An I’m A Celebrity Star Almost Jeopardised The Entire Show When He Snuck Out To The Pub

Four I'm A Celeb contestants looking shocked

It always amazes me how the celebs competing on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! are kept secret. It turns out that one super famous contestant almost blew his cover a few years back, sending producers into an absolute frenzy. 

While there are extreme security measures on Channel 10’s massive reality TV show, one Aussie athlete somehow snuck out of the hotel in South Africa to have a cheeky bev. He was supposed to stay “locked down” in his room until he was sent into the jungle, but I guess he felt parched. 

Once the production team heard he was missing, they started frantically looking for the celeb so his cover wouldn’t be blown.

“Our team knew a lot of locals and started ringing all the places that this Australian sportsman may have frequented, and one of the people, he said, ‘Yep, he’s in this pub’,” ITV’s Supervising Executive Producer Alex Mavroidakis told

An I'm A Celeb Australia contestant during a trial with a clear bowl over her head and a snake inside
The I’m A Celeb trials can be pretty traumatic. (Image: Channel 10)

By the time the crew managed to find the celeb, it was about 11 o’clock and the producer had some “stern words” for him as they carted him back to the hotel.

How do producers keep the identities of the I’m A Celeb contestants secret?

Considering we’re now at Season 10 of I’m A Celeb, it’s no surprise that the show seems to run like a well-oiled machine. Apart from a couple of celebrity announcements by Channel 10 before the show starts, the majority of the cast are kept under wraps from the public, and each other.

Honestly, it’s the perfect way to chuck two sworn enemies into the jungle and get them to sort their shit out. I was praying for MAFS’ Olivia Frazer to come face-to-face with her MAFS nemesis Domenica Calarco last year, but Channel 10 missed a trick with that one.

The I’m A Celeb campmates are flown into Johannesburg on different flights, days and times, before heading to the town near the jungle. The contestants are then placed into different hotels, with the expectation they’ll stay inside their rooms until it’s time to kick off the show. 

“They have chaperones with them,” the producer adds, saying: “We try to match them up with somebody who is like them or is going to have the same interest as them. So if you’ve got an AFL player, you generally will put [them] with a young male chaperone who has an interest in sport.”

The chaperones are essentially supposed to babysit the celebs, by picking up all their food and occasionally letting them out for a fun safari or a lil dip. But it’s all a coordinated effort – if one celeb is out roaming around (under supervision), then the other celebs in that area have to be “locked down”.

I’m sure whoever was chaperoning the missing sportsperson was shitting themselves, but it can be a lot harder than it seems. I’ve had to chaperone MAFS contestants before, and one particular groom acted like he had ants in his pants when I needed him to stand still for about five minutes.

What happens once the show starts filming?

There’s dangerous wildlife roaming in the South African jungle, so production employs a bunch of “bush boys”. So the celebs don’t end up having a tussle with a lion or snake, the camouflaged guards are on hand 24 hours a day. 

“We’ve had many snake encounters crew-wise and celebrity-wise,” Alex told

“Once we had the whole trials area closed because hippos took residence there… but snakes are the number one concern because they are everywhere.”

Why do producers use ‘code names’ when casting I’m A Celeb?

Production starts looking for cast about eight months before the first episode airs, meaning there’s plenty of time for someone to leak some info. Instead of openly talking about wishlist celebs, each potential contestant is given a “code name”. 

For I’m A Celeb this year, producers went with a theme of Marvel superheroes. It’s quite a fun way to do it, as well as being sneaky. Malcolm in the Middle’s Frankie Muniz was known as Flash, Skye Wheatley as Scarlet Witch, and Tristan MacManus was labelled Thor. 

Coming up with a theme sounds pretty fun! I reckon the next one should be classic Aussie snacks – wouldn’t Fairy Bread be perfect for MAFS’ Lucinda Light