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I’m A Celeb 2020 – Why Wales?

December 2, 2020 European News No Comments

From Australia to Wales – quite the contrast in landscapes and environments. Why was Wales chosen as the destination for the 2020 I’m a Celebrity Get me out of here season? Surely not because it has for many years been filmed in New South Wales, Australia, or is that just a coincidence?!

For a while, due to Covid-19, many of us doubted that the delights of the bush tucker trials would be able to return to our screens this winter. However, ITV bosses were adamant that there was a way to film its 20th season – simply move the location. With the current worldwide pandemic, it would have to be filmed on British soil, which was a necessary move in order for the show to simply go ahead in 2020 and where better than a haunted castle on top of a hill.

When you think of Wales, the words wet, windy and cold often spring to mind, quite different to the warm Australian climate at the other side of the world, where celebrities wore swimsuits and washed under waterfalls.  Comedian Joel Dommett, who came second in 2016, said that “it is going to be cold; they are going to be hungry and the Welsh countryside can be unforgiving.” However, for this to work, and for it to have an impact on its viewers, ITV felt a stark contrast was needed.

Wales, in 2017 was voted as the 10th most beautiful country in the world, by the readers of Rough Guide. A small country, yes, but it is also absolutely breath taking. An unsung beauty. It has over 600 castles and 32,998km of walking paths many with spectacular scenic views. Wales boasts a range of landscapes from Snowdonia to the woodland waterfalls of Brecon Beacons and of course, its dramatic coastlines.

This year, it is being filmed in Abergele, a small market town on the North coast of Wales, situated between the holiday resorts of Colwyn Bay and Rhyl. According to Air BnB, Colwyn bay topped their list for the most popular British seaside destination. Not quite the same as the Springbrook National Park where it’s been filmed since 2003, but nevertheless, it has atmosphere, history and incredible views. What more could the producers want in a destination – perhaps a spectacular castle?

Gwrych Castle is a grade I listed, 19th century, gothic style estate on a hillside overlooking the Irish Sea. It has over 250 acres of beautiful, landscaped gardens and grounds. It was built between 1810 and 1825 and today, it has become known as The Showpiece of Wales, attracting many tourists, not only for its beauty, but due to its rich history. In World War II for example, it was used to house 200 Jewish refugees on behalf of Jewish Zionist Youth movement Bnei Akiva.

One of its key attractions however, legend has it, that the castle is haunted by the Countess of Dundonald, Winifred Cohcrane. Locals and visitors have made many claims of seeing paranormal activity in the Countess’s Tower, and the Castle itself used to hold ghost hunts at night. This gives the setting for the show a distinctive and intriguing character that is poles apart from the Australian jungle. Not good for one celebrity, Giovanna Fletcher, who has said she is afraid of heights and ghosts!

Boosting the economy is another reason why this destination has been chosen. Dr Mark Baker, chair of Gwrych Castle Preservation trust, as expressed his support for the filming to take place due to it “giving the region a much-needed economic boost”. Alongside this, it is part of the agreement with ITV that they will support the restoration project. They have reportedly donated £300,000 to the trust as well as assisting in fixing walls and repairing the roof.

The historic castle plays into the hands of the writers and producers giving them a perfect theme for this year’s show – which has already proved to be a success. The medieval theme in keeping with the surroundings keeps things lighthearted and jovial, at a time where many of us at home are feeling the strain of a second lockdown.

Viewers say it is a breath of fresh air. In fact, producers are toying with the idea of alternating years between the jungle and the castle to keep things exciting and interesting for the viewing public.

Some of the information on this post was taken from Betway.

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