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I’m a Celeb: Why the stats point to AJ Pritchard being this year’s winner

Analysis by Betway shows the former Strictly star has all the cards to be crowned King of the Jungle.

By Will Stroude

In partnership with Betway

Against all odds, I’m a Celeb has made a winning return to TV screens this week, with 11 stars entering a Welsh castle to face their fears in front of the cameras.

Thought the Covid-19 pandemic has seen producers forced to abandon the traditional Australian jungle setting, the format of trials, tears and tantrums remains largely the same – so who’s likely to walk away from the 20th series of I’m a Celeb as King or Queen of the Jungle (or in this case, castle)?

Bev Callard, AJ Pritchard, Vernon Kay, Hollie Arnold, Mo Farah, Jordan North, Giovanna Fletcher, Victoria Derbyshire, Shane Richie, Ruthie Henshall and Russell Watson are the celebs who’ve volunteered for this year’s claustrophobic challenges and rations of rice and beans, and while everybody has their early favourite, it’s former EastEnders star Ritchie who currently leads the bookies’ odds.

Since the show’s inception in 2002, 19 stars have been crowned the winner of I’m a Celeb from over 221 contestants – and while they each had their own personal journey in the jungle, there are some important trends which might give some indication of the ones to watch out for this year.

Betway have dug into the details to demonstrate how factors the a star’s age, job, social media following and participation in the infamous Bushtucker Trials might come into play when calling a winner – and this year, it’s good news for former Strictly star AJ Pritchard…


Image: Betway

Experience, wisdon and patience are all virtues when it comes to suriving I’m a Celeb’s stress-inducing set-up, and while three winners have been in their 50s – Tony Blackburn (series 1), Carol Thatcher (series 5), Christopher Biggins (series 7) – a whopping nine have been in their 20s.

That seems to have been even more important in recent years: since 2015, four of five winners have been women in their 20s: Vicky Pattison (series 15), Scarlett Mofatt (series 16), Georgia Toffolo (series 17) and Jacqueline Jossa (series 19).

Meanwhile, four winners have been in their 30s and two were in their 40s, with series 18 winner Harry Redknapp – then 71 – the lone person over 60 to claim the crown.

In the class of 2020, 20-somethings Hollie Arnold, AJ Pritchard and Jessica Plummer all fit the bill.  


From singers to Olympians, I’m a Celeb has seen them all over the years, but those recent young female winners share something else in common apart from their sexuality: they all made their name as part of reality shows or soaps like Geordie ShoreGogglebox or EastEnders which made them regular staples on TV with personalities already familiar to viewers.

Past wins for EastEnders stars Charlie Brooks and Joe Swash add to the soap-winner figure, and Shane Ritchie and Jess Plummer could still add to that tally.

And while there are no strictly ‘reality’ show stars this year, the celeb who comes closest to fitting the bill as a young person used to being themselves on a popular TV series is AJ Pritchard.

Musicians won five of the first 13 series of I’m a Celeb, but importantly none have in the last six years, and this year they’re represented by slightly older figures in operatic tenor Russell Watson and stage star Ruthie Henshall.


Part of I’m a Celeb‘s appeal is getting to know the stars as the person they are behind the public persona, so how they come across on screen is often far more important than their public standing going in.

We do love a journey, after all – so don’t get suckered into back the big names on their profile alone.

Indeed, having a mammoth social media following and profile could appear to be a disadvange: In the last four series, the winner has always been one of the six most-followed celebrities on Twitter, but never one of the top two.

In Series 16, Baker had comfortably the biggest Twitter following and was voted off first, while the celebrity with the biggest follower count has since finished fifth, fifth and sixth.

That doesn’t bode well for Mo Farah and Vernon Kay, who boast Instagram followings of over one million.

The runner-up in three of the last four series, meanwhile, has had one of the five smallest Twitter follower counts, with last year’s second-place celebrity Andy Whyment possessing the third-smallest following.

Again, AJ Pritchard, who has a healthy but not obscene Instagram following of 132,000, still seems to fit the criteria: popular, but with plenty of room to win more people over.



We all love to see the celebs squeal and squirm their way through a BushTucker trial, but I’m a Celeb’s notorious challenges are often a good eary indicator of who won’t be winning the series.

Stars voted by the public to take part in the trials early on are often less popular and soon exit the camp when the eliminations begin two weeks into the series: the average finishing position of the star voted to undergo most trials by the public is 6.5 across all 19 series, and they’ve finished outside the top five in the last 12. 

Later in the series, the celebs themselves generally vote on which camp member they want to take part in the trial, and at this point the tired, hungry stars usually opt for a ‘brave’ co-star they think will secure them some dinner.

Across all 19 series, the contestant that takes on the most celebrity-elected trials has finished in an average position of 2.8 – so watch out for who’s regularly heading into the snake pit come week three.

On the basis of the stats seen in all these categories, Betway’s predicted winner is AJ Pritchard – and with current odds of 33/1 you could be quid’s in by backing the ballroom star…

I’m a Celeb continues at 9pm tonight (20 November) on ITV.