Fears that I’m A Celebrity bosses have made this year’s series too tough are mounting after Richard Madeley’s shock departure yesterday.
The ITV show has been dramatically thrown into chaos after three of the contestants – Dame Arlene Phillips, Naughty Boy and Frankie Bridge – sought urgent medical treatment.
Madeley was forced to quit I’m A Celeb after becoming ill following a gruelling bushtucker trial in which he crawled through fish guts and rotting fruit and vegetables which he complained were cold before eating a squirrel for dinner.
The Good Morning Britain presenter, 65, was treated at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Wales – which meant that he broke Gwrych Castle’s Covid-safe bubble and ultimately had to leave the show.
Former Strictly judge Phillips, who at 78 is the oldest contestant on the series, is reportedly being medicated for ‘chronic pain’. Music producer Naughty Boy, 36, is said to be struggling mentally and Saturdays singer Bridge has developed a rash, The Sun reported.
A spokesman for I’m A Celebrity refused to be drawn on whether this year’s series is too tough for the contestants when approached by MailOnline for comment.
Normally, the celebrities head to sunny Australia to complete horrific challenges which involve handling creepy crawlies and eating ‘wobbly bits’. However, the past two series have taken place in damp and cold Wales because of the pandemic.
The show’s producers previously told MailOnline how they had planned on making this year’s series even harder for the stars. I’m A Celebrity has been running so long, they argued, that they wanted to throw in extra challenges to keep the contestants ‘on their toes’.
Bosses have scheduled one terrifying bushtucker trial every day of the programme, which airs for three weeks – meaning there will be 25 cruel challenges in total.
Five celebrities were forced to spend their first few nights in a brand new rival camp where they had to endure hellish living conditions. They have been forced to sleep on the cold hard floor, shower in the dark while having to keep hold of a chain to release water, and brush their teeth in a grubby sink – as well as relive themselves in a cramped privy.
I’m A Celeb creative director Tom Gould told MailOnline: ‘We needed to make this year tougher. We need to keep on pushing the celebrities.
‘Last year we were quite anxious because we didn’t know what we were going to face, we didn’t know how cold it was going to be or if the celebrities would be able to stick it out. They survived, just, so now we’re going to push them even further every series and make sure we keep them on their toes, so they don’t know what is coming.
‘The show has been running for so long now that there are people that know it really, really well so we need to keep the surprise element. It means we have upped our game.’
I’m A Celebrity bosses are reportedly fearing they may lose more of the show’s stars following Richard Madeley’s departure on Thursday (pictured Arlene Phillips and Naughty Boy)
Health scare: Richard, who was paid an estimated £200,000 to star in this year’s competition, was taken ill hours after participating in a gruelling trial
In chaos? The series is said to have been thrown into chaos behind-the-scenes after three of the celebrities have had to have urgent medical treatment (pictured Frankie Bridge)
He’s out: It comes after Richard, 65, arguably the show’s biggest signing, was forced to leave I’m A Celeb on Thursday after being admitted to hospital
David Ginola, Louise Minchin, Snoochie Shy, Richard Madeley, Frankie Bridge, Kadeena Cox, Matty Lee, Naughty Boy, Danny Miller and Arlene Phillips are the campmates braving this year’s series
Five unlucky celebrities who lost out in the show’s first trial spent their first few nights at Gwrych Castle in The Clink – a brand new camp with hellish living conditions where stars will have no beds
‘Tougher’: Stars of the 2021 series will be heading into Gwrych Castle, which has new living quarters The Clink
Nurses were seen arriving at the facility where Madeley was taken ill, before he was hospitalised
To get treated at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Wales, however, the Good Morning Britain presenter, 65, had to break Gwrych Castle’s Covid-safe bubble – and was ultimately forced to leave
Who’s panicking ITV?
ARLENE PHILLIPS, 78
– Producers are concerned about Arlene’s future on the show as she is dependent on painkillers to treat her chronic pain. She is the oldest ever star to take part in the show
NAUGHTY BOY, 36
– Naughty Boy is the primary carer to his dementia-stricken mother Zahida and is said to be struggling more and more with being away from his ill mum
FRANKIE BRIDGE, 32
– Frankie has also been seeking medical help for an unidentifiable rash that has left doctors stumped
Describing the smaller camp, dubbed The Clink, Gould added: ‘Our celebrities on their journey into the castle will be facing a series of head-to-head battles and the result of those will determine which five celebrities win access to the main camp and which five celebrities will spend their first few days of castle life in The Clink, which is not somewhere you would want to end up.
‘Being in The Clink is not how you would want to start your castle experience. It is a much smaller living space; they do get to sleep inside at least but there will be no beds for them – they will sleep on the floor.
‘There’s a very primitive shower camp but most of their daily lives will be within a cramped and claustrophobic courtyard, all their cooking, eating, washing up, and the chores they do will all happen outside. They are really going to be on top of each other for the first few days.’
