Entertainment

Declan Donnelly secures Isla, two, onto the back of his bike for father-daughter ride


The news that I’m A Celebrity bosses have been forced to abort plans to film the next series in Australia amid the country’s lockdown strife was most likely on presenter Declan Donnelly‘s mind on Sunday.

And so he took some time to clear his head on a father-daughter bike ride, strapping little girl Isla, two, onto the back of his bicycle.

Isla wore a pink coat and a crash helmet as she sat behind TV star dad Dec, 45.

Taking the air: Declan Donnelly secured daughter Isla, two, onto the back of his bike in a pink jacket and helmet for a ride on Sunday, amid the news that I’m A Celeb is to relocate to Wales for a second year running

He wore all-black – helmet, shades, face mask, the lot. Dec’s only burst of colour came in the form of his speckled trainers.

Dec and Isla cycled around the streets of London, with Ali Astall, Dec’s wife and Isla’s mum, following suit.

Insiders revealed to MailOnline on Monday that Dec’s long-running ITV endurance show has been thrown into chaos following the last minute change of plans, although there is no fear behind the scenes of the show’s success after the roaring triumph of last year’s Welsh series.

The news were confirmed by ITV a few hours later, with Katie Rawcliffe, ITV Head of Entertainment Commissioning, saying: ‘We can confirm today that we’ll be returning to Wales for the 2021 series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

News: I'm A Celebrity bosses aborting plans to film the next series in Australia amid the country's lockdown strife was most likely on presenter Dec's mind on Sunday

News: I’m A Celebrity bosses aborting plans to film the next series in Australia amid the country’s lockdown strife was most likely on presenter Dec’s mind on Sunday

Following suit: Ali Astall, Dec's wife, was seen following the pair in matching black clothing

Following suit: Ali Astall, Dec’s wife, was seen following the pair in matching black clothing

‘We’ve always said we have contingencies in place for the series if the covid situation continued to bring uncertainty, and after a highly successful run at the castle last year we’re pleased that we can return there. I have no doubt the production team will produce another hugely entertaining series.’

Richard Cowles, Director of Unscripted at Lifted Entertainment said: ‘With the continued uncertainty around covid and international travel we have taken the decision not to return to our home in Australia for the 2021 series.

‘We’re excited to return to Gwrych Castle. The last series was a huge success and we were made to feel so welcome by everyone locally and can’t wait to see everyone again.’

Quality time: Isla wore a pink coat and a crash helmet as she sat behind TV star dad Dec, 45

Quality time: Isla wore a pink coat and a crash helmet as she sat behind TV star dad Dec, 45

On this year’s show, sources said: ‘It doesn’t mean the series will be below par as the last series was the second most popular in show series. Bosses are working hard to get things ready for the launch following Australia’s change in status.’ 

Last year’s series – won by Giovanna Fletcher in the backdrop of the country’s Gwrych Castle – was a roaring success despite its move from the jungle amid restrictions in place from the coronavirus pandemic.   

Moved: I'm A Celebrity bosses have been forced to abort plans to film the next series in Australia following the country's lockdown hell (hosts Ant and Dec pictured at Gwrych Castle during last year's show)

Moved: I’m A Celebrity bosses have been forced to abort plans to film the next series in Australia following the country’s lockdown hell (hosts Ant and Dec pictured at Gwrych Castle during last year’s show) 

The last series was the second most popular series since IAC started. The launch episode got 14.3 million viewers consolidated.

Australia has tightened the screw on its strict Covid lockdowns – ordering millions in Queensland to stay at home until at least the end of the week as the country struggles to control outbreaks of the highly-infectious Delta variant.

The change in status has led to the overhaul in bosses’ plans.  

Back in May it was revealed that bosses needed to decide within the two weeks whether the show returns to Australia or remains in Wales for a second year.

Back then: Last year's series - won by Giovanna Fletcher (pictured) in the backdrop of the country's Gwrych Castle - was a roaring success despite its move from the jungle amid restrictions in place from the coronavirus pandemic

Back then: Last year’s series – won by Giovanna Fletcher (pictured) in the backdrop of the country’s Gwrych Castle – was a roaring success despite its move from the jungle amid restrictions in place from the coronavirus pandemic

The ITV series filmed in Gwrych Castle last year after the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for the show to travel safely to Australia.

A source told MailOnline: ‘ITV need to decide in the next two weeks whether they go to Australia or Wales this year. It’s decision time!

‘However if they choose Australia there is every chance it could be cancelled later down the line because of Covid If they choose Wales, it is guaranteed it will happen.’

The source added that if the show does remain in Wales for another series, ITV will have to fork out more cash than they would for Australia.

They added: ‘It costs MORE to film in Wales than fly to Australia as it’s a four month set build. That’s why they have to make a decision now. Time is running out. And there is no show without them. So it’s all pointing to being Wales. Oz is far too risky.’

An ITV spokesperson has since confirmed to MailOnline that bosses have ‘plans in place’ for both locations.

They said: ‘No decisions have been made regarding the location for the new series and we have contingencies and plans in place for all possible options.’

Decision: The ITV series filmed in Gwrych Castle last year after the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for the show to travel safely to Australia

Decision: The ITV series filmed in Gwrych Castle last year after the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for the show to travel safely to Australia

It comes after reports the show’s location remained up in the air after Australia warned international borders will remain closed indefinitely.

Earlier this week, Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said reopening the borders too soon would expose the country to another and more ruthless outbreak of Covid – with Finance Minister Simon Birmingham pushing the date to 2022.

Due to current regulations, travel to Australia is only permitted if travellers are ‘exempt’ or have been ‘granted an individual exemption’.

According to The Mirror, ‘talks are thought to be ongoing at ITV’ while Gwrych Castle is said to ‘have an agreement’ to host I’m A Celebrity again this year.

Hosts Dec and Ant McPartlin recently said that plans to return to Australia for I’m A Celebrity this year are ‘still up in the air’.

Cost: The source added that if the show does remain in Wales for another series, ITV will have to fork out more cash than they would for Australia

Cost: The source added that if the show does remain in Wales for another series, ITV will have to fork out more cash than they would for Australia

The Prime Minister said Australians had come to accept local lockdowns as ‘part of living with Covid-19’ and that residents did not have ‘an appetite’ for change.

He warned that reopening the borders too soon would expose the country to another and more ruthless outbreak of Covid-19, like the ones experienced in the UK, India and Europe.

‘We sit here as an island that’s living like few countries in the world are at the moment,’ he told The Sunday Telegraph.

‘We have to be careful not to exchange that way of life for what everyone else has.’

Australians have been banned from leaving the country since March 2020 without special exemptions, and only citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to enter under some of the strictest Covid-19 border rules in the world.



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