I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! first hit our screens back in 2002, and has continued to grace our screens every year since. For anyone who might not know, the show features a group of celebrity contestants entering into the Aussie jungle for several weeks, competing in an array of crazy challenges in a bid to be crowned either the King or Queen of the jungle. Last year, I’m A Celeb won “Best Reality TV Show” for the third year running at the Digital Spy Reader Awards, and huge names, such as Caitlyn Jenner, are featuring in the 2019 series. However, the programme has also come under some serious criticism in more recent years by vegans, animal rights activists and even the British veterinary community over its use of animals within the trials. Even now that the use of live animals in the eating trials has been axed from the show by producers, there are still a great deal of complaints being made about the treatment of animals in other parts of the show, and it seems as though I’m A Celeb is running the risk of losing its popularity over the growing increase of such concerns. Although despite increasing levels of concern, there is clearly enough hype for the show with daily updates about camp dramas being drummed out by news outlets like the daily mail, and bingo card games being created for play along fun.
Many viewers love the grizzly element of I’m A Celeb’s challenges, arguing that it’s part of the show’s appeal, but others aren’t so impressed. Celebrity naturalist, Chris Packham, has been perhaps one of the most prominent figures to bring on negativity surrounding the show, initially for its use of live animals in the eating trials. He claimed it was like something from the “Middle Ages”, and wrote an open letter to the show’s presenters, Ant and Dec back in 2014, voicing his anger. This spurred on significant objection against the show by other vegan and animal right activists; during the 2015 series, model Ferne Mccan was put up to the challenge of eating a live, incredibly large spider. A lot of viewers were not happy about this, and the show received hundreds of complaints. Following on from such criticism and complaints by both critics and fans, the show’s producers have decided to no longer include live animals in the bushtucker trials, in a bid to reclaim any lost popularity.
However, just earlier on this year, a fresh wave of criticism has also come from the British veterinary community, who sent an open letter to I’m A Celeb’s producers expressing their concerns. In their letter, the vets urged that whenever snakes were used during the 2018 series of the show, they showed unmistakable signs of distress. They also stated that I’m A Celeb simply was not complying with the Animal Welfare Act, and that the show was setting a bad example to the public on the treatment of exotic animals.
As the vegan UK population continues to increase, and our understanding of animal welfare develops, it is likely that the show will continue to receive complaints until the use of live animals is axed entirely. However, for many viewers, the show has done enough now by ending the use of live animals in the eating trials, and others think that people are just being too sensitive, and really enjoy the gory side to the show.
Whilst I’m A Celeb has received a lot of criticism over the years surrounding animal welfare, its popularity hasn’t seemed to significantly decline. This year there was a huge buzz around the start of the series as usual. Months before the show started, there was huge speculation over which celebs would be entering the jungle, and there was a huge wave of excitement on social media.
To make the 2019 series of I’m A Celeb even more entertaining, there have been a number of exciting I’m A Celeb bingo game released. The cards for the game can be easily downloaded online, so you can play via your phone, laptop or tablet, or opt to print the cards out. Typically bingo cards would contain numbers, ranging from 1-99, or 1-75, but for this version of bingo, they instead feature classic I’m A Celeb scenarios, such as “a campmate lies about how many stars they won in the bush tucker trials” or “you notice that Ant and Dec haven’t aged since Byker Grove first aired”. These bingo cards let you play along with the show and make for great viewing. You simply check the scenarios off your card as and when they occur during the episode; the first person to check all of their scenarios will be crowned the winner.
Although a lot of people believe that I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! is wrong and unfair in its treatment of animals, a lot of people also aren’t too concerned and love these parts of the show. Despite criticism, I’m A Celeb continues to be highly popular, and fans can’t wait to see how the rest of this year’s series plays out.