If there’s one thing you definitely need to be in order to survives in the I’m A Celebrity jungle it’s hardcore, and Countdown numbers Queen turned Jungle Jane Carol Vorderman knows that all too well.
That’s why she repeated the word over and over and over as Ant and Dec’s Down Under devilment began for another year.
Vorderman was just one of ten sacrificial lambs… sorry, ‘celebrity contestants’, who made their way into the Australian jungle on Day One. While walking planks in mid-air and lighting fires for the boys, Vorderman kicked proceedings off with sheer determination.
She was even the first celeb to pick a ‘Saviours Challenge’ (a task set up to allow contestants to save someone else from doing a Bushtucker Trial) partner, choosing Lisa Snowden, who swanned onto the screen in a red bikini that wouldn’t have looked out of place on ITV2’s Love Island.
Speaking of which, Emmerdale’s Adam Thomas had come dressed for the Majorca mansion, standing by the pool in his tight white jeans and crisp black shirt. “I fancy her, but…” he mused when asked why he didn’t pick Lisa as his partner, before adding that what he was really looking for was a “man’s man”.
Adam luckily found just that in EastEnders and Gavin & Stacey star Larry Lamb, who he teamed up with to try and avoid being picked for the first Bushtucker Trial.
Comedian Joel Dommet selected footballer Wayne Bridge, Jordan Banjo picked Scarlett Moffatt (who was rather starstruck when she met Ant and Dec) and Ola Jordan was last to find a jungle partner in Olympian Sam Quek.
With the couples… sorry, ‘contestants’, now paired off, it was time for the challenges to begin.
Carol, Adam, Joel, Jordan and Ola (aka the City Celebs) found themselves walking a plank 334 feet up on the roof of a Gold Coast hotel and counting to 60 seconds, while Sam, Wayne and Lisa plunged 10,000 feet to set off a flare and save their partners from a fate worse than kangaroo penis-flavoured death.
Queen of Numbers Carol looked as though she might fall, but managed an unsurprising numerical victory by calling for the clock to stop after 61 seconds in a move that would have made Richard Whiteley proud. She was followed by Adam and Joel, who also won immunity for their partners.
Former Strictly star Ola was just happy to make it out and back alive. “I’d like to think I’m hardcore,” she said, but Carol “Hardcore” Vorderman she was not.
Elsewhere, as Sam Wayne and Lisa tried to set their flares off after exactly 60 seconds while flying through the sky, Larry Lamb and Scarlett Moffatt were busy brewing TV gold.
The duo were charged with what seemed like the easiest of the Saviour Challenges – paddling a canoe across a lake – but actually turned out to be one of the more difficult.
“LARRY! LARRY!” screamed Scarlett as she attempted to navigate for the first time, finding herself up I’m A Celeb creek within minutes. Larry was long gone at that stage and had gone full Jungle Jim, ditching his rapidly sinking ship and swimming through what he thought might be crocodile-infested waters to plant his flag on the far side of the lake and save Adam.
“I could see your canoe, but there was no you,” Scarlett gasped, before finding herself up to her neck in water.
“I wanted to learn to swim out here,” she confessed, mere moments after Larry mounted one of the most daring rescues in I’m A Celeb history.
Find a man who looks after you like Larry Lamb looks after Scarlett Moffatt #ImACeleb
After what felt like an eternity (90 minutes or so) the gang all arrived in camp, where Adam Thomas, Ashely Bajno and Joel Dommett found their calling as the camp Musketeers. It wasn’t long before the boys put their budding bromance on hold and braced themselves to bare their abs in the shower, in a covert attempt to decide who’d become leader of the pack.
““You want to be the geezer of this jungle,” mused Jordan, before admitting that not one of the boys could light a fire. That task fell to hardcore “Mamma Carol”, who quickly put the gentlemen back in their place.
But Jordan didn’t seem much better when it came to washing pots, freely admitting that he wasn’t used to doing chores.
“Having just your hands and a stream is RAW,” he said when faced with the prospect of washing pots and pans. Try washing dishes with only the meagre water pressure in a tiny London rental flat to depend on, Jordan. Then you’ll know what’s raw, mate.
Or maybe he’ll find out on Dunny Duty, which he happily signed up for to get it over with early.
Ant and Dec were on hand to make things super relevant, offering the public the chance to decide who could be camp President and Vice President – because Trump – before heading into camp to deliver the Bushtucker Trial news.
Sam, Scarlett, Ola and Jordan learned they were heading got the The Tomb of Torment, where they’ll have to lie down next to each other and be joined by rats, mealworms, spiders, crickets and cockroaches in an attempt to win 10 stars for camp.