THIS year’s crop of I’m A Celebrity stars are in for a shock if they think they’ll be able to get even a second of privacy, a former campmate has warned.
Ex-Strictly Come Dancing professional AJ Pritchard has lifted the lid on how the camp is littered with microphones – even in the toilet.
AJ shares his top tips on how to cope in the jungle
AJ reveals his cast stole as much as they could from their reward feast
This year’s campmate Olivia Attwood’s recently admitted she’s worried she’ll struggle without sex for up to two weeks in the jungle.
AJ says anyone like Olivia who may be hoping for some intimate “alone time” to relieve sexual frustration is set to be disappointed as it’s so difficult.
The 27-year-old says: “There are mics everywhere. Even in the toilet.
“You can take off the one around your neck but they’ll still be able to hear you through the mic above. You’d have to be super quiet. It would be a bit awkward.”
AJ adds that self love will likely be the last thing on Olivia’s mind when she becomes desperate for a decent meal.
“If you’re doing nothing you start thinking about all the things you miss at home,” he says.
“But to be honest, normally your head just goes to food because that’s a priority. Your stomach starts rumbling and then it’s all you can think of.”
Ex-Love Islander Olivia is joined in the camp by a mix of famous faces including Boy George, Chris Moyles, Sue Cleaver and Mike Tindall.
They’re returning to the classic Australian Bush setting for the first time since the Covid pandemic forced the show to relocate to Gwrych Castle near Abergele in Conwy, North Wales in 2020.
Once you’re in camp, AJ insists food dominates your every thought and his campmates did their best to nick anything they could to make their bland meals of beans and rice taste better.
And he reckons this year’s stars should try and do the same: “Try and get as much contraband in as you can. I’d always be trying to take things from rewards like the feasts we got.
“A little bit of salt and pepper or garlic goes a long way. It stops the food from tasting of nothing.”
Confidence is key
AJ claimes food becomes the main thing on your mind while in the camp
The dancer says he barely thought about anything but food and his family
AJ insists the key to sneaking stuff into camp is to be confident.
“We managed to get a fair bit in. You just have to really commit to it and go for it,” he says.
“As a camp we were never caught. Maybe that was thanks to Covid because they couldn’t come and take anything away.”
He even suggests they try and smuggle things in their suitcase – he successfully got an extra pair of undies into the castle in 2020.
AJ adds that one of the reasons grub is constantly on the minds of the cast is because they can smell the snacks eaten by the cameramen.
“You could smell if someone had a packet of crisps or anything else. You’d get a waft of something salty or sweat and you could hear them opening the foil,” he claims.
“No matter how much we tried to talk to the cameramen to get them to share their food, we never got anything back from them.
“It was so annoying being able to smell the food we couldn’t have.”
One of his biggest regrets is not putting any food on his luxury items list that producers send in as a reward.
Instead, he opted for a pillow featuring a picture of his family and hair mousse.
“With hindsight, I should have just put food. I should have asked for a Toblerone or a block of chocolate. I was just always really hungry,” he says.
Desperate for trials
AJ claims he wanted to do the Bushtucker trials because it was something to do
AJ says the worst bit about being in camp is boredom – adding that it got to the point where he wanted to be picked for Bushtucker trials to curb it.
He says: “I always have to do something – I’m not good at sitting still.
“You’d almost be hoping to get chosen for a challenge so you’d have something to do.”
This year AJ is backing Boy George to take the crown – and is not impressed by the casting of MP Matt Hancock.
Slamming the disgraced former Health Secretary, he says: “He’s an MP and he has a duty to his constituency. I think it’s completely wrong and he should not be going in whatsoever.
“He has a very important job that comes with a lot of responsibilities and people are in a time of crisis.
“I think he could be spending his time better. He should be doing his job rather than being on TV, enjoying the sun and getting a tan in Australia.”
Despite thinking the MP shouldn’t be in the jungle, he concedes it will make great TV.
“Matt Hancock will be interesting to see people sitting around the fire with,” he says.
“There will be lots of questions for him that the press haven’t got an answer to.
“It’s going to be hilarious. There will be lawyers sitting around being like, ‘What can he say, what can’t he say’. I think it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.”
AJ is angry that former Health Secretary Matt Hancock is going into camp