Campmates on I’m A Celebrity… South Africa said the series could turn into “World War 3” following the arrival of memorable contestant Gillian McKeith as more than four million viewers tuned in to the programme for its first episode.
On Monday, audiences saw McKeith’s surprise entrance to the all-star show to the shock of musician Shaun Ryder, who frequently argued with with the TV personality when they both competed on the original I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2010.
The first episode of I’m A Celebrity… South Africa, which is pre-recorded, saw an average of 4.3 million TV viewers tune in to the ITV1 programme based on overnight ratings.
ITV said the programme also saw a peak audience of 4.9 million.
Last year’s launch of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! saw an average of audience of 9.1 million people tune in, according to overnight ratings provided by ITV – up by more than one million on 2021.
The show also secured a peak viewership of 10.3 million as the public expected former health secretary Matt Hancock, who entered the show after the premiere along with comedian Seann Walsh, to make an appearance.
On Tuesday’s episode, the new spin-off series will see McKeith, 63, and Happy Mondays singer Ryder, 60, chosen to take on the first ‘Chest Challenge’ of the series in a bid to win a treat for camp.
After the reveal, McKeith said: “I have no idea how Shaun and I are going to get along.”
Away from the two celebrities, US supermodel Janice Dickinson discusses the pairing, saying: “That could be World War 3!”
Meanwhile, former royal butler Paul Burrell asked Ryder about his relationship with McKeith, saying: “Is she as mad as a box of frogs?”
Ryder, who had previously called the TV presenter “a daft old bat” and said she would “try the patience of a saint” on his original run, replied: “Yeah… I nearly killed her.”
In the Bush Telegraph, Ryder also said: “I’ve been trying to be nice to her. I’m a different person, whatever, I don’t think Gillian was pleased to see me.”
The latest episode also sees Geordie presenting duo Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly announce the two campmates taking part in the first eating trial of the series.
Neither Dickinson, 68, nor Diversity dancer and radio DJ Jordan Banjo, 30, were keen on facing 10 dishes each worth a meal for camp.
Dickinson, who had her original run in 2007, also said: “No, I ain’t doing it, mate. I can’t do it.
“Why did you choose me when you knew I couldn’t do it the last time? I’m no longer in love with you, Ant. I’m seriously in shock.”
During a teaser clip for the trial, she is seen popping a fish eye in her mouth after Banjo tells her: “We thought we couldn’t before, we did.”
Elsewhere, Ryder’s snoring disturbs another campmate and former professional boxer Amir Khan discusses his wedding which saw 4,000 guests when he married Faryal Makhdoom.
The last series of the original format saw former England footballer Jill Scott become queen of the jungle.
The spin-off show sees no king or queen of the jungle crowned and instead contestants compete for the title of I’m A Celebrity… Legend as they face a series of trials.
I’m A Celebrity… South Africa continues on Tuesday on ITV1 and ITVX.