I’M A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! contestants will not have to chow down on live critters for the first time in the show’s history.
After heavy campaigning from animal charities and wildlife experts including the BBC’s Chris Packham, ITV will only serve bugs already dead during the infamous Bushtucker Trial.
Packham, 58, who fronts BBC nature show Autumnwatch, compared insects being killed for the sake of entertainment as something out of the Middle Ages and demanded ITV changed their stance.
In the 2015 series, Towie’s Ferne McCann ate a live water spider, prompting 1,500 complaints to TV watchdog Ofcom.
The following year some viewers vented their anger when Scarlett Moffatt scoffed a live beetle.
And last year, eventual winner, footie legend Harry Redknapp endured a mouthful of wriggly witchetty grubs.
A show insider said: “Producers have been debating the use of live critters in the eating tasks for some time.
“Last year only beach worms were fed to the celebrities still alive but now there’s a total ban. The increased sensitivity around the subject has become too hard to ignore.”
The new series of the ITV show, which kicks off on Sunday at 9pm, will still feature live insects in other, non-eating tasks, such as when celebs are covered head to toe in critters.
In another major change, the traditional open campfire has been replaced with a gas stove, due to the terrible bush fires that are currently blazing across east Australia.
An ITV spokesman said: “In light of the current situation in Australia, I’m A Celebrity will not feature an open camp fire.
“Instead, campmates will cook their food and boil their water on a specially made gas stove.”