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Tourists flock to I’m A Celeb’s Gwrych Castle ahead of show’s 2021 return

Tourists are flocking to the Welsh town of Abergele ahead of the return of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! to see Gwrych Castle before it is taken over by ITV again this autumn.

The broadcaster announced this week that the show will be returning to Wales for the second year running, thanks to the pandemic.

The show has always taken place in Australia until COVID-19 put a freeze on this for a while – and now Gwrych Castle and Abergele have become a hotspot for fans to visit.

Seeing the sights: Tourists are flocking to the Welsh town of Abergele ahead of the return of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! to see Gwrych Castle before it is taken over by ITV again this autumn

Pictures exclusive to MailOnline sees tourists lining up to visit the castle during the summer holidays, snapped in front of famous I’m A Celeb props such as the phone box and outside privy toilet.

There are also cardboard cut-outs of the show’s long-term hosts Ant & Dec.

People are seen in snaps having photos taken in front of the cut-outs, and one image sees the duo placed in one of the large stately windows, overlooking proceedings.

Even members of the local community have cut-outs of the hosts at their local businesses for customers to pose with. 

Props: Ant & Dec cardboard cut-outs and the famous phone box line the enclaves of the castle

Props: Ant & Dec cardboard cut-outs and the famous phone box line the enclaves of the castle

Visiting: Pictures exclusive to MailOnline sees tourists lining up to visit the castle during the summer holidays

Visiting: Pictures exclusive to MailOnline sees tourists lining up to visit the castle during the summer holidays

Famous loo: The toiler proved popular with revelers

Famous loo: The toiler proved popular with revelers

Keeping watch: People are seen in snaps having photos taken in front of the cut-outs, and one image sees the duo placed in one of the large stately windows, overlooking proceedings

Keeping watch: People are seen in snaps having photos taken in front of the cut-outs, and one image sees the duo placed in one of the large stately windows, overlooking proceedings

Fans are seen lining up for ice-cream outside the castle, on a sunny day in Wales.

Insiders revealed to MailOnline on Monday that the show has been thrown into chaos following the last minute change of plans, although there is no fear behind the scenes of the show’s success after the roaring triumph of last year’s Welsh series.

The news were confirmed by ITV a few hours later, with Katie Rawcliffe, ITV Head of Entertainment Commissioning, saying: ‘We can confirm today that we’ll be returning to Wales for the 2021 series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! 

We see you! Ant & Dec have hosted the show for 20 series

We see you! Ant & Dec have hosted the show for 20 series

Claim to fame: Even members of the local community have cut-outs of the hosts at their local businesses for customers to pose with. This is Julie Bright From the Pen-y-Bont Inn in Abergele

Claim to fame: Even members of the local community have cut-outs of the hosts at their local businesses for customers to pose with. This is Julie Bright From the Pen-y-Bont Inn in Abergele

Treat yaself: Fans are seen lining up for ice-cream outside the castle, on a sunny day in Wales

 Treat yaself: Fans are seen lining up for ice-cream outside the castle, on a sunny day in Wales

Lining up: ITV announced this week that the show will be returning to Wales for the second year running, thanks to the pandemic

Lining up: ITV announced this week that the show will be returning to Wales for the second year running, thanks to the pandemic

‘We’ve always said we have contingencies in place for the series if the covid situation continued to bring uncertainty, and after a highly successful run at the castle last year we’re pleased that we can return there. I have no doubt the production team will produce another hugely entertaining series.’

Richard Cowles, Director of Unscripted at Lifted Entertainment said: ‘With the continued uncertainty around covid and international travel we have taken the decision not to return to our home in Australia for the 2021 series.

‘We’re excited to return to Gwrych Castle. The last series was a huge success and we were made to feel so welcome by everyone locally and can’t wait to see everyone again.’

On this year’s show, sources said: ‘It doesn’t mean the series will be below par as the last series was the second most popular in show series. Bosses are working hard to get things ready for the launch following Australia’s change in status.’ 

The news were confirmed by ITV, with Katie Rawcliffe, ITV Head of Entertainment Commissioning, saying: 'We can confirm today that we’ll be returning to Wales for the 2021 series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!'

The news were confirmed by ITV, with Katie Rawcliffe, ITV Head of Entertainment Commissioning, saying: ‘We can confirm today that we’ll be returning to Wales for the 2021 series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’

She added: 'We’ve always said we have contingencies in place for the series if the covid situation continued to bring uncertainty, and after a highly successful run at the castle last year we’re pleased that we can return there. I have no doubt the production team will produce another hugely entertaining series'

She added: ‘We’ve always said we have contingencies in place for the series if the covid situation continued to bring uncertainty, and after a highly successful run at the castle last year we’re pleased that we can return there. I have no doubt the production team will produce another hugely entertaining series’

Torture chamber: The various medieval stocks can be visited at the site

Torture chamber: The various medieval stocks can be visited at the site

Richard Cowles, Director of Unscripted at Lifted Entertainment said: 'With the continued uncertainty around covid and international travel we have taken the decision not to return to our home in Australia for the 2021 series'

Richard Cowles, Director of Unscripted at Lifted Entertainment said: ‘With the continued uncertainty around covid and international travel we have taken the decision not to return to our home in Australia for the 2021 series’

Last year’s series – won by Giovanna Fletcher in the backdrop of the country’s Gwrych Castle – was a roaring success despite its move from the jungle amid restrictions in place from the coronavirus pandemic.   

