The 10 stars taking part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! faced terrifying skydives, jungle critters and a knee-trembling 100 metre high challenge as the new series kicked off.
The programme – which includes football boss Harry Redknapp, DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles and ex-EastEnders star Rita Simons in the line-up – opened with Declan Donnelly jokingly introducing Holly Willoughby.
This Morning presenter Willoughby is standing in for Donnelly’s long-time co-host Ant McPartlin as he takes a continued break from his TV commitments.
Donnelly told viewers: “Good morning, good evening, and welcome to Australia where the more eagle-eyed viewers among you would have already noticed a big change to this year’s show, yes, one of the most gorgeous presenters on British television… has been joined by Holly Willoughby!”
Willoughby said: “This is so weird. Normally about this time I’m at home, pouring myself a big glass of white wine, to watch you, and I’m in the jungle.”
Donnelly quipped: “And she’s already drunk it. And we’re ready for action.”
Donnelly, known for his on-screen banter with McPartlin, also delivered an innuendo-packed joke about McPartlin’s absence.
Willoughby struggled to contain her laughter as Donnelly said: “It’s different, I’ll be honest – it’s a little bit different, because you know, I’ve never actually done it with a girl before.
“So, it’s a little bit different for me, I normally do it with a bloke every night, and people watching it seem to enjoy it.”
The first four contestants seen in the show were entertainer and actor John Barrowman, Simons, The Vamps star James McVey and Coronation Street actress Sair Khan, who were met by the presenters on a yacht.
They were split into two teams – Barrowman and Khan in the red team, and Simons and McVey in the yellow team – before being whisked off in a helicopter to face the first challenge of the series.
Upon their arrival in the jungle, Donnelly told them: “This is The Edge – two towers heading out the side of a cliff face, 100 metres above the jungle floor.
“This is the highest challenge we’ve ever had on I’m A Celebrity. Working in your teams, you have to climb out on to the towers and collect your flags.”
Simons and McVey won the task, collecting 10 flags in the fastest time, and they chose The Chase’s Anne Hegerty and former X Factor singer Fleur East to join their team.
Redknapp and Knowles were left to join the red team.
The stars then were tasked with racing up a sandy track in a jeep while collecting tokens from boxes filled with critters, including large spiders and crabs.
Redknapp and Hegerty screeched and screamed as they collected their tokens with spiders crawling out of the boxes, before Knowles and East put the tokens into separate boxes filled with biting green ants.
The red team won the challenge for completing it in the fastest time, and they picked Hollyoaks actor Malique Thompson-Dwyer instead of Inbetweeners actress Emily Atack to complete their team.
Atack and Thompson-Dwywer were terrified as they learned they would have to skydive from 12,000 feet to meet the rest of the campmates.
A final challenge was won by the red team after they successfully picked up their jungle gear from a pontoon in the middle of a lake faster than their rivals.
They won the right to head to the more luxurious of two camps, Croc Creek, while the yellow team had to settle for the more basic Snake Rock, which had its beds on the jungle floor.
The episode ended with Willoughby and McPartlin revealing that Atack had been voted for by the public to face the first Bushtucker trial of a series.
The celebrities will live in the jungle and undertake a number of stomach-churning tasks over the next three weeks as they compete to be crowned the King or Queen of the jungle.
I’m A Celebrity continues on ITV.