We’re only a handful of shows in and already there have been reports saying new host Holly Willoughby, who is stepping in for Ant McPartlin this series, could be facing the axe.
After Sunday’s opening episode, some viewers labelled her hosting style ‘wooden’ and awkward’ while others complained she didn’t get involved with enough ‘banter’ with co-host Declan Donnelly.
The backlash, mostly on social media, led to reports circulating that Willoughby could be replaced before the series is over with another host.
However, ITV has taken the unusual step of categorically denying the reports. A spokesperson said to Hello Magazine that Willoughby will not be replaced, and called the notion ‘absolute rubbish.’
“We are very happy with Holly presenting alongside Dec,” the spokesperson continued.
Willoughby has talked of her nerves of stepping into McPartlin’s shoes, and revealed on Extra Camp that she is ‘relieved’ her first episode of this series is over.
“Relieved, like massively. It’s just so overwhelming this show, you walk in and you’re here, like you’ve watched this on TV, it’s been part of my life for years and now I’m here. It’s surreal,” said Willoughby.
While co-host Donnelly says he’s enjoying ‘seeing it through someone else’s eyes.’
“The first day we went down and showed Holly the camp and I said, ‘This is where we stand’ and then I looked round and she wasn’t there. She was at the entrance of the camp and just looking up and little tears in her eyes and she said, ‘It’s beautiful!'” he added.
This year’s line-up includes The Chase star Anne Hegerty, actor John Barrowman and football manager Harry Redknapp. The rumoured highest ever paid contestant, Noel Edmonds, is expected to join the camp before this season is out.