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ITV to recreate I’m A Celebrity jungle for theme park in Salford

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Harry Redknapp after being crowned king of the jungle in December 2018Image copyright
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Harry Redknapp was crowned king of the jungle in December 2018

It’s a long way from the Australian rainforest to Salford Quays, but ITV is to recreate the I’m A Celebrity jungle there for a new visitor attraction.

The indoor I’m A Celebrity… Jungle Challenge will offer a “multi-sensory adrenaline adventure” from next summer.

The venue, part of a £26m leisure development, will include replicas of Base Camp, Croc Creek and Snake Rock.

But ITV said visitors won’t come into contact with animals or insects – or be required to eat any bugs.

Bush tucker might be on sale for those who want it, however.

The broadcaster is finalising whether live creepy crawlies will be involved in the experience at all.

But William van Rest, ITV’s director of games, live and merchandising, said any animals would likely be virtual.

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Visitors won’t face the same ordeal as Emily Atack did in this trial in 2018

The programme has been criticised by campaigners, including Chris Packham, who recently called on it to stop “abusing animals”.

Most of the attraction will be a 90-minute “action-packed challenge” involving such things as zipwires, parachute drops, climbing walls and mazes. On their way, visitors will collect stars in an attempt to be crowned king or queen of the jungle.

Members of the TV show’s production team have been involved in designing the venue and its activities, according to van Rest.

He said: “It’s inspired by the show, and we’re trying to create a jungle as closely as we can. Some of the games within I’m A Celebrity are things like treetop challenges, and one of the team who helps create the games for I’m A Celebrity is helping us with this.”

The attraction is part of ITV’s More Than TV strategy, which also includes tours of its Coronation Street and Emmerdale sets and its daytime studios at Television Centre in London.

There is also a Ninja Warrior-themed aqua park near Windsor, and Ninja Warrior family adventure centres in Stoke and Wigan.

Van Rest said: “It’s tapping into the market of viewers wanting to have experiences with TV brands, and operators recognising the power of the brands and the emotional engagement audiences have with the brands.

“I’m A Celebrity is one of our biggest entertainment brands, and this is in the heartland of our audience. We think it’s really exciting, and it’s the first time we’ve done this sort of immersive experience.”

The 2,500 sq m I’m A Celebrity… Jungle Challenge will be part of the new Watergardens development next to the Lowry Outlet Mall in Salford, Greater Manchester.

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BBC director general Tony Hall: ‘Nicholas Parsons was a legend’

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The BBC’s director general Tony Hall has paid tribute to the broadcaster Nicholas Parsons who has died at the age of 96.

Parsons, who hosted Radio 4’s Just A Minute since its inception in 1967, died after a short illness.

Speaking to BBC Media Editor Amol Rajan, Mr Hall said he was “immensely saddened” at the loss of Parsons, who he described as a “wonderful, charming, witty, warm man”.

Read more: ‘Broadcasting legend’ dies aged 96 after short illness



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Neville Buswell: Coronation Street pays tribute to former soap star

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Buswell’s character left wife Deirdre and daughter Tracy for a life in Amsterdam

Coronation Street has paid tribute to actor Neville Buswell, who played womaniser Ray Langton in the ITV soap in the 1960s and 70s.

Buswell, who has died at the age of 77, starred as Deirdre Barlow’s first husband and the father of her troubled daughter Tracy.

He joined Corrie in 1966 and was a regular on the cast before being written out in 1978.

A statement from the show said they were “saddened” to hear of his death.

The news was first reported in an obituary by a funeral home in Las Vegas. He had moved to the US city after leaving the cobbles.

Buswell made a cameo appearance as Ray in the one-off Coronation Street special Viva Las Vegas in 1997.

He then returned for a six-week stint in 2005, which ended with his character dying of lung cancer at Deirdre and Ken’s second wedding.

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Buswell moved to the US after leaving the soap

A Coronation Street spokeswoman said: “His portrayal of Deirdre’s first husband Ray Langton in the 1970s made him a part of Coronation Street history.

“We were delighted when he returned to the role in 1997 for a special DVD set in Vegas and again back in 2005 when Ray turned up on the cobbles to visit Deirdre and his daughter Tracy.

“We would like to extend our sympathies to his family and friends at this sad time.”

According to the Palm Eastern Mortuary & Cemetery, he died on Christmas Day and the funeral was held on 3 January. The cause of death is unknown.

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PA Media

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Buswell met Corrie’s Bill Tarmey and Liz Dawn in Las Vegas when filming a Coronation Street special

Buswell was first seen in Corrie in 1966 and began a 10-year run on the soap from 1968.

His character had many affairs during his time on the Street, but it was his fling with waitress Janice Stubbs that finally killed his marriage.

Ray wanted to start afresh in Amsterdam with his wife and daughter, but Deirdre decided to stay in Weatherfield.

In 2012, in real life, Buswell faced allegations of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in his dressing room in the 1960s.

Buswell denied the claims as “not true” and said he had never met or heard of the woman behind them.

Buswell was born in 1943 in Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, and began his acting career on the stage, performing in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and plays.

After leaving Coronation Street, he moved to the US, where he worked in the casino business before becoming a mortgage broker.

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Sir Philip Pullman calls for 50p boycott over Oxford comma

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The commemorative coin will come in to circulation later this week

Author Sir Philip Pullman has declared war on the new Brexit 50p – but it’s nothing to do with politics.

Sir Philip has taken umbrage because the Oxford comma is missing from the coin’s wording: “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations.”

The Oxford comma is included before the final “and” in lists but it is not used universally and is often a topic of debate for grammar enthusiasts.

The coin will come into circulation on 31 January, when the UK leaves the EU.

Stig Abell, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, agreed with Pullman, tweeting: “The lack of a comma after ‘prosperity’ is killing me.”

But Susie Dent, from Countdown’s Dictionary Corner, said the Oxford comma was optional.

“Yes it is optional: it clarifies things quite often though, and I just find it easier and more consistent to use it all the time,” she tweeted.

And broadcaster Joan Bakewell tweeted that she was taught that it was wrong to use the comma in such circumstances.

The new coin was unveiled by Chancellor Sajid Javid at the weekend.

Mr Javid had first ordered production of the coins in advance of the UK’s original 31 October departure date from the EU.

But the Brexit delay meant about a million coins had to be melted down and the metal put aside until a new exit date was confirmed.

On Sunday, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell said he would be asking shopkeepers for “two 20p pieces and a 10” rather than accept the new 50p coin.

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