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jungle bug We've been bitten by the; Tears, tantrums and saucy shower scenes draw in the viewers, but a lot of work goes into making I'm A Celebrity... SUSAN GRIFFIN takes a peak behind the undergrowth.

WHEN it first aired, way back in 2002, for all ITV bosses knew, I'm A Celebrity... GET Me Out Of Here! could easily have flopped. But here we are, 12 years on, tuning into the show in our millions.

We can't get enough of watching famous faces, and a few relative unknowns, forage around the jungle and chomp down on an array of exotic delights - like juicy witchetty grubs - in a bid to win viewers' votes. The set-up might seem simple but don't be fooled; hundreds of people and months of hard work are required to pull it off.

Here are a few facts and stats from the camp Down Under...

? When the show launched, executive producer and co-creator Richard Cowles was faced with a string of irate celebs in the Bushtucker Telegraph, furious about having to change on camera. Cowles wasn't about to build a dressing room, but instead got someone from the Art Department to create the 'modesty smock' - a sheet with a hole to put your head through, and they've been used ever since. The celebs don't seem so modest when it comes to the requisite waterfall posing, however. This year's Kendra Wilkinson, Nadia Forde and even ex-footballer Jimmy Bullard have already been flashing the flesh.

lockdown... and confiscated... when camp, thing the ? The first series was filmed in a place called Mission Beach, near Cairns in Queensland. When the site was being excavated, bones were discovered and the crew thought they'd come across an Aboriginal graveyard. Disturbing a traditional burial ground isn't allowed, so it was relief all round when it turned out the bones had actually belonged to ostriches.

Back in those early days, there wasn't a shower and deodorant was banned. But the smell was so bad, the camera crew complained and from series two, the celebs were a little more fragrant.

? Following the success of series one, the show moved location to Dungay Creek, about 20 minutes from Queensland's Gold Coast, and it's been filmed there ever since. Michael Burke, Melanie Sykes and Tinchy Stryder can all look forward to being hosted at the lavish Palazzo Versace hotel when they're booted off, although most of the crew stay in the nearby holiday resort of Coolangatta.

? Ahead of series one, Mark Busk-Cowley, one of the show's writers and co-creator, was tasked with ordering in bugs for the trials. Fast-forward to 2014, and there's now a dedicated bug-breeding factory on site. For the last series, 250,000 cockroaches, 153,000 crickets, 2.5million meal worms, 400 spiders, 500 rats and 30 snakes were bred.

| There's a limited crew on site throughout the year, but things really kick off four months before the first live episode, and by the time the show's in full-swing, there's a crew of more than 500 people working around the clock - and boy, can they eat! During production last year, they scoffed a total of around 8,500 meals, chomping through 15kg of bacon and 540 eggs on a daily basis.

| Medic Bob works five days a week for three months, looking after the crew as they put the show together, and then from just before the celebs arrive, he will work every day for seven weeks. Arriving on set at about 6am, he and his nurse will go over the day's trials and stay on set while they're recorded. The medical staff also look after the crew, treating an average of 30 cases a day in the clinic. This can be anything from tick bites and cuts to ongoing health issues. He also works on the German version show, Ich Bin Ein Star - Holt Mich Hier Raus!

| Celebrities will be chaperoned from the UK and put up in various hotels, so they don't meet each other before the programme starts. When they arrive in Australia, they're on lockdown, which means their phones and laptops are confiscated. There will be meetings with the health and safety and wardrobe teams (according to casting executive David Harvey, most celebs will lie about their size...). Then when they exit the camp, the first thing they do is see the show's psychiatrist and check in with Medic Bob.

| Presenters Ant and Dec usually arrive at the site at 2.30am to do any voice-overs required and sit down with the show's executives, writers and director to talk through the script. At around 4am, they and the writers will watch all the VTs before make-up and wardrobe at 5.30am. They then travel to the studio and rehearse the show before it goes live at 7am. After the programme's aired, they'll record the bushtucker trial and then the rest of the day is their own.

| The team that works on the bushtucker trials can arrive in Australia as early as July to start setting them up. When the show's running, they'll arrive on site at about 4am, keeping a close eye on voting so they know as early as possible which celebrity's going to be nominated. They also rehearse every trial several times before the celeb does it. Apparently, the stench at the trials clearing is overwhelming, due to all the bug containers littered around.

| The dunny - that innocuous wooden structure which houses a seat with a hole in it and a bucket underneath - has caused all sorts of trouble, not only for the celebs but for the crew, too. A while back, there was a debate between the art department and site management unit over who would be responsible for disposing of the waste.

If the dunny was declared an onscreen item, the problem would belong to the art department, but if it was an off-screen item, it would be unit's responsibility. Unit drew the short (stinky) straw...
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 29, 2014
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