I'm A Celebrity sparks 607 Ofcom complaints in just one week

I’m A Celebrity sparks 607 Ofcom complaints in just one week over ‘animal trials and fix claims’

  • A fraction of fans have written to the communications regulator to complain since the launch earlier this month
  • According to Ofcom’s weekly report , the second episode of this year’s edition rubbed viewers the wrong way the most, garnering 200 complaints 
  • During the show, Jordan North and Shane Richie participated in the first Bushtucker Trial, where they were confined in a coffin with snakes
  • I’m A Celebrity has been criticised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who have ‘serious concerns’ about the treatment of animals
  • Viewers have also suggested the show was ‘fixed’ to give DJ Jordan a break from trials after some people were unable to vote on the app last week
  • Police are even investigating the show after Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams complained about the release of non-native wildlife into the Welsh countryside 
  •  The survival programme has seen ten celebrities rough it out in the hit’s new location of North Wales’ Gwyrch Castle

I’m A Celebrity has prompted 607 Ofcom complaints just one week after the show started. 

As more than 14.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the 20th edition of the competition, a fraction of fans have written to the communications regulator after criticising the treatment of animals and suggesting the series is fixed.

The survival programme has seen ten celebrities, including the likes of presenter Vernon Kay and sprinter Mo Farah, rough it out in the hit’s new location of North Wales’ Gwyrch Castle. 

Backlash: I’m A Celebrity has prompted 607 Ofcom complaints just one week after the show started in North Wales’ Gwyrch Castle (Shane Richie pictured)

According to Ofcom’s weekly report, the second episode of this year’s edition rubbed viewers the wrong way the most, garnering 200 complaints.

During the show, presenter Jordan North, 30, and actor Shane Richie, 56, participated in the first Bushtucker Trial, The Viper Vault, where the duo were confined in a coffin with snakes. 

Later in the week, several campers took part in the Gates To Hell trial which saw them showered with cockroaches, mealworms and crickets. 

I’m A Celebrity has also been criticised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

Criticism: Fans have written to the communications regulator to complain about the treatment of animals and suggested the series is fixed (Beverley Callard and Giovanna Fletcher pictured)

Concerned: The second episode of this year’s edition, which saw Jordan North take on The Viper Vault with 30 snakes, garnered 200 complaints

The RSPCA released a statement, saying: ‘Since I’m a Celebrity was first aired, animals have been dropped, thrown, handled roughly, crushed, chased, overcrowded, scared by contestants and prevented from escaping from stressful experiences. 

‘There have also been incidents where animals have been killed for no other purpose than entertainment.

‘The show’s messaging and the potential to prompt people to try and copy the “Bushtucker Trials” at home for entertainment is also worrying and we feel that deliberately portraying certain species as nasty or frightening or as objects that can be used purely for entertainment rather than sentient, living creatures sends out totally the wrong message.’

The charity added that show bosses had been in touch with them prior to the series airing but they were disappointed to learn they would still be using animals.

They said: ‘Throughout the years, we’ve been raising our concerns with the production company about how animals were being treated on the Australia-based programme, but we never received a response from the show.

Not impressed: I’m A Celebrity has also been criticised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Vernon Kay pictured)

‘We were very pleased when the show’s production company got in touch with us in the planning stages of this year’s series, set here in the UK. 

‘We spoke to them about changing the way they use animals along with the change of continent – perhaps introducing welfare-friendly alternatives to animal use in the trials. 

‘However, we were really disappointed to be told that they would continue to be using animals in this way during this series. We know that many of you, the animal loving public, agree with us and really dislike the use of animals in this way.’

The RSPCA said they would continue to put pressure on ITV and the show’s producers to ‘rethink’ the way animals are used on the programme.

Criticism: The RSPCA has said they have ‘serious concerns’ about the use of live animals in the Bushtucker Trials as the series takes place in the UK this year for the first time (Bev pictured)

They explained: ‘We’ll be watching the programme and will flag up any concerns we have to the producers.

‘Unfortunately, a number of the animals used in the challenges, such as cockroaches and crickets, are invertebrates and aren’t covered by the Animal Welfare Act or the Performing Animals Act, which apply in Wales. 

‘This means they have little protection under the law. However, if we’re alerted to concerns about other animals which are covered by these laws being caused suffering or distress during this programme, we’ll look into this, and, where appropriate, investigate. Where we can act, we will.’  

The RSPCA encouraged viewers who take issue with the way animals are used on the show to contact Ofcom or ITV directly. 

Not working! Viewers have also suggested the show was ‘fixed’ to give Jordan a break from trials after some people were unable to vote on the app

A spokesperson for the programme told the Daily Star: ‘I’m A Celebrity complies with animal welfare law concerning the use of animals and we are proud of our exemplary production practices.’

Police are even investigating the show after Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams complained about the release of non-native wildlife into the Welsh countryside.

Cockroaches, maggots, spiders and worms could wreck the habitat which surrounds the venue. 

The ITV hit is normally filmed in Australia where insects, reptiles and rodents are used to terrify the celebrity contestants in various challenges. 

The Guardian revealed that rural crime officers are probing whether any non-native animals might have escaped during filming following a complaint from the TV presenter and naturalist Mr Williams.

Viewers have also suggested the show was ‘fixed’ to give Jordan a break from trials after some people were unable to vote on the app. 

Furious fans took to social media in their droves to complain that they were unable to vote via the I’m A Celeb app for five of the ten minutes allocated.

A spokesperson for I’m A Celebrity declined to comment.  

 

 

Suspicious? Furious fans took to social media in their droves to complain that they were unable to vote via the I’m A Celeb app for five of the ten minutes allocated

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