The 2021 season of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! was a roaring success and arguably the best of the past few years.
So why did co-host Julia Morris tell Yahoo Lifestyle she feels a twinge of guilt when reflecting on that 'wonderful time'?
'Knife in the side'
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, she explains, the show was forced to pivot from filming in South Africa — yes, it's actually filmed there! — to back in Australia, meaning her South African colleagues were unfortunately left out of a job.
"We do a co-production with another production company in South Africa," Julia says.
"And knowing we were making it here [in Australia] there was definitely a level of guilt about leaving behind many brothers and sisters that we worked side by side with creating this amazing show over the years," she adds.
For Julia, being aware of the South African team's 'difficult' situation while shooting the popular show near Murwillumbah in New South Wales was sobering.
"It was an extra knife in the side not to be able to go and share all those years of hard work culminating in season seven," she says.
Switching Kruger National Park, the "spiritual home of the show", for something slightly closer to home was bittersweet, as it allowed Julia to be in the same time zone as her husband, Dan and their two daughters who live in Melbourne.
'Too mental to be funny'
After 33 weeks in 'brutal' state-sanctioned lockdown, and a further two in quarantine ahead of the eight-week shoot, Julia admits she was slightly concerned with how she would cope.
"A good deal of last year I was feeling a lot of resentment that it wasn't everyone [in lockdown], it was just us [Victorians], I definitely took some time out to feel sorry for myself over those 33 weeks, it was so brutal.
"I was wondering how I was going to fare considering a lot of other people on the crew and in the cast have been in other states... personally, I wondered if I was a little bit too mental to go and be funny."
Testament to her 75 years in the biz — her words, not ours! — Julia was in fine comedic form alongside her trusty co-host, Dr Chris Brown.
"We had a really wonderful time which we haven't wanted to say out loud unless our South African buddies hear because we don't want to disrespect them in any way," she admits.
Julia takes on self-help
Julia — or Lady JMo as she's formally known — did put those 33 weeks in lockdown to good use penning a self-help audiobook, Julia Morris Makes It EASY: Half-Baked Advice from Yet Another Deluded Celebrity.
"This is my time to reach out," she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
"Gwyneth Paltrow has her fancy undercarriage candles and Kim Kardashian has her waist-trainers. Every celebrity feels like, well... I guess 'cashing in' is the right expression," Julia adds, a twinkle in her eye.
"And I just thought, you know what, there's some cash out there for me and I need to go get that," she deadpans.
If the title wasn't enough of a giveaway, Lady JMo's literary offering is a searingly hilarious satire of both the self-help genre and the concept of celebrity.
"I can't bear self-help," Julia declares.
"Who has the time? I couldn't take anyone else's advice, I couldn't bear it. But I feel like my advice is amazing, I'm always giving it to people," she adds.
In the Audible Original, Julia herself takes readers through her four-pronged E-A-S-Y system which is, in her opinion, the secret to living the life of the rich and famous.
The E stands for 'expectations' (lower them, she says, and you'll be kicking goals all day); A is for 'armour' to protect yourself from the opinions of others; S is for 'stop' doing all the stuff you don't want to do which frees you up for Y, which stands for all the fun stuff that makes you go, 'yipee!'
See? It's EASY.
Julia Morris Makes It EASY is available on Audible from February 23.
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