The latest series of I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! has been hit by chaos in recent days.
This year’s batch of stars entered the compound, which was relocated from Australia to Wales for the second year running, on Sunday (21 November) – but it has reportedly been a tumultuous week for producers.
Reps for the show have confirmed that “a security breach was identified and an intruder was removed from the location with immediate effect” earlier this week.
The incident is believed to have happened on Wednesday (24 November), just after Richard Madeley was forced to quit the show after feeling “unwell”.
Madeley, who is said to be one of the 2021 series’ highest-paid contestants, was taken to hospital for a check up. However, due to breaking the show’s Covid bubble, he had to withdraw. His daughter, Chloe, said that he was “livid” by the decision.
Two more celebrities were on the verge of quitting this week. After failing in two tasks, music producer and rapper Naughty Boy threatened to leave the series, with former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips following suit.
The Sun reports that Philips, who, at 78, is the oldest contestant to have ever participated in the show, is struggling with “chronic pain”.
Meanwhile, Saturdays pop star Frankie Bridge is said to have developed a rash that was worrying medics.
This report came hours before the show’s first live episode was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Producers were forced to pre-record Friday’s outing (26 November) as Storm Arwen hit the UK with winds as high as 98mph.
ITV has now announced that there will be no new episode on either Saturday (27 November) or Sunday (28 November) as “precautions” continue.
“You’ve probably heard we’ve had to record the show a bit earlier tonight because of the winds here at Storm Arwen,” Donnelly told viewers in a behind-the-scenes video.
“It’s bad, isn’t it, it’s really windy. You can hear it, it’s rattling the tent, it might blow this away, so we’ve got to get it done and get out of here,” co-host Ant McPartlin added.
“It’s due to get worse later so everyone is afraid that the satellite is going to go down and all of that, so it’s a bit risky to do a live show, so we’re going to have to do it recorded tonight, which is the first time we’ve ever done that,” Donnelly continued.
Ratings for Tuesday night’s episode of the show (23 November) were down by three million when compared with last year’s instalment.
Producers are said to be hoping that new contestants Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale in EastEnders) and Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald in Coronation Street) will boost viewership amid fears that people will switch off now Madeley has gone.
The Independent has contacted reps for I’m a Celebrity for comment. The show continues Sunday (28 November) at 9pm on ITV.