As a new crop of famous faces enter the I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! camp to tackle what are expected to be the most disgusting Bushtucker Trials ever, former King of the Jungle Joe Swash wonders how they’ll cope…
How much do you look forward to this time of year, when I’m a Celebrity returns?
“It’s become a bit of a tradition; it’s almost like Christmas! Comic David Morgan will be joining myself and Laura Whitmore as hosts of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here Now! on ITV2 this year, so it’ll be nice to go out to the Australian jungle with someone who’s never been before, show him around, see it with fresh eyes and feel the excitement once again.”
We hear that this year’s Bushtucker Trials are going to be even more disgusting. Are the celebrities ready for that?
“There’s a trial that hasn’t been done before and it’s awful. I know I’m going to have to do it for our show, so I’ve already been worrying about it – it’s that bad! I still love doing the trials – I’m getting better at dealing with bugs, but the eating ones will always disturb me. I’m a Celebrity’s like a monster, it just gets bigger and bigger, so expect some major trials this year.”
Do you get excited when really big stars go into the jungle?
“It’s not always the major bookings that give you the most entertainment – Gillian McKeith in 2010 was amazing, but you’d never had thought it. You can never tell if someone’s going to be good or not until they’re actually in the jungle.”
Do you think the programme gives those celebrities who may have received negative press attention the chance to show viewers who they really are?
“Some viewers may have a pre-conceived idea of what someone’s like, so I think it’s a good way of putting to bed any myths about people. The jungle’s a great leveller – you can’t pretend to be someone you’re not in there because it will soon come to the surface. You totally forget the cameras are there.”
Having won I’m a Celebrity yourself in 2008, what would you say is one of the best things about being in the jungle?
“It’s really liberating. Working in TV, we’re constantly running around doing things and having make-up put on, so going into the jungle and not having a mobile phone and not having to worry about anything apart from getting water, getting food and really going back to basics, is lovely. Some people really like it, but then other people can’t handle it and freak out!”
What advice would you give the celebrities to try and avoid any conflict in camp?
“Stay away from the cooking because that causes nightmares! Sitting around doing nothing in camp can be mentally draining, so having a job, like cooking, gives you an identity. When other people try to do your job, you can get defensive – and that’s when it all kicks off!”
Who is your own favourite King or Queen of the jungle?
“I think Stacey Solomon was amazing! I think for a female winner she had everything; she was strong, funny, kind and loving. She was great – but she smelt awful! I know from my own experience that there’s generally a bad smell in camp but, when you’re in there, everyone smells the same. It’s not until you come out and someone with a fresh nose comes along and says to you: ‘Oooh, you smell a bit funky!’”
Hosts Ant and Dec have done the odd Bushtucker Trial in the past, but do you think they could hack a whole three weeks in the jungle?
“No, they like their luxury; they like a bit of golf afterwards. I think they’re more than happy just doing what they’re doing – I don’t think anyone would do any of that stuff if they didn’t have to!”
This is the 15th series of I’m A Celebrity – do you think it could be time for a ‘Champion of Champions’ series?
“Shows tend to do a ‘best of the best’ when they need to be given a revamp. But I’m a Celebrity hasn’t aged at all – it stays fresh, and Ant and Dec are brilliant. And viewers are never going to get tired of watching a celebrity eat a crocodile’s bits, are they?”
Would you consider going back in to see if you could be crowned Ultimate King of the Jungle?
“I know that if I turned down the chance to go back in, I’d be jealous just watching it on TV – but then I’ve still got such a special memory of winning, so I’m really torn. Do I keep that little memory of winning – or do I go back in there and create all these new memories? Being in the jungle is really hard going but, if you make it to the end, it’s the most fulfilling experience ever.”
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! returns on Sunday, November 15 at 9pm on ITV.
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here Now! will follow on ITV2 at 10pm.