Im A Celeb hit by huge blow as ITV show viewing figures plummet by 3 million

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! lost a whopping three million viewers compared to last year's launch episode after the hit ITV series kicked off in Wales on Sunday.

More than eight million viewers tuned into the return of the gory survival show, down substantially from 2020 figures of 11 million.

Despite the dramatic fall in numbers, it remained ITV’s most-watched programme of the weekend peaking at 9 million, along with the concert exclusive, An Audience With Adele.

That compares to an average of 10.9 million for the 2020 launch, peaking at 12 million, in a year when the pandemic and lockdown boosted viewing figures across the board.

I’m A Celebrity 2021 returned to our screens on Sunday, welcoming a fresh batch of A-listers to Gwrych Castle, the show’s new location after Covid restrictions prevented the show from being filmed in Australia.

The first instalment of the long-awaited show saw celebrities, Richard Madeley, Danny Miller, David Ginola, Naughty Boy, and Dame Arlene Phillips form the red team and battle it out in a head-to-head challenge.

They eventually faced-off with the yellow team and lost – landing them in the dreaded clink – a new sleeping area that deprives the stars of mattresses and forces them to survive on basic rations.

Former Saturdays star Frankie Bridge was the first to win a trial as she competed against TV presenter Richard Madeley.

The task included a three-level structure dubbed the Turrets Of Terror.

Frankie, 32, has already been installed as the bookie’s favourite to win the show with Emmerdale star Danny Miller second favourite.

DJ and music producer Naughty Boy lived up to his name after he was caught smuggling spices into the camp hidden in his sock.

The 36-year-old music producer – whose real name is Shahid Khan – promptly had his contraband seasoning confiscated by show bosses.

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Naughty Boy revealed to the Bush Telegraph camera: "Before I left, I grinded some spices that could make rice and beans actually taste a bit nice so what I did, I put it in my sock. This is my Naught Masala. There's cumin seeds, cloves, turmeric, coriander seeds.

"If you ask my Mum – eating bland food is a crime!"

Campmate Richard Madely commented on spice gate, saying: "Well Naughty Boy had really lived up to his name. He smuggled in something for camp. I think that's a real mark of character actually.

"And we've got to bend the rules a bit here and I can promise you, having spoken to everybody here, this is not going to be the last time that the rules are bent."

I'm a Celebrity airs nightly on ITV and ITV Hub at 9pm

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