I’m A Celebrity launch episode sheds one million viewers

Anthony McPartlin (left) and Declan Donnelly arrive at Britain's Got Talent auditions at the London Palladium.
Anthony McPartlin (left) and Declan Donnelly arrive at Britain's Got Talent auditions at the London Palladium.

The launch of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! shed one million viewers compared to the first episode of 2018, as Ant McPartlin made his return to the show.

Ten million tuned in to Sunday’s episode, which saw McPartlin reunite with co-host Declan Donnelly and stars including Caitlyn Jenner, Ian Wright and Kate Garraway enter the jungle.

The launch programme, which was broadcast over one hour and 45 minutes, peaked at 10.9 million viewers, according to ITV.

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Last year’s launch show drew an average of 11 million viewers in the overnight ratings as Holly Willoughby joined Donnelly for hosting duties in Australia.

The This Morning host, who filled in while McPartlin stepped back from his TV commitments following a drink-driving arrest, proved to be a lucky charm for I’m A Celebrity, with the show enjoying its most-watched launch since 2013.

It was the fourth-largest audience for the launch in the programme’s history.

The ITV reality show’s biggest-ever overnight opener was in 2013, when 12 million people tuned in.

Sunday’s episode saw this year’s celebrity camp-mates – who also includes ex-Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, radio DJ Roman Kemp, former rugby player James Haskell and ex-EastEnde Jacqueline Jossa – competing in a swimming race which determined how they would be paired up.

The duos then had to fight it out to become power pairs, who would not only have better living conditions in the jungle but would be able to decide the other celebrities’ fates over the first few days.

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