of I’m A Celeb in Wales, it means that contestants end up doing challenges and eating their meals in the small hours of the morning.

This was due to the broadcast time not changing despite there no longer being a time difference.

Perhaps it was best they had no idea that dinner was probably more like breakfast given the times.

Writing materials

Writing materials are banned to stop secret communication in the camp

While banning phones and laptops makes absolute sense, the axing of all writing materials seems a little harsh.

But producers have banned pens and papers to prevent campmates from having secret communications that can’t be picked up by the many mics in the camp.

It also means that celebs can’t write messages for their family and friends to read off the TV screen.

However, AJ Pritchard revealed that his year stole chalk from a challenge so they could write.

He said: “We nabbed all the chalk and we could use it to write on the hats.

“It meant we could write messages for our loved ones during the live evictions.”

Reality show rejection

Cheryl revealed her dreams of the Australian Jungle were scuppered by CBB

One easy way to be screened out of a chance in the jungle is apparently to have gone on Celebrity Big Brother.

Cheryl Fergison, best known for playing EastEnder’s Heather Trott, revealed the secret ban on the podcast The Hundamental Guide To Life.

She said: “Absolutely yeah, I’ve desperately wanted to, for the whole of my life even pre Big Brother I wanted to do the jungle. The jungle was the main thing I wanted to do.

“But unfortunately, and I don’t know if any of your listeners will know this, but if you’ve done Big Brother you cannot go into the jungle.

Im A celebrity Get me out of Here Matt Hancock and his palatial accommodation in Kingscliff Pic Brian Roberts Please see pic desk before use

“But if you’ve done the jungle, you can go into Big Brother.”

This year’s hopeful Boy George should be thankful that his probation team barred his stint in Big Brother back in 2009 as he’s been able to bag a payday from the jungle instead.