'Welcome to Wales!' I'm A Celebrity helps put Abergele on the map

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! viewers were treated to spectacular scenes of Snowdonia and the north Wales coast in Sunday night's series launch.

Hosts Ant and Dec opened the 20th series from a lit up Gwrych Castle in Abergele, Conwy, which has replaced the Australian jungle due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A peak of 12 million viewers watched the programme, with the biggest overnight audience on any channel outside of news since the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special on BBC One last year.

The show saw half of the 10 celebrities arrive by helicopter, providing views of Snowdonia's mountains and lakes, with the other five travelling across the Welsh countryside by jeep.

The series has been welcomed by residents and businesses of Abergele, which lies at the bottom of the hillside below the historic castle.

The contestants, including Olympian Sir Mo Farah, journalist Victoria Derbyshire, and soap star Shane Richie, were immediately tasked with collecting their rucksacks for camp - by abseiling down a cliff.

The rucksacks were padlocked to the cliff, and in order to free the bags the celebrities had to answer numerical-based questions about their fellow campmates.

Radio 1 DJ Jordan North was so nervous he vomited prior to the challenge, but successfully made it down.

ITV Wales reporter Rob Shelley has been to see whether the stunning Welsh landscape spell good news for the tourism and adventure business in the area? 

The contestants later arrived at the castle, which has been transformed into a camp that will be home to the celebrities for three weeks.

All of the celebrities took part in the first trial of the series, 'The Gates To Hell', which took place in front of the castle and saw the contestants locked inside 10 linked cages.

They were then tasked with passing 10 stars from one side to the other - with thousands of critters joining them in their cages - and managed to succeed with seven of them.

After completing the first challenge, Victoria Derbyshire said: "First trial done. I feel ecstatic that we got so many stars and that it's all over."

However, Jordan North described the task as "absolutely horrific".

Earlier in the episode, Shane Richie made a dramatic entrance to the castle after falling out of a hammock.

The actor, known for playing Alfie Moon in EastEnders, went to recline as the campmates inspected their sleeping quarters.

However, he appeared to get in too enthusiastically as he was flipped out onto the ground.

At the end of Sunday's programme, Richie was selected to take part in the upcoming Viper Vault challenge alongside North.

I’m A Celebrity continues on weeknights and Sundays at 9pm on ITV through to its final on Friday 4 December.

The celebrities will sleep on camp beds and hammocks inside the castle. Credit: ITV
  • What will this year's series bring? Analysis by ITV Wales reporter Ellie Pitt

What a start to the new series! There were trials, nerve-induced vomiting, tears, hugs and of course, bugs.

The first episode of I’m a Celebrity gave viewers everything they could have asked for. Plus some beautiful shots of the castle surroundings.

Though not a surprise to anyone who’s visited North Wales before, the real star of the show was the Welsh countryside. 

Already we’ve learnt a lot about our 10 celebrities and had an insight into the roles they are likely to play in castle camp.

Victoria Derbyshire got stuck in from the start, getting the boiler going and working out how to deliver the food. She’s got a can-do attitude and will get the job done.

We saw her sensitive side too, when she instigated the first cwtch of the series to comfort a teary Jessica Plummer. 

Lovable Sir Mo Farah and caring, yet knickers-obsessed, Giovanna Fletcher will provide the spirit-raising moments and will lift the team out of despair when trials don’t result in much reward. 

Soap stars Shane Ritchie and Beverley Callard will without doubt provide the most laughs this series.

Quick-witted Shane joked about leaving nervous wreck Jordan half-way up a cliff but was soon left red-faced himself after falling out of a hammock.

Iconic Bev gave us probably the most-tweeted picture of the night as she emerged from the Gates of Hell trial.

Later she employed Jordan North and Victoria Derbyshire to de-bug her, leaving Victoria to compliment her ‘magnificent breasts’! I can see a good friendship starting there. 

But it was Radio 1 DJ Jordan North who truly set himself up for the rest of the series.

Oh Jordan, where to start. The self-confessed ‘scared of everything’ presenter, really wasn’t joking.

Just the thought of abseiling to meet the rest of the group made him sick. And in the cruel way the British public’s minds work, this didn’t go unnoticed.

Sure enough, in traditional I’m a Celebrity style, this moment of weakness has set the course for his time on the show. He has been chosen by the viewers to take part in the first trial, Viper Vault.

How he gets on will be revealed in Monday night’s show.