I'm A Celebrity 2023: TV viewing figures fall by two million for opening show

The return of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! was watched by an average of seven million viewers on Sunday according to overnight ratings.

That's just over two million fewer than watched the first episode last year, which attracted 9.1m.

Nigel Farage, who is earning £1.5m for taking part, said he is "a hero" to some people and "a villain" to others.

"In the jungle you're going to find the real me," the former Ukip and Brexit Party leader promised viewers.

He is the latest political figure to star on the ITV show, following in the footsteps of the former health secretary, Matt Hancock, last year.

He was paid £320,000 last year, according to the register of MPs' financial interests.

Last year, the public voted for Hancock to take part in a range of unpleasant bushtucker trials.

And Farage has already been chosen by the public to take part in the next trial after his debut on the show - alongside social media sensation Nella Rose in a game called "Jungle Pizzeria".

In the opening episode, Farage and two other campmates - This Morning host Josie Gibson and YouTuber Rose - were dumped in the middle of the Australian outback.

Their task was to battle slime and snakes as they sought to win time for their fellow campmates, who were participating in other challenges thousands of miles away.

Farage, who came dressed in a pink shirt and chinos, said he was excited to try "something different in life", to which Gibson replied: "It can't be worse than Brexit."

He hit back: "Oh… didn't take long did it? Didn't take long. I had a feeling we'd get a bit of that."

He then got straight into the challenges, sticking his head through the window of a campervan filled with snakes while unable to use his hands.

He was joined by Rose, who looked terrified at the prospect of the tasks.

Rose has a million followers on TikTok, plus 900,000 on Instagram and nearly 800,000 on YouTube.

The show's producers will be hoping she can help engage younger audiences.

Other contestants this year include Jamie Lynn Spears, who said in her introductory video that she was "best known for being an actress and a singer".

She is also - and arguably better - known for being the younger sister of pop star Britney, who recently released a memoir.

Spears, Hollyoaks actor Nick Pickard and JLS singer Marvin Humes had to face a skydive before entering the camp.

Spears later said the dive had been like "living out my childhood dreams of being a fairy".

Other contestants this year include the restaurant critic and MasterChef guest judge Grace Dent, TV presenter Fred Sirieix, reality star Sam Thompson and former EastEnders actress Danielle Harold.

The foursome arrived by helicopter on the top of a Gold Coast skyscraper and were tasked with walking along a horizontal beam.

Hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly were on hand to cheer on the celebrities as the battle commenced for one of them to be crowned King or Queen of the Jungle.

Welcoming viewers to the new series, they said: "Tonight the talking stops and the adventure begins... strap yourself in for the ride of your lives."

Following a public vote, Farage and Rose will both take part in the next challenge in the show.

Farage had told The Sun newspaper that he would be exempt from certain trials on medical grounds, such as anything involving weightlifting.

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