Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly transform into knights in first scenes for I’m A Celebrity

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They teased fans they had headed to Wales to shoot upcoming scenes for I’m A Celebrity on Instagram earlier this week. 

And Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly transformed into knights to film the opening segment on horseback in Wales on Thursday.   

It seemed Ant, 46, had pulled the short straw as, while his best pal Dec, 45, roamed the vast field on an imposing white horse, he trotted around on the back of a considerably shorter pony. 

Wow! Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly transformed into knights to film the opening segment of the new series of I’m A Celebrity on horseback in Wales on Thursday

With unmissable red capes in-tow along with shiny silver helmets and coordinating gloves, the double act could barely wipe the smiles from their faces during the fun-filled day. 

A flurry of crew members gathered around the TV presenters, while beaming lighting fixtures and professional cameras populated the area.

Ant was helped off his tiny pony by a pair of mask-clad staff members, while Dec loomed above on his stunning horse. 

There he goes: Dec cut an impressive figure in his steel armour costume as he rode the stunning stallion

There he goes: Dec cut an impressive figure in his steel armour costume as he rode the stunning stallion 

Hilarious: It seemed Ant, 46, had pulled the short straw as, while his best pal Dec, 45, roamed the vast field on the imposing white horse, he trotted around on the back of a considerably shorter pony

Hilarious: It seemed Ant, 46, had pulled the short straw as, while his best pal Dec, 45, roamed the vast field on the imposing white horse, he trotted around on the back of a considerably shorter pony

Costume: With unmissable red capes in-tow along with shiny silver helmets and coordinating gloves, the double act could barely wipe the smiles from their faces during the fun-filled day

Costume: With unmissable red capes in-tow along with shiny silver helmets and coordinating gloves, the double act could barely wipe the smiles from their faces during the fun-filled day 

Teamwork: Ant needed to be assisted by two crew members as he tried to dismount the tiny pony

Teamwork: Ant needed to be assisted by two crew members as he tried to dismount the tiny pony

A mysterious flag featuring orange-and-red boxes was erected during filming, with Dec taking off his helmet as he made his way across the land.

Swapping Australia’s New South Wales for Britain’s North Wales, the show’s upcoming twentieth series marks the second year running to be set away from its infamous down-under hotspot due to Australia’s ongoing lockdown. 

I’m A Celebrity’s bosses are reportedly already in talks to secure Gwrych Castle for a third year running due to fears of the coronavirus plunging the hit series into doubt. 

Coming soon: A mysterious flag featuring orange-and-red boxes was erected, while Dec took off his helmet and made his way across the land

Coming soon: A mysterious flag featuring orange-and-red boxes was erected, while Dec took off his helmet and made his way across the land

Getting ready: Ant mounted his pony in the heavy costume with the help of two crew members

Getting ready: Ant mounted his pony in the heavy costume with the help of two crew members 

Kitted up: A flurry of crew members gathered around the TV presenters, while beaming lighting fixtures and professional cameras populated the area

Chatting: Ant spoke with a behind-the-scenes worker in-between takes

Kitted up: A flurry of crew members gathered around the TV presenters, while beaming lighting fixtures and professional cameras populated the area

Despite hopes this year’s instalment would see the contestants taking to the much-loved Aussie jungle, bosses were forced to abort plans yet again.

Now, it seems the country’s lockdown may force fans to accept a third year of fun-and-games from the wintery Welsh set.

A TV insider told The Sun: ‘This time last year, the prospect of I’m A Celebrity not returning to Australia and having to return to the castle seemed slim.

Look of fear: Ant's tense face was certainly a picture as he struggled to ride his tiny pony in the grassy field

Look of fear: Ant’s tense face was certainly a picture as he struggled to ride his tiny pony in the grassy field 

Beaming: Ant couldn't resist posing for a photo as he got ready to film the entertaining skit with DEc

Action-packed: Things began to heat up on-set as his pony got to work

Beaming: Ant couldn’t resist posing for a photo as he got ready to film the entertaining skit with DEc 

‘Now the show is going back to Gwrych after ITV had the foresight to reserve is for a second series – and they want to make sure they’re equally prepared for the worst in 2022.

‘Going back to Oz is still the goal. But this is about bosses taking every step possible to ensure Britain’s favourite TV show stays on our screens. So they’re likely to approach the castle owners imminently.’

Swapping Australia’s New South Wales for Britain’s North Wales, the camp had been set at a down-under spot since its 2002 debut. 

Over there: Dec pointed into the distance

Hot and bothered: He looked a little sweaty after removing his helmet

Over there: Dec pointed into the distance, before looking a little sweaty after removing his helmet

Break: Ant and Dec took a moment away from the horses in-between scenes

Break: Ant and Dec took a moment away from the horses in-between scenes

Centre of attention: Ant brought his character to life as he got ready to film

Having a blast! Ant continued with his high-spirited approach to the activity

Having a blast! Ant continued with his high-spirited approach to the activity

However, presenters Ant and Dec fronted a revamped show from the new location in 2020 due to Australian travel restrictions. 

Insiders previously revealed to TUSEN the show had been thrown into chaos following the last minute change of plans.

However, last year’s Welsh series was a roaring success, with Giovanna Fletcher ultimately taking the crown in a tense final. 

Ouch! Dec looked a little pained as crew member touched his helmet

Ouch! Dec looked a little pained as crew member touched his helmet

Exciting: The duo teased fans they had headed to Wales to film upcoming scenes for I'm A Celebrity on Instagram earlier this week.

Exciting: The duo teased fans they had headed to Wales to film upcoming scenes for I’m A Celebrity on Instagram earlier this week.

Sources said: ‘It doesn’t mean the series will be below par as the last series was the second most popular in show series and that was in Wales.

‘Bosses are working hard to get things ready for the launch following Australia’s status change.’  

The last series was the second most popular series since IAC started. The launch episode got 14.3 million viewers consolidated.

Thrilling: The scene looked like something from a medieval movie

Thrilling: The scene looked like something from a medieval movie

Power pose: Dec looked like a King as he rode his horse

Dramatic: Dec's horse reared its front legs at one point

Power pose: Dec looked like a King as he rode his horse before it reared its front legs at one point

Australia has tightened the screw on its strict Covid lockdowns – ordering millions in Queensland to stay at home until at least the end of the week as the country struggles to control outbreaks of the highly-infectious Delta variant.

The change in status has led to the overhaul in bosses’ plans. 

Katie Rawcliffe, ITV Head of Entertainment Commissioning, said: ‘We can confirm today that we’ll be returning to Wales for the 2021 series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!…

‘We’ve always said we have contingencies in place for the series if the covid situation continued to bring uncertainty, and after a highly successful run at the castle last year we’re pleased that we can return there…

‘I have no doubt the production team will produce another hugely entertaining series.’ 

Richard Cowles, Director of Unscripted at Lifted Entertainment said: ‘With the continued uncertainty around covid and international travel we have taken the decision not to return to our home in Australia for the 2021 series…

‘We’re excited to return to Gwrych Castle. The last series was a huge success and we were made to feel so welcome by everyone locally and can’t wait to see everyone again.’

Changes: Swapping Australia's New South Wales for Britain's North Wales, the camp has been set at a down-under spot since its 2002 debut (pictured in 2018)

Changes: Swapping Australia’s New South Wales for Britain’s North Wales, the camp has been set at a down-under spot since its 2002 debut (pictured in 2018)

Decision: The ITV series filmed in Gwrych Castle last year after the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for the show to travel safely to Australia (pictured in 2020)

Decision: The ITV series filmed in Gwrych Castle last year after the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for the show to travel safely to Australia (pictured in 2020)

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