ITV boss says 'creative thinking' saved I'm A Celebrity from being axed by Covid

4 December 2020, 09:05

By Maddie Goodfellow

ITV bosses realised they needed to 'shake things up' to save I'm A Celebrity from being axed due to the pandemic, the channel's boss has revealed to Lionel Barber.

Speaking to Lionel on his podcast 'What Next?', CEO Carolyn McCall said that programme directors used "creativity" to try and bring some joy to people's lives with the show.

"With every fibre in our bodies at ITV we were determined to get I'm a Celebrity to screen," she explained.

"I mean everybody wanted it, and our viewers wanted it.

"And what was amazing about that is we were talking and talking and talking and it started to become obvious that, at one point, it looked very likely we would get to Australia and then almost a week later it was obviously not."

This year's series is taking place in Gwrych Castle in North Wales instead of the Australian jungle due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Sir Mo Farah, Vernon Kay and Beverley Callard are among the new campmates.

Lionel Barber spoke with Carolyn McCall
Lionel Barber spoke with Carolyn McCall. Picture: LBC

Carolyn also explained the creative process that led to the show being saved.

"We ended up just coming up with this idea of a castle and somewhere in the UK," she told Lionel.

"We said we'd rather do it and put a different slant on it, make it different. It's the 20th year and our programme director was like 'shake it up a bit'.

"That excitement about doing something a little bit different in a different place really took hold. And I think what we've come up with is a magnificent kind of programme.

Lionel then joked that this year's show is so magnificent he's even watching it himself.

"I know, everybody is watching it. It's a happy place. I think it is giving a a lot of people in a very difficult time, I mean this lockdown is different to the last one but it's still tough for a lot of people," Carolyn said.

"And I think looking forward to something that is funny and engaging and creative and different is very uplifting, it's cheering."

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