I’m A Celeb stars evacuated after tree crash & show may be off for days

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Contestants of I’m A Celeb were evacuated last night as the show kicked off for the first time after Storm Arwen sent a 100-foot tree hitting the wall of Gwerich Castle.

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When 80mph winds wreaked havoc, ITV owners were forced to remove the crew from the site after they initially slammed inside.

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I’m a Celebrity was forcibly taken off air for the first time in its history last night when Storm Arwen sent a 100ft tree crashing into the wall of Gwyrich Castlecredit: fpnw.co.uk©2021
Panicked celebs came inside as ITV owners were forced to evacuate the show's crew after 80mph winds wreaked havoc

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Panicked celebs came inside as ITV owners were forced to evacuate the show’s crew after 80mph winds wreaked havoccredit: tm/express syndication
Security teams and tree surgeons assess the damage where a 100-foot tree hit the palace wall

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Security teams and tree surgeons assess the damage where a 100-foot tree hit the palace wallcredit: fpnw.co.uk©2021

But the stars were dramatically ejected from the camp last night amid security fears at the palace.

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I’m A Celeb officials confirmed the move last night “while we’ve got the production base back”.

Sources said that the celebs will return to pre-show quarantine measures to ensure that they remain Covid-safe.

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An addition: “This step has been taken to speed up the show’s possible return to the screens. Once the site is completely secured and ready to film, they will be back.”

Gales at the site scooped up potentially deadly flying debris, uprooted trees and ripped through a 200-foot production tent — sending the structure crashing into the medical unit.

As the tree was lifted from the wind and smashed into the castle’s ramparts, a second one, which was also 100 feet tall, was blown into the wind, ending on a walkway near Cladwin’s kiosk.

With only one team of staff left on set and critical technical equipment damaged, production heads had no choice but to call off the show hosted by Ant and December for two nights.

Last night the pair posted a video message for fans on Twitter.

Ant joked that they “live by my cottage kitchen” in Wales.

December said: “It’s the best we can do in minutes because we can’t go camping, on site, so we don’t have a live show for you tonight or tomorrow night.”

Ant said: “How about we get a Saturday night takeaway and see I’m a celebrity Get me out of here tonight at my cottage? Shall we do that?”

Dec replied: “What a great idea, let’s do it.” Ironically, he joked on Friday’s show that he would not run a highlights program the next day – not realizing he would be proven wrong.

Security teams were seen scrambling to secure the site yesterday, with tree surgeons checking uprooted trees and the castle’s forest for signs of instability.

An ITV spokesperson said last night: “Due to technical difficulties caused by extreme weather conditions in the area, there will be no new episodes of I’m A Celebrity this weekend.”

He stated that the show would be temporarily replaced by a “best of” anthology voiced by Ant and December and would be the highlights of the previous series.

And insiders feared that the show’s return to the screens could be delayed further as the scale of the damage to the technical equipment is still unknown.

A source said: “It’s a crushing blow. No one had foreseen the disaster this storm would bring and it has completely blinded us.

I Read our I’m A Celeb 2021 Live Blog for the latest updates

“The worst damage has happened to one of our three production areas – the tent where we keep the scanners, the TV editing suite, the production office and our IT equipment. From the outside, it’s ruined.

“At the moment, we still don’t know what caused the damage to the equipment, because we can’t go inside until it’s declared safe.

“But we need time to fix everything and the break gives us some time. We are hoping against the expectation that this will be enough and we can come back on Monday.

“So to move forward, we also need a green light to bring back more employees on the sets. But at the moment, nothing is guaranteed.”

The production unit's marquee was picked up and blown up on the medical unit

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The production unit’s marquee was picked up and blown up on the medical unitcredit: fpnw.co.uk©2021
The panicked crew fled before the unit's marquee crashed.

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The panicked crew fled before the unit’s marquee crashed.credit: fpnw.co.uk©2021
Damage is evident from 80mph winds

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Damage is evident from 80mph windsCredits: © Andrew Price / See Finder Pie

Yesterday reported how the owners were forced to cancel a live recording of Friday night’s show, replacing it with pre-recorded footage. The chiefs had realized that the storm would disrupt the live link of the show. But as the storm intensified throughout the night, fears grew about the safety of the show team. ,

A backstage insider said: “It was hell for the staff outside the main camp and they lost power for a while. Last year they were out of season, so it was a new test for everyone. .

Yesterday sources told how celebrity campmates weathered the worst of the storm, as their part of the palace is covered by the rock it’s built into. But he said the stars were nonetheless left shaken by the raging weather conditions.

TV presenter Richard Madley, 65, survived the catastrophe on Thursday after leaving the show after a “fun twist” but “fine”.

A source said: “The show’s construction sites are separate from the palace and have little protection from the elements, so they were sensitive to it.

“Thankfully, the way the castle is built into the landscape means it is surrounded by rock faces on both sides. Otherwise, we might have had to take out celebrities as well.

“Similarly, they have had a terrible, terrifying night, echoing around the castle with screams, cold air and terrible crashes and bangs.

“Many of them were quite shaken by all this. Staff were checking to make sure they were okay.”

Yesterday, the castle location site, which is usually packed with crew members and visitors, was reduced to a near ghost town.

Some workers still remained at the site at two undamaged production units, which are both concrete structures and have been declared safe. And a source revealed how the mass operations will begin today to bring the filming site back to full-scale operations. He added: “The safety of everyone working on the show is our priority, so all possible precautions are being taken before bringing the team back.”

This is the first time the hit show has had to close in 21 series since it began in 2002.

In 2015, I’m A Celebrity’s Jungle Stars were evacuated from camp after a lightning storm struck Australia’s Sunshine Coast.

And once again in 2019, the camp was evacuated during the storm.

Panicked celebs left inside asylum as crew members were evicted from the palace

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Panicked celebs left inside asylum as crew members were evicted from the palace
Richard Madley walks out before the castle is stormed

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Richard Madley walks out before the castle is stormedcredits: ITV
Ant and Dec revealed on Twitter that the live show had been cancelled, while the storm continued at the castle's camp.

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Ant and Dec revealed on Twitter that the live show had been cancelled, while the storm continued at the castle’s camp.

I Read our I’m A Celeb 2021 Live Blog for the latest updates

I’m a celeb’s Frankie Bridges and Arlene Phillips tears up at Richard Madley exit

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