Article by ITV Wales reporter Ellie Pitt
“Thank you everyone in Wales for making us feel so welcome!” Ant McPartlin ends the final of I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here 2020 with heartfelt appreciation for the host country.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been three weeks since I’m A Celeb started and provided a very welcome distraction.
For the show’s 20th series, Gwrych Castle became the contestants' home. Suddenly the spotlight has been placed on North Wales and specifically, Abergele. But the Castle and its surroundings were shown off from the very first episode and have shone brightly.
The trials were tweaked for the new setting and the castle camp with its different areas, almost had a Big Brother feel.
Some viewers weren’t keen on a few of the changes and questioned whether the campmates, many with backgrounds in acting or TV presenting, were too familiar with being in front of the camera.
But overall, many have enjoyed the light-hearted fun and newly-found friendships each episode brought into our homes each evening.
Wales has truly got into the I’m A Celebrity spirit. Local primary schools incorporated the show into themed lessons.
Friends did fun trials down the pub, families did them at home and even dogs at the North Clwyd Animal Rescue Centre got in on the action too!
Abergele businesses have made the most of the filming taking place down the road too. Jim Jones, from North Wales Tourism, believes as much as £1 million could have been brought into the local economy as a result of the production.
It’s hoped visitor numbers next year will reflect the interest in the programme and the area.
The legacy of the show being filmed at Gwrych will undoubtedly be a sense of pride and a community reconnecting with its castle.
Already more than £10,000 has been raised for restoration work including keeping the lights on.
The future for Gwrych Castle looks bright. Whether ITV will return next year, well, watch this space!