The Sun reports that Phillips is on painkillers for ‘chronic pain’, while Naughty Boy is having a ‘tough time’ mentally due to being away from his dementia-stricken mum. And Bridge is said to have developed a rash and has had to seek medical attention.
A source said: ‘There are growing concerns for Arlene who is really struggling and in chronic pain, she is being helped around by the likes of David Ginola and Naughty Boy and is looking really frail.
‘It’s hard enough roughing it in the ruins of an old castle let alone at 78 years old. She is a trooper and wants to show everyone how tough she is.’
The insider said Naughty Boy, real name Shahid Khan, is having counselling over his mother’s health.
‘He’s been speaking to the show’s psych team, led by Sandra Scott, on a specially set-up iPad to make sure he is staying upbeat,’ an insider said. ‘This is the longest he has been away from his mother since her diagnosis so they are keen to make sure he’s not spiralling quietly.’
Phillips and Naughty Boy have both previously expressed their desire to leave Gwyrch Castle after struggling in breakout camp, The Clink.
The music producer had been particularly vocal about his desire to leave following the Treacherous Traps trial, with the star remarking: ‘My time here is done!’
He told his fellow campmates: ‘I do think my time here is done. I had a feeling earlier and I was thinking about mum and obviously I love you guys. I don’t think after knowing what the Main Camp probably knew what they were putting me through knowing I did the challenge earlier – I don’t know if I could ever join that camp.’
Naughty Boy’s fellow campers were quick to reassure him but he continued his threats quit altogether and was joined by Phillips – even after the news that they were to join the Main Camp.
Meanwhile, Phillips said: ‘I feel exactly the same. For me, I was hoping I was going to come out here strong and proud, but it hasn’t started in the right way. I find it unacceptable. I know that I can’t go on and my mind isn’t going to change in the morning, one night isn’t going to change.’
Out in the cold: They will spend most of their day-to-day life in camp attempting to keep sheltered from the blistering cold temperatures in the outdoor courtyard, where they will be forced to brush their teeth in a grubby sink
Meanwhile, just like in the Australian series, the camp mates will have to make do with an outhouse
Medical treatment: Naughty Boy, real name Shahid Khan, is reportedly having counselling over his mother’s health, while Frankie is said to have developed a rash
Family man: Before entering the jungle, he detailed his mother’s health battles, as he said: ‘I think it is important for people like myself to create awareness about it’
The crisis comes after Madeley was forced to leave the show after being rushed to hospital with an unknown medical condition.
In a major blow to the show as one of their top signings, the broadcaster, who was paid an estimated £200,000 to star in this year’s competition, was taken ill hours after participating in a gruelling trial and complaining about the castle’s temperatures.
In a statement, Madeley confirmed he had to quit the series after breaking the show’s ‘Covid bubble’. His daughter Chloe, 34, revealed her father is ‘livid’ he can’t go back into the I’m A Celebrity camp.
He said in a statement: ‘Hello all! Richard here – firstly just to say that I’m absolutely FINE. I started to feel briefly unwell in the small hours of the morning and was taken to hospital as a precaution.
‘By leaving the camp, I had consequently broken the Covid ‘bubble’ and as such I’ve had to leave the castle and all the wonderful celebs that remain in the camp.
‘Obviously I’m gutted to be leaving so soon but the safety of all the campmates is the number one priority. I’m incredibly excited to watch their journey continue…even more so at the prospect of being somewhere a little warmer than Gwrych Castle…
Back on track: It comes after Arlene and Naughty Boy threatened to leave the competition earlier thsis week, with the music producer remarking: ‘My time here is done!’
‘Thank you to everyone who supported me on my brief but completely unforgettable adventure – I’ve made some great friends and honestly had the time of my life.
A spokesman for I’m A Celebrity added: ‘Our strict Covid protocols means Richard has sadly had to leave the show as he is no longer in the bubble the celebrities form when entering the castle. He has been a truly brilliant camp mate and we thank him for being part of this series.’
It was then revealed on Madeley that Richard is still ‘too ill’ to appear on Good Morning Britain on Monday.
Discussing his experience on Friday show, fellow GMB star Richard Arnold also spoke of the host’s whopping £200,000 fee, admitting he’s ‘not sure he’ll forfeit his fee yet’.
Ben Shephard admitted that show bosses are unsure whether the former This Morning anchor would be well enough to join them, stating: ‘Apparently we’ll be talking to him on Monday. Maybe we won’t. We’re hearing he’s too ill. Okay, hopefully we’ll talk to Richard on Monday.’
Sharing his opinion on Madeley having to leave the camp, Ben added: ‘It was short and sweet. It’s such a shame because Richard was the person who was trying to persuade the others not to leave and all of a sudden, he’s gone.
‘It sounds like it was a bit of a Covid-19 protocol issue, he broke the bubble to go to hospital and then couldn’t go back in.
