ITV’s long-running reality series I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! returns on Sunday with its 21st series, as 10 famous faces prepare for three weeks of testing challenges, chilly living conditions and medieval showering facilities as part of the I’m A Celebrity 2021 line-up.
The 2021 series will take place once again at North Wales’s Gwrych Castle, where I’m A Celebrity is filmed, in light of coronavirus restrictions. However, ITV has promised that fans are getting a full series this year with episodes airing every night.
I’m A Celebrity, hosted by Ant and Dec, has been on our screens for almost 20 years and consequently declared many celebrities as the King/Queen of the Jungle/Castle – but what does it take to win the show?
RadioTimes.com exclusively spoke to I’m A Celebrity winners Giovanna Fletcher, Tony Blackburn, Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo, Christopher Biggins and Carl Fogarty to get their top tips for anyone hoping to win around the public this year.
Giovanna Fletcher – 2020
When it comes to winning I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, Giovanna Fletcher says: “I think all you can do is go in and be you.”
She added: “Go in and have fun. Yes, you’ll be cold and occasionally hungry, but it’s only short term and you’ll be back in your warm bed soon enough. Make the most of being in the castle and meeting new mates.”
The podcaster and actress was crowned the very first Queen of the Castle last year, beating out Vernon Kay and Jordan North for first place. Fletcher said she loved her experience on the show. “To be removed from phones and devices felt daunting at first but was actually really freeing,” she added. “It was brilliant to be in a room with people who were living 100 per cent in the moment and not distracted.”
Christopher Biggins – 2007
Christopher Biggins’s best advice for anyone wanting to become the next King or Queen of the Castle is to be as authentic as possible.
“The first tip is the best tip and the most important tip… the secret is be yourself,” he said.
“Don’t act, don’t become some other character. Just be yourself. And that will allow the public to love you. That will help enormously because if you start acting to get it, you won’t.”
TV presenter and actor Biggins left the 2007 series as King of the Jungle, having spent almost three weeks in the camp alongside Janice Dickinson, Katie Hopkins, Gemma Atkinson, Rodney Marsh and Anna Ryder Richardson.
Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo – 2017
Former Made in Chelsea star Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo won the show back in 2017, but advises this year’s contestants not to set their sights on victory if they want to win.
“Don’t focus on that, just enjoy every day and embrace the experience. People foolishly start game-playing for more airtime in order to win – it doesn’t ever work!
“Be authentic, kind and up for anything – that’s the winning formula.”
As for her top tip for future contestants: “Be yourself! The British public are clever, they know when you’re trying to be someone you’re not. Relax and enjoy it – you’ll never experience anything like it ever again!”
Tony Blackburn – 2004
One of the show’s earlier winners, radio DJ Tony Blackburn took home the jungle crown towards the start of the millennium and says you can’t set out to win I’m A Celebrity from the outset.
“It’s a long process, it’s a very hard show. If you put on an act, the pubic will see through you. You can’t put on an act for that length of time.
“I think all you’ve got to do is to be yourself, I think it’s really important to get on with people – if you can possibly get on with people, that obviously helps.”
He added that any prospective winners should try to avoid getting involved in arguments as much as possible.
“I got on well with everybody, I made it my job to. I think it’s very important to realise and I think some of the people that I was in there with forgot, but it is a television show and at the end of it, you’ve got to come out of that show.
“If you’ve been absolutely horrible in there, the public will never forgive you for it,” he added. “So I was just basically myself and I didn’t think I was gonna win it. I didn’t plan to win it, you can’t. The people you’re in there with, you might not see eye to eye with them but if you can possibly be nice and pleasant to people, that always helps.”
Carl Fogarty – 2014
Former motorcycle racer Carl Fogarty won I’m A Celebrity seven years ago and tells RadioTimes.com that it’s not about winning the show but embracing the whole experience.
“It’s totally out of your hands really. I didn’t go in to win the show, you kind of go in to survive. My goal was not to walk out of the show, it really was,” he said.
“It’s just about being yourself and embracing it all and throwing yourself into it. Getting on with everybody and just seeing where that takes you.
“The people who win the show over the years don’t really whinge and moan and throw themselves into it, have a good time, enjoy it, laugh, do the challenges and come across as ordinary people. I think that’s the key. Don’t try and pretend you’re somebody you’re not.”
Additional reporting by Lidia Molina Whyte.