With the eighth instalment of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here just weeks away, it’s now a guessing game as to who is going to enter the jungle for the 20-night sleepover.
What we do know is the chemistry between celebrity vet Dr Chris Brown and comedian Julia Morris is back for another season of the Ten network hit on January 3, with snake pits, creepy-crawly eating challenges and plenty of late-night dialogue between instant buddies on the rundown.
Amid COVID restrictions last year, the show, with a mixed bag of 15 contestants on the guest list, was filmed in the northern NSW town of Murwillumbah for the first time.
“Best season ever of the show, no need to go to South Africa,” wrote one die-hard fan.
And now, against the backdrop of a similar location, and to the tune of a Monty Python classic with kangaroos and cockatoo props on the sidelines, the show’s two-minute, highly choreographed promo reveals some sneaky little hints as to who is going into the Aussie jungle.
TV Blackbox’s Steve Molk tells The New Daily that given the show is their second season filmed in Australia, “they know what limits they can push”.
Won last year by serial reality TV contestant Abby Chatfield (The Bachelor Australia, Bachelor in Paradise), who was up against Grant Denyer in the Australian jungle for the first time, the show will kickstart what is expected to be a massive 2022 reality television season.
And the twist? There’s no competition.
Molk says the show will have “eyeballs” given it’s in a non-ratings period: “A smart start to the year to offer it when the major only other options are sport or streaming”.
Always look on the bright side of life
Speculation on “who’s who” in the jungle is always a dangerous game to play, but we’re being optimistic – for life is quite absurd (*apologies Eric Idle) – and going to do it anyway.
Molk says “the clues they give are usually incredibly thin and difficult, especially this early”.
So far, we know there’s a country singer, a three-time Olympic gold medal swimmer, an AFL legend, a beauty queen, a famous chef and a comedian, via the regular Ten updates.
With still no official drip feed on names, never fear, social media hounds are always good at speculation.
The swimmer? Who could it be now? Shane Gould, Stephanie Rice, Dawn Fraser or Lisa Curry?
“Suzie Oneil [sic]. They slipped up on the radio this morning,” wrote one Facebook user on Tuesday morning.
The famous chef? “Just wait till she sees our mystery box,” says the Ten promo. Some say it’s Masterchef darling Poh Ling Yeow but she’s on Nine’s Snackmasters … so maybe Donna Hay or Noosa-based Marion Grasby (Masterchef, Celebrity Apprentice).
Another teaser shows us a Golden Guitar (with of course a snake slithering through its strings) for the country singer.
“I’m thinking Adam Brand because he’s no stranger to reality television (Dancing With The Stars and The Masked Singer),” wrote one. Or Becky Cole? Or Keith Urban?
In September, sources reportedly told The Daily Mail Australia that former AFL player and Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was spotted taking part in a publicity photo shoot and “was seen wearing khaki clothes and an Akubra hat as he was escorted by an I’m a Celebrity crew member”.
Radio host and comedian Dave Hughes’ (Ten’s Masked Singer) name was bandied around for last year’s show but said he didn’t want to be away from his family for a month. Could he disguise being away from the microphone for just a few days in September?
The beauty queen could be Erin Holland (Miss World Australia in 2013), or Jesinta Franklin (wife of Buddy), who may want some jungle time after having their second child earlier this year.
No matter who turns up to the snake pit, Molk says one thing is for certain: “Given IAC has little-to-no competition it’s always watchable, especially for Chris and Julia, and the random convos in camp as the celebs settle in.
“[And] give me the insight and unguarded chat every time.
“Chris and Julia are a perfect pairing and I love their willingness to make fun of themselves and their position.”
I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! premieres Monday January 3, 2022 on Ten and Ten Play.