‘I feel like someone’s made a bit of a mistake there. It’s such a shame though because he’s already been such an integral part of the show.’
‘Gutted’: In a statement Richard, who was believed to be at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Rhyl, reassured fans he’s ‘fine’ after his health scare
Eeek: Naughty Boy was ready to leave after losing a gruelling trial to Snoochie Shy
Having second thoughts: Arlene said: ‘I feel exactly the same. For me, I was hoping I was going to come out here strong and proud, but it hasn’t started in the right way’
I’m A Celebrity 2021 Line-up
CLAIM TO FAME: Broadcaster & ex BBC Breakfast Host
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: It’s nice to be able to show the fun side of me rather than the serious news presenter.
PHOBIAS: The idea of small, enclosed spaces with cockroaches and spiders is horrific!
ROLE IN THE CAMP: I will give out hugs and make the food more edible!
MISS MOST: My comfortable bed and lovely bath.
DREAM CAMPER: Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig – we wouldn’t have a problem getting stars if he were in the Castle.
CLAIM TO FAME: Olympic Gold Medallist
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: People always see me as very composed and serious on the diving board. This will be a nice opportunity to let people get to know me better.
PHOBIAS: I don’t like rats.
ROLE IN THE CAMP: I don’t mind helping out with cleaning.
MISS MOST: My bed!
DREAM CAMPER: Ed Sheeran and Will Smith
CLAIM TO FAME: Radio 1Xtra DJ
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: People know me as a very bubbly person but when I am outside of my comfort zone, I can be shy.
PHOBIAS: Bugs, heights and I’m claustrophobic.
ROLE IN THE CAMP: I love twerking on a Friday night and I’m going to teach everyone how to do it in the Castle!
MISS MOST: My cat and lip gloss.
DREAM CAMPER: Jim Carrey and Big Narstie.
CLAIM TO FAME: TV presenter and journalist
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: Nothing. I don’t worry about what people think.
PHOBIAS: Heights. I’m not sure how I will feel if I have to walk across a plank very high up!
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Cook and interviewer. I love finding out about people’s lives.
MISS MOST: Aside from Judy and my family, not knowing what is happening in the news. I am a news junkie.
DREAM CAMPER: The late Jimmy Greaves. I would have loved to chat about goal scoring in the Castle with him.
DAME ARLENE PHILLIPS, DBE
DAME ARLENE PHILLIPS, DBE
CLAIM TO FAME: Choreographer
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: People don’t really know the real me at home and I’d like to show people the motherly side, the side my family sees.
PHOBIAS: I am hoping I will overcome my fears to take part in the Trials!
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Mum and to organise some fun dance routines!
MISS MOST: My notepad and pencil –I am known for always having to write down ideas.
DREAM CAMPER: Giovanna Fletcher –she is such a lovely, warm person.
CLAIM TO FAME: Producer
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: People don’t know the real me and I want everyone to get to know me.
PHOBIAS: Confined spaces and heights but I want to give the Trials a go to bring back some stars.
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Castle chef and someone who everyone can confide in.
MISS MOST: My mum. I live with her and it’s going to be hard being away from her.
DREAM CAMPER: Sir Elton John would be amazing.
KADEENA COX, MBE
KADEENA COX, MBE
CLAIM TO FAME: Paralympic Gold Medallist
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: Great to be able to show people with all disabilities they can try different things in life.
PHOBIAS: Snakes, rats, spiders, heights – everything!
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Chef – so long as there isn’t too much pressure to make the food interesting!
MISS MOST: TikTok, my mum and dog.
DREAM CAMPER: Thierry Henry –I love watching Arsenal play.
CLAIM TO FAME: Football legend
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: None because I never hide behind a false image. What you see is what you get.
PHOBIAS: I am going to tell you when I am in the Castle!
ROLE IN THE CAMP: Chef. I enjoy cooking at home and I will be hoping to add some garlic and rosemary to the food.
MISS MOST: My partner and my little girl. It’s going to be tough.
CLAIM TO FAME: The Saturdays star
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: People think if you are in a pop group, you lead a glamorous lifestyle and won’t get stuck in, but I’m determined to muck in with all the chores.
PHOBIAS: Spiders, rats and confined spaces scare me.
ROLE IN THE CAMP: The serial hugger.
MISS MOST: Wayne and my boys.
DREAM CAMPER: Larry Lamb or a father figure type.
CLAIM TO FAME: Emmerdale actor
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION TO DISPEL IN THE CASTLE: None but I would like to show everyone what I am like in real life rather than my soap character, Aaron Dingle.
PHOBIAS: I am absolutely dreading the eating Trials! I fear I will gag!
ROLE IN THE CAMP: A shoulder to cry on and a person everyone can come to if they have a problem.
MISS MOST: My fiancée, Steph, and our new baby.
DREAM CAMPER: Fred Sirieix or any ex football player. I won’t be able to leave them alone asking lots of questions!