I’M A Celebrity bosses have broken the bank to transform a derelict castle into a TV set.
Millions have been shelled out to make the early 19th-century building safe, with the installation of electrics and hundreds of yards of pipes for running water.
ITV chiefs have also repaired the crumbling towers.
Gwrych Castle, at Abergele in North Wales, was hired for more than £1million for six weeks after Covid-19 ruled out the usual setting in the Australian jungle.
And in a first for the popular reality show, the stars will sleep under a roof to protect them from the harsh Welsh winter.
Builders have erected temporary coverings, using extra-strong plastic, over what will become the main camp for contestants.
There is also an unsheltered section of the haunted castle, where a campfire will be allowed.
A show source said: “This isn’t a holiday camp for the stars, but without a roof, everyone would have been utterly miserable for three weeks, which would not make great telly.
“It will still be hard work but slightly warmer than if it snows where they are sleeping.
“ITV want viewers to largely recognise the show.”
Additionally, a giant studio has been constructed from where hosts Ant and Dec will present the Covid- revamped show.
Security is in place as the castle backs on to a golf course and walking paths.
Stars booked for Series 20 include former Strictly Come Dancing pro AJ Pritchard, 25, TV host Vernon Kay, 46, and Coronation Street’s Beverley Callard, 63.
RAGS TO GWRYCHES
GWRYCH Castle’s financial fortunes have come full circle thanks to I’m A Celebrity.
Wealthy Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh had it built, with construction finishing in 1822.
Passed down through the family, the castle was requisitioned during World War Two, then sold.
Gwrych was used as a living museum and for medieval re- enactments. It closed to the public in 1987 and fell into disrepair.
Plans to turn it into a luxury hotel in 2006 collapsed.
In 2018, the site was sold to the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust with a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
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