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I'm A Celebrity Filming Doubts Dismissed After Announcement Of Welsh Lockdown

Ash Percival
·Entertainment Editor, HuffPost UK
·3-min read

I’m A Celebrity will be able to proceed with filming despite the Welsh lockdown, it has been confirmed.

The ITV reality show is relocating from the Australian outback to Gwrych Castle in Conwy this year due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

But after Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford announced that Wales will be placed under a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown, there had been questions as to what this would mean for filming of I’m A Celebrity.

I'm A Celebrity presenters Ant and Dec (Photo: James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)
I'm A Celebrity presenters Ant and Dec (Photo: James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)

The lockdown will begin at 6pm on Friday October 23 and last until November 9, with I’m A Celebrity expected to begin the following week.

However, in a statement on its Facebook page, Gwrych Castle has insisted the series is OK to proceed.

It said: “Following the announcement today from the First Minister, the overriding message is that filming CAN continue in Wales providing related activity cannot be undertaken from home, and there is full compliance with Welsh Law.

“Welsh Government guidance on Covid-19 should also be followed. This includes a legal obligation and guidance on taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace, compliance with relevant industry guidelines for physical production.

“We cannot wait to see I’m A Celebrity on our screens!”

An ITV spokesperson added: “I’m A Celebrity continues to adhere to all relevant guidelines as well as our own strict Covid protocols.”

The new rules that will come into effect for the whole of Wales from 6pm on Friday mean that people will only be allowed to leave their homes for exercise and to to pick up supplies. People have been told to work from home unless they are ‘critical workers’.

Pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will also be forced to close their doors for the two-week period.

Work is currently underway to transform the sprawling castle into the setting for the reality show, which is nestled on a tree-lined hillside overlooking the Irish Sea and is spread across 250 acres of gardens and grounds.

One of the show’s top bosses recently revealed how the series is being adapted to comply with coronavirus guidelines.

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Speaking at a Royal Television Society event, ITV Studios entertainment director Richard Cowles said: “Everyone’s got proximity monitors on them so basically they can’t come within two metres of each other without it buzzing and flashing and reminding them to step away.

“In terms of the technology, we’ve for example, with the castle itself, we’ve mapped that completely remotely so we can get all of our camera positions and everything done off-site without having to go there.

“We have basically created a whole virtual walk through of that castle, so all of the set can be built remotely back here and then transported up there.

He continued: “All the camera positions, the lens length - all of that sort of stuff can be done.

“We’re even going to have our edits in London to try to reduce the number of people travelling to Wales and to reduce the number of people that could potentially spread Covid.”

I’m A Celebrity presenters Ant and Dec recently revealed they had visited the castle to film a trailer for the series, posting a picture of them dressed in explorers outfits next to a sign directing them to Gwrych.

Among those rumoured to be taking part in this year’s I’m A Celebrity include former Strictly Come Dancing professional AJ Pritchard, ex-footballer John Barnes, TV presenter Vernon Kay and Coronation Street star Beverly Callard.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.