I'm A Celebrity bosses are said to have splashed out close to £500,000 on a twist for the new series that has been scrapped at the eleventh hour.

Even before the lineup for this year's show had been announced there was fierce speculation that producers were ready to spring a huge surprise on the contestants by bringing former campmates back into the fold.

Among those hotly tipped to make a shock return were former Queens of the Jungle, Vicky Pattison and Charlie Brooks, as well as ex-champion Joe Swash and 2013 contestant Joey Essex.

On Sunday, ChronicleLive reported that those four had been sent home after it was decided that they wouldn't be needed any more, despite them being in isolation for weeks in order to appear.

But The Sun claims that there were in fact a total of 10 former I'm A Celebrity stars lined up as part of the twist, with them all being paid £50,000.

Others said to have signed up for another go were Phil Tufnell and Carol Voderman, with the wage bill alleged to stand at £500,000 even though none of them are going in now.

The Sun reports that the returning contestants were told to "prepare for every eventuality" but have now been sent packing.

A source told the paper: "The celebs weren’t given much information, but the £50,000 price tag was obviously very attractive at a time when there isn’t much TV work due to Covid.

“They were treated like kings and queens in luxury accommodation, with their every need looked after.”