Whilst the campmates of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! face all manner of tricky tasks in the South African jungle, the team behind the scenes have some equally tricky (although less gross) tasks to make sure the show gets to air each night. In charge of everything from creating the show’s infrastructure to providing elephant snot is South African production company, Triosphere.
Mediaweek spoke to Trisophere’s Head of Production, Oloff Bergh, and Head of Location, Anton Truesdale, about what it takes to bring the show to life.
Can you tell us about the infrastructure in Africa where the show is being filmed? How does it compare to locations where you have produced other shows?
“We have produced in significantly more remote and even hostile locations across Africa – but not on the scale of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! There are very few series formats anywhere in the world that operate on this magnitude.”
How many jobs has Network 10 provided for locals in the area where the show is being filmed? Are there any challenges you faced when it came to recruiting and training local staff?
“There are over 350 South African crew. Most are television/film professionals from across a multitude of disciplines. All are based in the industry hubs of Johannesburg and Cape Town. But, unquestionably the most rewarding for us are the 3,500 working days created for more than 50 local community members.
“The communities adjoining the nature reserve on which we’re based are Indigenous tribes who are the historical and rightful inhabitants of the nature reserve. These areas exist under conditions of extreme poverty, unemployment, and under-development. In addition to work opportunities created, there is an ongoing skills development programme, with a view to empowering these community members to create future employment and income generating opportunities for themselves and their families.”
What are some of the logistics of filming a show like I’m A Celebrity… in a remote location? Ie: how do you transport equipment, supplies, and crew to and from the site?
“Between series, our site is almost completely dismantled and removed from location. We quite literally bring everything to site – from office containers, generators, water supply, catering kitchens, toilets to cameras, edit suites and satellite dishes. We also dress camp and trials sets with thousands of plants, all in bags, with drip irrigation to each bag to ensure they survive and remain lush throughout the series. A 1.5-ton technocrane is carried to/from the studio by hand, along narrow wooden walkways. Wireless internet feeds from Johannesburg reach sites bouncing off high sites along a 500km route. The entire site is linked by more than 35 kilometres of fibre.
“Every aspect of our presence on site complies with strict ecological conditions as well as all national and local government health and safety regulations. Accommodating, feeding, transporting and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of 500+ crew on a 24/7 production cycle requires meticulous planning, collaboration and commitment from a multi-disciplinary team.”
How much contact do you have with local authorities and communities in the area where the show is being filmed?
“We liaise closely and consistently with the local authorities as well as traditional leadership of the local communities. Our conduct on location is in strict accordance with our agreement with the local authorities. And we collaborate closely with traditional leadership for employment of community members as well as for upliftment programs in the local communities – for example, school upgrades, child care centres, care for the elderly, and water storage among other programs.”
How important has the relationship between 10, ITV, and Triosphere been when it comes to producing, I’m A Celebrity…?
This relationship is absolutely integral to the success of the series. It is telling that the original 10 and ITV executives involved in scouting for locations pre series one, remain at the helm to this day. It is their vision and courage, when this site was nothing but one dilapidated building, that created the world-class facility it now is, nine successful years on and counting.”
Speaking of the relationship between the three companies, representatives for 10 and ITV also spoke of how crucial the camaraderie between companies is.
Network 10’s Head of Entertainment & Factual Programming, Stephen Tate: “Triosphere were instrumental in presenting us with the spectacular location in the Blyde River Canyon that has become synonymous with I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and they manage the location and infrastructure for us impeccably.
“Network 10 works with location partners all over the world on various formats and the Triosphere team led by Anton Truesdale and Oloff Bergh are by far one of the finest production partners we’ve ever had the privilege of working with.”
ITV’s Head of Factual and Reality, Ben Ulm: “Returning to South Africa this season was like returning to our second home, for many of the Australian crew of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
“Anton, Oloff and the team from Triosphere are IAC family. We have the privilege of working here, in one of the most spectacular locations in the world, due to Anton and Oloff’s long-standing connection with the land and the people here. Whether they’re consulting with the five kings who represent this area, delivering on environmental advice, or just delivering on elephant snot for a silly trial, these guys are the epitome of ‘can do’ producers.”
Top Image: Oloff Bergh, Anton Truesdale, and Stephen Tate