The best family films to watch in the BT TV PlayerJul 21 | 2 min read
Every year, celebrities enter the jungle, battle with bugs and munch on some kangaroo bottom in the name of entertainment and - let’s face it -, a boost to their careers.
But what really goes into making the three-week jungle jaunt? We take a peak beneath the undergrowth to find out.
1. Up the Creek
You might think the celebrities are dropped off in the middle of nowhere but the set is actually located in an old banana plantation plant in Dungay Creek near Queensland’s populous Gold Coast. While the presenters and friends and family of the celebrities are put up at the lavish Palazzo Versace Hotel, most of the crew stay in the holiday resort of Coolangatta.
2. A bridge too far
There is a limited crew on the site throughout the year, but production picks up pace in August when the art department and trials team get cracking on creating all the props and sets. Linking the production area to the camp is a huge job in itself, requiring half a mile of suspension bridges, four miles of rope, five miles of steel cabling and 60 tonnes of scaffolding.
3. Early risers
Ant and Dec - or Holly and Dec - arrive on site at about 2.30am Australian time every morning to do any voiceover work required. Then they talk through the script, watch the VTs and go to make-up before travelling to the studio ready for the live show to start at 7am.
4. Celebrity secrets
Where possible, members of the production team chaperone the celebrities all the way from the UK to Australia. Once they’ve arrived at the various hotels, they’re on lockdown before they enter the camp and won’t meet each other until they’re actually on camera.
They’re allowed to make one call home before their mobiles and laptops are confiscated. The wardrobe department also make last-minute adjustments as apparently most celebrities insist they’re a size 10...
5. Food for thought
The celebrities might be starving if the Bushtucker Trials haven’t been going so well, but the same can’t be said for the crew who can gorge on grub at any time of the day. To give you an idea of the scale of the production, about 150 people can be helping themselves to food in the catering tent at any one time.
6. Smart gallery
There are 13 edit suites in action throughout the series, where editors are tasked with packaging the huge amount of footage caught from the set’s cameras. There’s also a gallery, known as the nerve centre of the show, where the logging team work around the clock. They’ll pass notes onto producers and talk to any celebrity who enters the Bush Telegraph to let off steam.
7. Tick master
Medic Bob and his team are kept pretty busy. During the 2013 series, one crew member suffered severe anaphylactic shock from a tick bite, two contracted tick fever, more than 100 ticks were removed from celebrities and crew, 22 carpet pythons were relocated, two people needed stitches and two pregnancies were announced.
8. Last orders
When the celebrities are voted off the show, the first thing they do after they’ve given their exit interview and seen their best bits is to visit the series’ psychiatrist before visiting Medic Bob, who will check their weight and blood pressure. They’re then given their phone back and can make the all-important call to their agent.
9. Bred bugs
Given how many bugs are involved in the Bushtucker Trials, it’s no surprise to hear that there is a dedicated bug-breeding factory on site. On average, there are 250,000 cockroaches, 153,000 crickets, 2.5 million mealworms, 400 spiders, 500 rats and 30 snakes bred for each series of the show.
10. International flavour
Almost immediately after the British crew have finished filming, the German team arrive. They have their own successful version of the show that goes out in January called Ich Bin Ein Star – Holt Mich Hier Raus! Sweden, France, India, Hungary and the US have all filmed their versions of the show on the same Gold Coast set.
These jungle snippets, and many more, feature in I’m A Celebrity …Get Me Out Of Here! The Inside Story by Mark Busk-Cowley, published in hardback by Bantam Press, priced £16.99