I’m a Celebrity returns: the castle may be new but the trials are reassuringly familiar

The 10 celebrities were in a different country as the ITV reality show returned, but the tasks were familiar.

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The new series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! premiered on Sunday with the 10 contestants choppered into north Wales to meet each other and immediately thrust into their first challenge – abseiling down a cliff to retrieve the backpacks full of essential items for the weeks ahead in Gwrych Castle.

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The setting is completely different to the jungle of Australia, but the trials are oh so familiar and welcome to I’m a Celebrity fans.

First down the cliff face was Mum-fluencer Giovanna Fletcher who showed zero fears and retrieved two packs with little bother. The same went for TV presenter Vernon Kay, radio and TV host Victoria Derbyshire and EastEnders actress Jessica Plummer, although she had a circuit failure and answered incorrectly when she was asked to recall the highest UK chart placing with her pop band Neon Jungle.

She explained: “Oh no, we were number 2 in Scotland.”

The task wasn’t so simple for Radio 1 DJ Jordan North, a self-confessed complex of neuroses, with fear of heights top of the list. He cautiously tiptoed over the cliff edge and just as he was settling into the task he lost his footing and slipped.

Jordan managed to regain what little composure he had and kissed the ground when he finally made it down. But had he just exposed his underbelly to the entire viewing audience and made himself the first whipping boy in the public votes?

He didn’t have wait long to find out: hosts Ant and Dec announced the first public vote would be for a task called The Viper Vault. Two of the celebrities would be locked into coffin-like vaults and have to retrieve stars to ensure the camp got a meal.

The challenge? The vaults would be filled with snakes.

Ant and Dec revealed the first pair facing the trials would be ex EastEnders star Shane Richie and, of course, Jordan.

hammock

Camp joker Shane inadvertently got the biggest laugh when he tried out a hammock – and immediately fell out.

Shane has form taking a tumble, famously as Alfie Moon in EastEnders.

Ant and Dec’s jokes have been sorely missed. Announcing the first “night” in the castle, Dec said: “Yes, his name is Mo Farah, he’s 37…”

The hosts entered the castle to reveal the first group task, Gates of Hell, in which the 10 celebs had to work together to transfer 10 stars from one side of a wall to another while each was trapped in a chamber as cockroaches, maggots and other bugs were poured onto them.

The task was a success with seven stars won by the group but of equal interest was actress Beverley Callard’s plea to debug each other after the task.

Radio and TV host Victoria Derbyshire was prompted to utter “What magnificent breasts!” as she helped remove the creepy-crawlies from the Coronation Street star’s under-garments, a comment that was manna from heaven for the hosts’ wisecracks.

Of course, a new season of I’m a Celebrity also means the welcome return of the memes.

And just like that, I’m a Celebrity was back to save 2020.

I’m a Celebrity returns to ITV on Monday at 9pm.

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Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.