The last series was the second most popular series since IAC started. The launch episode got 14.3 million viewers consolidated.

Australia has tightened the screw on its strict Covid lockdowns – ordering millions in Queensland to stay at home until at least the end of the week as the country struggles to control outbreaks of the highly-infectious Delta variant.

The change in status has led to the overhaul in bosses’ plans.  

Superfans! Paul Lydiate with his fiance Louise McCarthy are both huge fans of the show

Superfans! Paul Lydiate with his fiance Louise McCarthy are both huge fans of the show

Busy: The location looks stunning in the summer weather - very different to the cold climes of last autumn's series

Busy: The location looks stunning in the summer weather – very different to the cold climes of last autumn’s series

Strike a pose: I'm A Celeb fever hits Gwrych Castle in Abergele

Strike a pose: I’m A Celeb fever hits Gwrych Castle in Abergele

Back in May it was revealed that bosses needed to decide within the two weeks whether the show returns to Australia or remains in Wales for a second year.

The ITV series filmed in Gwrych Castle last year after the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for the show to travel safely to Australia.

A source told MailOnline: ‘ITV need to decide in the next two weeks whether they go to Australia or Wales this year. It’s decision time!

‘However if they choose Australia there is every chance it could be cancelled later down the line because of Covid If they choose Wales, it is guaranteed it will happen.’

Paying a visit: The show has always taken place in Australia until COVID-19 put a freeze on this for a while

Paying a visit: The show has always taken place in Australia until COVID-19 put a freeze on this for a while

Hot-spot: Gwrych Castle and Abergele have become a hotspot for fans to visit

Hot-spot: Gwrych Castle and Abergele have become a hotspot for fans to visit

Local businesses: Paul Cumberlidge from the Goalie Butchers in Abergele is pictured

Local businesses: Paul Cumberlidge from the Goalie Butchers in Abergele is pictured

The source added that if the show does remain in Wales for another series, ITV will have to fork out more cash than they would for Australia.

They added: ‘It costs MORE to film in Wales than fly to Australia as it’s a four month set build. That’s why they have to make a decision now. Time is running out. And there is no show without them. So it’s all pointing to being Wales. Oz is far too risky.’

An ITV spokesperson has since confirmed to MailOnline that bosses have ‘plans in place’ for both locations.

They said: ‘No decisions have been made regarding the location for the new series and we have contingencies and plans in place for all possible options.’

Moved: I'm A Celebrity bosses have been forced to abort plans to film the next series in Australia following the country's lockdown hell

Moved: I’m A Celebrity bosses have been forced to abort plans to film the next series in Australia following the country’s lockdown hell

Back again: Last year's series - won by Giovanna Fletcher - was a roaring success despite its move from the jungle amid restrictions in place from the coronavirus pandemic

Back again: Last year’s series – won by Giovanna Fletcher – was a roaring success despite its move from the jungle amid restrictions in place from the coronavirus pandemic

It comes after reports the show’s location remained up in the air after Australia warned international borders will remain closed indefinitely.

Earlier this week, Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said reopening the borders too soon would expose the country to another and more ruthless outbreak of Covid – with Finance Minister Simon Birmingham pushing the date to 2022.

Due to current regulations, travel to Australia is only permitted if travellers are ‘exempt’ or have been ‘granted an individual exemption’.

According to The Mirror, ‘talks are thought to be ongoing at ITV’ while Gwrych Castle is said to ‘have an agreement’ to host I’m A Celebrity again this year.

Hosts Dec and Ant McPartlin recently said that plans to return to Australia for I’m A Celebrity this year are ‘still up in the air’.

Decision: The ITV series filmed in Gwrych Castle last year after the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for the show to travel safely to Australia

Cost: ITV will have to fork out more cash than they would for Australia, according to a source

Cost: ITV will have to fork out more cash than they would for Australia, according to a source

The Prime Minister said Australians had come to accept local lockdowns as ‘part of living with Covid-19’ and that residents did not have ‘an appetite’ for change.

He warned that reopening the borders too soon would expose the country to another and more ruthless outbreak of Covid-19, like the ones experienced in the UK, India and Europe.

‘We sit here as an island that’s living like few countries in the world are at the moment,’ he told The Sunday Telegraph.

‘We have to be careful not to exchange that way of life for what everyone else has.’

Australians have been banned from leaving the country since March 2020 without special exemptions, and only citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to enter under some of the strictest Covid-19 border rules in the world. 


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