It's news that will be about as popular with ITV bosses as a bucketful of creepy crawlies.
Their flagship show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! has lost four million viewers since the new series began a fortnight ago.
The first episode, set in Gwrych Castle in North Wales rather than in the Australian jungle due to Covid-19, attracted an audience of 12 million for the 18-year-old series. But only 8.1 million tuned in on Friday for 2020’s first eviction. Contestants have been accused of being ‘too kind’.
Their flagship show I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! (pictured) has lost four million viewers since the new series began a fortnight ago
Tweeting on Friday, as Paralympian Hollie Arnold became the first to leave, Mail on Sunday columnist Piers Morgan said: ‘I’m all for the entire #imacelebrity group sobbing away as they tell each how special they all are… as a special SPECIAL group… but could someone please start being a complete t*** to shake things up a bit?’
But sources say ITV intended the show to be ‘softer’ and ‘nicer’ this year because viewers stressed by lockdown would not want to see feuds.
And ITV denied a slump in audience numbers, pointing out that compared with the same episode last year, an extra 1.2 million had tuned in.
The first episode, set in Gwrych Castle in North Wales rather than in the Australian jungle due to Covid-19, attracted an audience of 12 million (pictured: Hollie Arnold)
A spokesman added: ‘It’s clear that this year’s I’m A Celebrity is hugely popular with audiences.’
Speaking after her eviction, Ms Arnold confirmed they had been happy campers. ‘I haven’t really felt or seen any tension… Everyone respected and had time for each other and had fun,’ she said.