I’m A Celebrity standbys that didn’t get on – and staggering amount they get paid

Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will start in8CancelPlay now

Get all the jungle gossip with our regular email newsletter

Yes please!When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. OurPrivacy Noticeexplains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid Email

Anything and everything can go wrong on I'm A Celebrity, so there always needs to be a back-up plan.

A number of famous faces have dramatically walked out of the jungle because they can't hack it, while others have been booted out early for breaking the rules.

Gemma Collins sensationally quit after just three days, while Spencer Matthews was told to leave two days into his jungle experience, later admitting he had a steroid addiction.

When a celeb departs so early into the series it can provide a major headache for show bosses.

Luckily, they make sure there is a standby ready in case of such a situation – and they get paid a staggering amount of money even if they don't make it into the jungle.

Used predominantly in the early series of the show, the standbys would be flown on a first-class flight out to Australia.

Anthony and Declan have seen the standbys in the hotel
(Image: ITV)

Read More
Related Articles


  • I'm A Celeb gossip – how to get all the news from the jungle straight to your phone

Read More
Related Articles


  • I'm A Celebrity 2020 survey: Who's your favourite ever winner and do you prefer Ant or Dec?

The replacement celebrities would stay in a hotel near the jungle camp in case someone decided to quit or was ejected before the voting stage.

They needed to be able to be drafted in at short notice to fill the gap left in the camp.

You would assume that the standbys would be relatively minor celebs, but bosses still managed to reel in some very famous faces.

One of the original back-up campmates was legendary TV favourite Keith Chegwin.

Cheggers, who sadly passed away in 2017 at the age of 60after struggling with lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, was drafted in as a standby contestant during the very first series.

Keith Chegwin was a standby campmate on the very first series
(Image: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, the much-loved presenter never made it into camp, which is a shame as he would have been a hilarious addition.

"We had stand-bys in those days, Keith Chegwin, just in case anybody pulled out," Ant explained during special recap show I'm A Celebrity…Jungle Story.

Dec added: "And he never got on."

However, that didn't stop Ant and Dec bumping into the Cheggers Plays Pop star during their time in Oz.

The Geordie duo would catch Keith walking round the hotel trying to film the cast's journey with his film camera in one hand.

He never got on, he just hung around the hotel with his camcorder filming the cast, poor Keith Chegwin," said Ant.

Keith did make it on another reality TV show – Celebrity Big Brother
(Image: PA)

Ant and Dec explained more about their hilarious interactions with Cheggers in their 2010 autobiography Ooh! What a Lovely Pair: Our Story.

"When we arrived at the big hotel, we had the first of several thousand surreal experiences we'd face over the next few weeks," recalled Ant.

"We bumped into Keith 'Cheggers Plays Pop' Chegwin. Every year on I'm A Celebrity they fly stand-ins out in case any of the cast get ill or realise what they're getting themselves into and, in series one, Cheggers was that stand-in."

Keith was very much prepared to enter the jungle and had come up with a plan in case he was dropped into camp.

Ant and Dec would bump into Cheggers in the hotel

Ant continued: "One thing about Cheggers is that he's a very heavy smoker and, when we ran into him, he'd just got off the 24-hour flight from London.

"To combat his cigarette cravings on the plane, he'd come up with a carefully thought-out plan – he would wear nicotine patches, chew nicotine gum and drink copious amounts of Coke.

"All of this meant that when we saw him, he was completely wired. He was also keen on showing us some of the home-made footage he'd already taken around the hotel."

Ant then went on to add: "When we bumped into Cheggers, he had just finished filming a cassowary [a type of Australian emu] attacking its own reflection in a car door.

"So there we were, jetlagged, standing in our second hotel of the day with wired children's TV legend Keith Chegwin showing us home-video footage of a giant bird attacking its own reflection."

Cheggers didn't ever make it into camp
(Image: DIGITAL/EROTEME.CO.UK)

The standbys are very well paid for the time – as they get a generous fee as well as having all all expenses paid holiday Down Under.

Former campmate Nicola McLean lifted the lid on the behind-the-scenes secret that is put in place in case one of the contestants has to leave early in November last year.

The model claimed back-up stars still get paid a hefty £20,000 alongside a first-class flight to Oz.

"Aside from the two latecomers, other celebrities are standby in case anyone gets injured or ill – but get sent home once the voting starts, as then it doesn’t matter if someone leaves", she penned in her Closer magazine column.

The blonde added: "They travel first class, stay in a hotel and get paid £20,000. "

Nicola McLean claimed Timmy Mallett was on standby for three years

Back in 2004, it was reported that Timmy Mallett had flown out to Australia to replace John Lydon if he decided to quit the show.

Nicola claimed Timmy was waiting to get on the show for a whopping three years before he actually entered the jungle with her in 2008.

"Timmy Mallett did that for three years before he got in, but that’s rare because most don’t go in the show," she added.

This means there are probably a lot of secret standbys that we know nothing about – and will never get to grace our screens.

Nicola also added that a guest who appears on spin-off show Extra Camp will not be asked to appear in a future line up of the main series.

She alleges this is because they have been to the set and "see how it works too well."

You may also like...