Chris Packham launches attack on Ant and Dec over 'grotesque' I'm A Celeb stint: 'Blot on your reputations!'

Chris Packham launches attack on Ant and Dec over 'grotesque' I'm A Celeb stint: 'Blot on your reputations!'

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Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 28/11/2023

- 13:30

The Springwatch star has not held back with his views on the ITV staple

Chris Packham has penned a no-holds-barred open letter addressed to I'm A Celebrity presenters Ant and Dec over their participation in the ITV show.

The Springwatch star took to X, formerly Twitter, to share the letter he'd written to the Geordie presenting duo in which he called for the pair to announce that "there will be no more abuse of animals for entertainment" on the show.

In his letter, Packham said he and fans of the duo are "sick of your perceived disregard for animal welfare" due to the nature of I'm A Celebrity's Bushtucker Trials.

Packham accompanied the letter on X with a post that read: "Hello , I’ve written another letter to @antanddec about the ongoing appalling abuse of animals on @ITV programme @imacelebrity.

"I’ve tried to be polite but my patience has run thin. If you agree with what it says please RT. #ImACeleb."

In the open letter, Packham began by claiming his previous attempts to contact Ant and Dec had gone unanswered.

Ant and Dec

Ant and Dec returned to the jungle for the 2023 series of I'm A Celebrity


He went on to describe I'm A Celeb as "a grotesque blot on the reputations of both yourselves and ITV" due to its "continued exploitation of animals for entertainment".

Packham said the aforementioned "exploitation" was "an anachronistic embarrassment and betrays a dangerous disconnect between a world increasingly concerned with an environmental crisis, and a reckless and marginalised part of the media which doesn't appear to give a s**t."

The Springwatch star continued by reeling off examples of complaints he'd received in his capacity as President of the RSPCA before he turned his attention to I'm A Celeb directly.

"I spend my life trying to engender that respect, your programme recklessly countermands that, and what's absolutely pitiful, is that it does it for laughs. Just for amusement," Packham penned.

He continued: "Twenty-eight percent of the world's monitored species are threatened with extinction. Is that funny? Is that a laugh?

"Well maybe you just don't care? But Declan, in 2019 I asked you to please think about how your daughter will perceive your actions as she grows into a world increasingly devoid of wildlife... What did she say?

"That was four years ago, what is she saying now, aware I'm sure that her future is seriously imperilled by climate breakdown and biodiversity loss?"

Packham's attack on the duo continued as he brought up their pay packet from ITV as well as the cheques reportedly paid to its contestants this year.

Chris Packham protest

Chris Packham has slammed the ITV show


Referencing the contrast in viewing figures between the 2023 and 2022 series launches, Packham suggested attitudes towards I'm A Celeb are shifting and as a result, Ant and Dec should "listen to the voices of concern, read the writing on the wall"

He signed off: "To conclude, how about you announce now that from 2024 there will be no more abuse of animals for entertainment; that instead there will be an educational component which will celebrate wildlife and its conservation; that a percentage of the programme's profits will go to proactive practical conservation, and that you will present a programme to highlight that work (I'll loan you my binoculars) and that you will both agree to be ambassadors and influencers for prominent wildlife charities? Yours Chris Packham."

Ant and Dec are yet to respond to Packham's open letter but ITV has issued a statement in light of the claims.

"We are always fully transparent about our protocols and we have a very strict environmental plan in place on the show," the statement began.

"As a production, we comply with all regional and national laws concerning the uses of insects, animals and reptiles. Welfare and safety is always the primary priority on any of our programmes, and at any Bushtucker Trial that features animals, we have qualified and experienced animal handlers on site at all time.

"We inform the RSPCS NSW of all of our activities on the show and they have an open invitation to attend the site at any time."

This isn't the first time Packham has unleashed a public attack on a famous face via social media as earlier this month, the eco activist took aim at Jeremy Clarkson for his remarks about David Attenborough.

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