Gwrych Castle has become known across the UK thanks to its role on I’m a Celebrity this year.
The estate in Abergele is the location for the latest series which started on Sunday and already has viewers hooked on its Welsh location. It was previously reported by some outlets that ITV had paid “millions” to use Gwrych Castle.
But Dr Mark Baker, chairman of the castle’s trust, told North Wales Live this wasn’t true, saying the fee wasn’t “the extent” that some “inaccurate reports” claimed.
The exact amount paid by the production wasn’t able to be publicly confirmed until now. The Radio Times has now revealed that Gwrych Castle has received £300,000 for its involvement.
In an interview with the magazine, Dr Baker said that the fee will contribute to ongoing renovations. Gwrych has an amazing story and has been saved after it was largely left to rot for 30 years — you can read about that here.
Dr Baker said: “The deal will certainly significantly advance our long-term mission to restore the castle.”
The priority after I’m a Celebrity concludes, he said, was to fix the roofs – ideally using the TV fee. Although parts of the property have already been updated with slate roofing, other areas still need attention.
ITV are understood to have introduced some temporary roofing, with Mark previously saying the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust will ensure all roofs are converted into slate next year, part of the next phase of renovations on site.
The transformation project will ultimately allow the trust to start using more spaces on the estate.
Dr Baker explained that this will open up the property so that it “becomes a venue” within the local community.
He said he initially ignored ITV’s email to use the castle for the show as he thought it was a spam email, and he has never seen the series.
Dr Baker said: “I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement before anyone from ITV so much as visited, and the actual name of the programme was never confirmed until we were very close to signing contracts in July.
“It would usually take us over two years to raise £300,000. With the second wave of Covid, the programme has saved not only us but many local businesses. Hundreds of jobs have kept going because ITV have employed them on site.”