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Is animal cruelty not enough to stop the I’m A Celeb bandwagon?

The popular ITV show I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! is back for their 2014 series with its first episode broadcasting Sunday 16th November. Loyal fans of the show always anticipate the line up and this year the line up is an extremely mixed bag.

This year’s litany of stars includes the likes of beloved TV newsreader Michael Buerk, The Only Way Is Essex star Gemma Collins, TV presenter and former model Melanie Sykes and former Playboy playmate Kendra Wilkinson. Keen fans will also be pleased that Ant and Dec are back once again to front the programme. Other celebrities on the show include Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson, rapper Tinchy Stryder, TV personality Mel Sykes, former footballer Jimmy Bullard and Coronation Street soap star Craig Charles.

Many avid fans are already forecasting how the show will pan out, with bookies already predicting whether there will be a King or Queen of the jungle crowned. Gemma Collins, 33, has already been deemed most likely to be facing the gruesome trials and her extremely dramatic arrival into the jungle will only spur on the public. However, in a recent interview it seems clear she has got other ideas about how her time in the jungle will be.

She told The Mirror she would like to find love in the jungle; ‘I would certainly consider a holiday romance. Why not? I’m a single girl’ adding ‘I’m definitely a Jungle Jane looking for a Tarzan.’ The show has faced some controversy after TV presenter, Chris Packham, accused the show of abusing animals. He wrote: ‘The problem is that animals such as snakes, spiders, crocodiles, rats and many invertebrates are already misunderstood and thus unfortunately vilified, despite the incredibly important roles they play in the world’s ecosystems and our lives’.

He then went on to critique the show for its ignorance towards the exotic animals in which they use on the show; ‘By orchestrating a fear of them among your contestants, I’m afraid you’re reinforcing and exaggerating a terrible ignorance and intolerance of these remarkable animals.’ Packham was also dismissive of the programme’s use of consultants to advise on animal welfare, saying: ‘I can guarantee that some animals are harmed during production, because they are fragile or easily stressed. Or simply killed, as they are in your bushtucker trials.’

He went on to slate the show as a whole deeming it as past its sell by date, ‘The show has been running for years now. Surely it’s time for it to mature, for you to accept that, as pillars of the British broadcasting community, you should put an end to this inhumane, embarrassing and destructive aspect of an otherwise great show.’ This was written in the Radio Times making some fear for the ratings of the show.

However the show seems unaffected by these claims, and has already sparked huge interest from social media. In particular, Twitter was flooded with tweets about the show with Gemma Collins arrival quickly trending. There is also speculation as to how much each of the so-called celebrities are being paid for their time in the jungle. Newsreader, Michael Buerk, is said to be receiving the heftiest pay cheque from the show at £150,000. Previously, cheques as large as £250,000 have said to have been paid out to celebs partaking on the show.

Jimmy Bullard, an ex footballer is rumoured to be getting paid £100,000 for his time on the show, despite saying ‘I tell you what I would of come in the jungle for nothing. I would have paid them a little bit of money to get me in there.’ At the other end of the scale and the likes of Playboy Kendra Wilkinson and Irish model Nadia Forde are each said to be getting between £20,000 to £30,000 for their appearances. So, despite concerns for the Bushtucker beasties, I’m A Celeb looks to be going strong for another year. However, will that stay the same, or will the plight of the crocodile win in the end?

Victoria Black

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