For the celebrities taking on the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! jungle, there is only one guarantee: they are not in for an easy ride. Whether they’re afraid of snakes, heights, or the camp porta-loo, the odds are that the trials team have cooked up something that will see them face just that.
Mediaweek spoke to Trent Pattison, creative director of trials on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! about creating all sorts of sticky situations for the campmates.
The trials on I’m A Celebrity are famously terrifying. Outside of anything that would be legitimately dangerous, is there such a thing as a challenge that’s too intense for the celebrities on this show?
“There really is no such thing, if we stay within the limitations of safety and within the capabilities of the average campmate, the sky is really the limit. Our track record reflects this too – bungee jumping out of choppers, swinging from one hot air balloon to another, running on a treadmill off the edge of a 2km cliff face… If we can dream it and ensure it’s safe, it’s on the menu.”
How do you come up with ideas for the challenges that the celebrities will face on the show? What is your process for brainstorming and selecting tasks?
“There isn’t really a single system or formula to follow – an idea can come from anywhere, from a funny science demonstration on Instagram or reverse engineering from a good trial name like ‘Scrotal Recall’ or even from a moment of stupid daydreaming – ‘I wonder if we could make a giant syringe and squirt a celeb out of it?’
“There are of course brainstorming sessions also and these usually involve everyone having a page of single one-liner ideas that we throw at Alex Mavroidakis (EP – ITV). They usually rinse through and morph into a final concept. Our trial concepts often aren’t completely formed and are further developed during testing.
“Other bright ideas are added by the Trials department alongside any one of our first-class associated departments right up until shoot day.”
What are some of the most challenging or memorable tasks that you have designed for the show?
“Our golden rule is; Don’t rely on weather or animals to behave in a certain way to make your trial work.
“The most challenging trials were the ones where we broke those rules – I can’t talk about them because my therapist said I should put them behind me.”
How do you ensure that the challenges are safe for the celebrities?
“There’s not one element of a trial that a celebrity does that our Trials Team hasn’t already personally tested, more than once.
“Our procedures could fill a couple of pages – suffice to say, there is a vast system of protocols and graduated elemental testing followed by complete dry-run testing before we place the celebrities into the driver’s seat.”
How do you balance the need to create entertaining challenges with the need to provide an equal playing field for all the celebrities?
“Unlike a lot of challenge-based shows that cast fit and agile competitors, we cast from a cross-section of abilities – this makes us have to seriously consider what is fair and achievable, but more importantly what is entertaining to watch.
“No-one wants to see a game that can’t be won, but equally no-one wants to see a cake walk. Short answer is we consider our celebrity’s limitations during the creation of the trials and try to walk the line between challenging and safe as best we can.”
Top Image: Rhonda Burchmore on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! S6