Rosemary Shrager in I'm A Celeb

Rosemary Shrager in I'm A Celeb

I’m A Celebrity comes to an end once again tonight, and while ITV has suffered huge ratings drop off with their talent show The X Factor, they haven’t quite suffered the same fate with the reality show.

While the viewing figures for the first show of the series was seen by a very respectable 10.26 million viewers (40% of the total viewers in that time slot), it was still around a million less viewers than the start of the record breaking 2011 series enjoyed.

Since then though, this series has held its viewership incredibly strongly, not suffering the dramatic fall of that affects so many of the other reality shows do.

The reasons behind the continued ratings aren’t a secret, although they may just make for an uncomfortable truth. It was all down to the public wanting to see the contestants suffer.

It may seem sweeping to say, but I’m A Celebrity is a show all about humiliation. If these people weren’t rich and famous, we wouldn’t be interested. We want to see these people who have it better than most of us do go through hardships.

This was typified most in the case of Helen Flanagan, whose continued torment at the hands of the programme makers brought the viewers back time and time again. Her melt downs and flailing attempts at the challenges made for grim, schadenfreude inducing entertainment.

Let’s get this straight though, this isn’t exploitation. These celebrities, even Helen, know what they’re getting involved with and are being handsomely rewarded for their involvement.

I’m A Celebrity works on exactly the same level as comedy shows like The Office, rewarding that mean little streak in you that likes to see people go through ordeals, but also lets the viewer reward their favourites by keeping them out of the gruesome tasks.

It’s a formula that’s incredibly simple, but very rewarding.

It also means that the show doesn’t have to radically alter formats annually, relying on the reactions and team dynamic within that year’s crop of celebrities for the entertainment. It’s a train that ITV will keep riding, especially as the show is now their biggest ratings grabber following this year’s massive downturn of The X Factor.


FemaleFirst Cameron Smith