By Beth Williams | News Editor
I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here has returned to North Wales for its latest series. For the second time, Gwrych Castle in Abergele will house Ant and Dec and the celebrity campmates for the next three weeks.
The coronavirus pandemic has once again stopped the cast and crew from travelling to the jungles of Australia as they previously did from 2002-2019. Mark Baker, the chairman of the Gwrych Castle Conservation Trust, said: “I’m extremely proud that I’m a Celebrity has chosen Gwrych Castle as its location for the 2021 series. Gwrych Castle is a Grade one listed property and is a location that tourists coming to Wales should visit. Having “I’m a Celebrity” here will help to support its continued restoration as well as give a big economic boost to the area”.
The conservation trust and the rest of Abergele have been preparing for the arrival of the series for the last few weeks. In an attempt to raise money for the castle’s restoration work, an I’m a Celebrity gift shop has been opened. Local Councillor Delyth MacRae hopes that the area will see a further rise in tourism as coronavirus restrictions have eased since this time last year. “100,000 people came to see the castle and that was because of I’m a Celeb. In the two years prior, it was 30,000 so it shows that there is excitement here in Abergele”.
The last series also provided a boost for the Welsh language. According to the show’s Welsh language advisor Garffild Lloyd Lewis, multiple providers of Welsh lessons had commented that the previous series had a positive impact on attitudes and interest towards the Welsh language and culture. His wife, who’s also been helping the production team, said of her husband: “We’ve presented the language in a subtle way. He’s not shouting about it but he has introduced welsh words here and there and the language can be heard around the site. It has brought a positive reaction”. For example, presenters Ant and Dec started every episode by saying “Noswaith Dda”, which is Welsh for “Good Evening”. Bilingual signage can also be seen in different locations across the set, such as the shop that the celebrities can win prizes from.
This series’ first instalment drew in a peak of 9 million viewers, compared to 11 million the previous year. Despite the drop, locals are still optimistic that the show can have a positive impact on the area. It is yet to be confirmed if the series will remain in Abergele or return to Australia in 2022.