The profile of an I'm A Celebrity winner
From Carol Thatcher to Carl Fogarty, our infographic analyses every King or Queen of the Jungle by age, job, social media following and Bushtucker Trials.
After 19 series of trials, tantrums and turkey testicles in the Australian heat, series 20 of I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of here will take a different form.
This year’s contestants will swap jungle life for three weeks in a Welsh castle, a necessary move in order for the show to simply go ahead in 2020.
The principles are still going to be the same, though, right? Hungry celebrities of various ages and backgrounds, claustrophobic challenges, rice and bean rations, laughter, tears, loud snoring, irritating habits, and Ant and Dec ridiculing the whole affair behind the celebrities’ backs.
So analysing the last 19 series of I’m a Celebrity in order to try and predict the profile of the winner of series 20 – which former Eastenders actor Shane Richie is favourite to win in the latest online betting – is still valid.
From Carol Thatcher to Carl Fogarty to Vicky Pattison, a huge variety of celebrities have been crowned King or Queen of the Jungle, but there are still trends and patterns that define the list of winners.
Overall, 221 celebrities have traded their dignity for “the best experience of my life” and a fat pay cheque, and we analysed them all to establish the blueprint for success.
I’m a Celebrity is not only a young person’s game.
Experience, wisdom and patience are all key attributes to surviving three weeks with no food, repetitive company and shoddy sleeping arrangements.
Those virtues, perhaps, were what the public admired most of the three winners aged in their 50s – Tony Blackburn (series 1), Carol Thatcher (series 5) and Christopher Biggins (series 7) – and, of course, 71-year-old King of the Jungle Harry Redknapp in Series 18.
There is something just as regal about holding court around the fireplace as there is youthful exuberance, and as recently as five years ago there wouldn’t have been much to read into the age demographic of winners at all.
Yes, five of the first 14 winners were in their 20s, but four were in their 30s, two were in their 40s and three were in their 50s. A fairly random spread.
But that four of the five winners since then – Redknapp being the exception – have been women in their 20s seems like more than a coincidence.
Vicky Pattison led the way in series 15, establishing herself as the confident heartbeat of the camp early on and earning a popular victory.
Scarlett Mofatt, Georgia Toffolo (Toff) and Jacqueline Jossa followed the template, and it would be a surprise if a younger campmate who resonates most with the modern TV audience was not crowned king or queen this year, too.
In the 2020 line-up, Paralympian Hollie Arnold, Strictly’s AJ Pritchard and former Eastenders actress Jessica Plummer fit the bill.
There is surely a strong correlation between the modern trend of younger winners and what made them famous.
Pattison, Mofatt and Toff established themselves on reality television programmes – Geordie Shore, Gogglebox and Made In Chelsea – that showed them *cough* being themselves, so they were already familiar to viewers.
Perhaps more importantly, the three of them came across well, too, changing Yer Da’s perception of reality TV personalities and increasing their popularity.
While no contestant in the 2020 line-up comes from that specific type of programme, it would be no surprise if the winner was a reality TV star, with ‘reality’ celebrities now seemingly more popular than traditional celebrities like pop stars or TV presenters.
A musician won five of the first 13 series of I’m A Celebrity, but none of the last six, despite some relatively big names like Tony Hadley and Nadine Coyle entering.
TV hosts Noel Edmonds and Danny Baker, meanwhile, have been voted off first in recent series, despite being two of the biggest names – on the biggest money – to ever enter the jungle, which can’t have done much for their egos, or the ITV bosses’ blood pressure.
The reigning Queen of the Jungle, Jossa, was an actor on Eastenders between 2010 and 2018, on television for four nights per week between 2010-18.
Soap star is a vocation that has produced two other winners, Joe Swash in Series 8 and Charlie Brooks in Series 12. Plummer or Richie could become Albert Square’s fourth winner.
But recent trends still seem to favour somebody who has been themselves on TV, rather than somebody else, with professional dancer Pritchard fitting the bill again.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWING
It makes sense that celebrities’ social media presence doesn’t make much of a difference to the outcome of I’m a Celebrity.
The format of the programme – contestants spending up to two weeks in the jungle before anybody is voted off – means that how they come across on screen is more important than how they were perceived previously.
Indeed, a bigger social media following could be deemed a disadvantage.
In the last four series, the winner has always been one of the six most-followed celebrities on Twitter, but never one of the top two.
In Series 16, Baker had comfortably the biggest Twitter following and was voted off first, while the celebrity with the biggest follower count has since finished fifth, fifth and sixth.
Mo Farah and Vernon Kay, who both boast over 1m followers, face a disadvantage there.
The runner-up in three of the last four series, meanwhile, has had one of the five smallest Twitter follower counts, with last year’s second-place celebrity Andy Whyment possessing the third-smallest following.
The public, perhaps, like to vote for somebody they get to know throughout the competition, so don’t be suckered into backing the big names – a big personality is more important than mega fame.
Pritchard (132k followers) still seems to fit the criteria.
We are, however, always given a fair clue as to who is in contention to win I’m a Celebrity in the first week or so – or at least who isn’t.
Celebrities voted by the public to take on Bushtucker Trials tend not to be the most popular, with the nasty public ganging up on those they don’t like rather than voting for those they want to see more of.
It makes sense. You’re hardly likely to send a celebrity you like to be trapped inside a water tank unscrewing yellow stars for two minutes.
Across all 19 series of I’m a Celeb, the average finishing position of the celebrity who is voted by the public to do most Bushtucker Trials is 6.5. That generally means that they are targeted before being voted off early.
In the last 12 series, the celebrity (or at least ‘a’ celebrity, in the case of a tie) who has been voted to take on the most trials has ended up finishing outside the top five.
The celebrity voted to do most trials has gone on to win just twice – Kerry Katona in series 3 and Carol Thatcher in series 5. It is very unlikely to happen in 2020.
Contestants generally decide between themselves who will take on the trials in the latter stages and the heroic sacrifice made by the celebrities who put their hands up then clearly impresses voters.
Across all 19 series, the contestant that takes on the most celebrity-elected trials has finished in an average position of 2.8.
Evidently, volunteering to lie in a dark cave with 100 snakes slithering all over you, rather than having it forced on you, is a key difference.
Predicted winner: AJ Pritchard