Is I’m A Celebrity real? ITV series fake set, and rumours over extra food portions for campmates explained

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The reality of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! from artificial set to extra food rumours

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! returns this month for another series in the Australian jungle. Big name campmates featuring this year are controversial politician Nigel Farage and Jamie Lynn Spears, the younger sister of Britney Spears.

Fans of the show who aren’t boycotting over Farage’s involvement will be keen to watch the contestants compete in bushtucker trials to win food for the camp, engage in salacious gossip, and of course bathe in the iconic waterfall.

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But how much of I’m A Celebrity is real - with structured reality shows like Made in Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex, and Love Island now very popular, it’s never clear how much of what we see on the telly is ‘real’ and how much of it has been created by the show’s producers. Ahead of the new series of I’m A Celebrity, we take a look at how much of the popular series is fake.

I'm A Celebrity features a constructed set, but the hunger is all realI'm A Celebrity features a constructed set, but the hunger is all real
I'm A Celebrity features a constructed set, but the hunger is all real | ITV

Is the I’m A Celebrity set real?

Perhaps the biggest suspension of disbelief required when watching I’m a Celebrity, apart from the fact that ITV actually got Nigel Farage to take part, is that it is really set in a dangerous jungle.

The jungle is actually a controlled environment in Springbrook National Park, New South Wales. The camp itself, in Dungay Creek, was specially built for the series, with a fake waterfall and, according to former campmate Hugo Taylor, fake rocks to hide cameras in. Cameramen are also hidden just outside the camp to capture all of the action.

Ironically, the exotic Australian setting never caused any serious weather problems, but when production moved to Wales due to the Covid pandemic, production was temporarily cancelled in 2021 when Storm Arwen caused chaos at the castle set.

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Ant and Dec's jokes may be scripted but the I'm A Celeb campmates conversations are authenticAnt and Dec's jokes may be scripted but the I'm A Celeb campmates conversations are authentic
Ant and Dec's jokes may be scripted but the I'm A Celeb campmates conversations are authentic | ITV

Do I’m A Celebrity contestants get extra food?

One persistent claim that comes up every year is that the celebrities don’t really have to survive on the measly food we see them win in the bushtucker trials. We often see the famous faces, who are used to the finer things in their celebrity lives, living off rice and beans in the camp, and some viewers have suggested that they are secretly given extra rations.

However, aside from electrolyte drinks and glucose to boost energy, the stars do not get any extra portions. Campmates often lose more than a stone in weight over three weeks on the show, whilst Nick Knowles lost 2.2 stone over his 19 day stint in 2018.

Are I’m A Celebrity conversations scripted?

Whilst Ant and Dec’s cringe worthy jokes are obviously read from an autocue, the conversations the campmates have, and the many arguments featured through each series, are reportedly authentic.

It makes sense, with very little to do all day aside from trials, the contestants rely on each other for diverting conversation, and when things get too much inside the confines of the camp, arguments are likely to break out.

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Obviously what you see on the TV is only a small part of the goings on of camp life, and producers are able to frame things how they like, making heroes and villains of each series, and snipping context wherever they like.

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