Christmas must be right around the corner because we’re about to spend three weeks in the castle again for the latest series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!.
This series is set to be more brutal than last year. The I’m A Celebrity 2021 line-up will have a full-length run in the castle, with Ant and Dec presenting a live show every day throughout the season.
There are also some neat new features set to shake up this year, including The Clink, which take it from us, is pretty nasty.
RadioTimes.com was allowed to tour the castle earlier in the week and got a taste of some of the terrors awaiting the (un)lucky bunch.
What is Gwrych Castle like?
The actual location of the castle is an interesting one. On the show, it looks like it is in a remote location far from civilisation, but the entrance is just opposite a row of houses and it is quite easy to get to. Gwrych Castle takes pride of place up in the hills looking down at Wales, and the campmates have an amazing view while up on the lookout.
It’s quite a journey from the entrance to the castle itself, but going from the car park to the main castle door is like going from one world to another. Gwrych Castle is huge with so much history to explore – we would happily go back just to see the rest of it.
Even without ITV entering and doing all their work, it’s a fascinating location, but one we’re not keen to spend a night in – rumours of ghosts haunting it are rife!
How bad is The Clink camp in I’m a Celebrity?
It’s pretty bad… think Snake Rock but worse. The Clink was the first location we were shown when our tour started and it was a stark introduction that really highlighted the “Get Me Out of Here” aspect of the show’s full title. The musky smell hit us before we ever got the chance to register how dismal the courtyard is.
The courtyard itself is a tiny patch of land that couldn’t look less welcoming if it tried. A dirty-looking sink hides in the corner, a horrible seating area is as bleak as you could imagine, and it felt like an unsettling, miserable place after only a few minutes – we can’t imagine spending multiple days trapped in there…
Things only got worse as we entered the sleeping area. Much like Snake Rock, they only have a blanket to lay on and nothing else. Whereas Snake Rock was on softer ground, this is just a stone floor and a brief sit down on one of them told us all we need to know about what it will be like to sleep on.
The shower is in a tiny side room – and calling it a room is generous – and honestly, not showering at all seems like the best idea here as it really is that bad.
As for which five celebs will be living here, we’ll find out on Sunday as they have to go head-to-head to win access to the main camp first. We suspect if they knew what they were in for then they would battle as if their lives depended on it.
The I’m a Celebrity Main Camp
From The Clink, we took the short walk to the main camp and it felt like walking into The Ritz in comparison to what we had just seen.
Walking into “camp” really felt like we were in familiar territory. The first thing you see as the large double doors open is the iconic red phone box taking pride of place in the centre of the camp – it has an actual working phone line just in case you had ever wondered, although we would imagine dialling outside the castle has been disabled.
Size-wise, this is so much bigger than The Clink and way more comfortable – not that it would make an ideal holiday place. There is only one worn-down chair around the fireplace this time with the rest of the circle filled with either rocks or logs (our advice to the celebs is to shotgun a rock seat as they are surprisingly nicer to sit on than the logs).
Any benches or other chairs dotted about must just be there to taunt the celebs as they are either broken or covered in so much dirt that nobody would want to sit on them.
Onto the large bedroom which again is a far cry from the sleeping arrangements in The Clink. Not much has changed from last year and the celebs will have the choice of hammocks or beds to sleep in. We tried out a regular bed and they were surprisingly comfortable. That being said, we had just tested out the stone floor bed a few minutes before so anything would feel pleasant after that.
As for the shower room that Vernon Kay and Jordan North shared a special moment in early in the 2020 series, it looks and feels just as drab and cold as it does on the TV and the water pump is stiffer and tougher to use than we had originally thought.
Out in the courtyard, there are a few cosmetic changes for the campmates. This actually felt bigger than it appears on screen and going up to The Lookout gives you a great view of the caste and the town of Rhyl that is off in the distance.
Meeting Kiosk Cledwyn
Sure, there are many that would want to meet Ant and Dec on a tour of the I’m a Celebrity castle but as much as we love the Geordie duo, we were happy to spend a bit of time with Kiosk Cledwyn.
Cledwyn is back for his second series and we are happy to report his mood hasn’t changed. Stoic and silent the whole time we were with him, Cledwyn didn’t want to talk to us but he did pose for some photos and allowed us to answer our very own Castle Coin challenge question about the weight of a Welsh cake – we won.
There are other things we saw that we can’t talk about. The first Trial for example looks epic but we can’t say any more than that about it, but this was an eye-opening visit that really showed us how much work the I’m A Celebrity crew put into getting the series ready.
It’s actually quite remarkable. The attention to detail is quite a thing to behold. Old newspapers are dotted about and rotted away, chains on the walls give an eerie feel to the place and a whole section of this old castle has been transformed into a working live TV set – with more work to be done as the show goes on.
Our main takeaway is knowing, without question, the celebs will be in for a bumpy ride. We’ve often thought how great being in I’m A Celebrity would be but after an hour in the castle, we’ll be happy watching it from the comfort of our own sofa. The producers have said that will be one of the most brutal series to date and just by what we saw in that one hour, we are inclined to believe them.