While the sun is typically harsh in the South African jungle, there are clouds hanging overhead as ''the good docteur'' – as Julia Morris jokingly refers to her, I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! co-host Dr Chris Brown – prepares to bid farewell.
After nine seasons, Chris has announced he's leaving the reality favourite – and Network 10 altogether – for a new chapter in his career.
Speaking to TV WEEK alongside Julia, Chris, 44, who will join Channel Seven in July, insists the ''show will go on'' – although that it doesn't make leaving any easier.
''I like to live in a really healthy place called denial,'' he quips.
''It's a nice place to be. But honestly, I want to see everything we've worked towards come to life in the jungle for now.''
Julia, 54, confesses she's ''deeply sad'' about losing the colleague and friend who has been by her side since the reality series launched in 2015.
''I'm going to try to stay in this space and not be sad,'' the comedian says.
''Life is life, and we roll with it. Fortunately, we have a solid friendship, so it hasn't rocked the boat.''
After making the tough decision, Chris had to deliver the news to Julia. The conversation, however, came about in a rather unexpected way.
''I was in his arms,'' Julia declares with a hint of pride.
She was, Chris confirms – but it wasn't the romantic moment Julia cheekily suggests it was.
''We were in the middle of a dance class [to shoot the I'm A Celebrity TV promo] and Chris said, 'Hey, can I bend your ear for a second?''' Julia explains as they both laugh.
''I thought, 'Finally, here we go – he's going to ask me out.'
There was a step, a turn, a dip and then, well…''
Continuing without Chris might not seem real for now, but the TV WEEK Gold Logie nominee is open to bringing new talent to the jungle, yet cautious about who should take the veterinarian's spot.
''There are things I may not find again,'' Julia says.
''Number one: someone who isn't a douche bag. Two: someone who's really funny and an equal contributor of jokes, but not pushy.
''There's a wonderful ebb and flow between us that's taken years to build. At times, I've been a maniac on menopause and Chris has had to take a breath as we move through it. You can't simply move on to the next person. They're big shoes to fill.''
''Size 15 to be precise,'' Chris adds.
''But the show will go on, I have no doubt. Julia is incredible.''
As for her pick as a new co-host, Julia doesn't discount the likes of young wildlife warrior Robert Irwin, who can handle jungle life, but has a couple of ideas of her own.
''Robert would be fantastic, but he's 19 and I'm almost 55,'' she says.
''There's a 10-year difference between Chris and me and that's creepy enough. But from what I understand, we'll test out some people – and I hope we're not restricting ourselves to a male partner on camera. Who knows what we'll find?''
Chris, who says he ''reserves the right to be the jealous ex-partner'' for years to come, is focused on bringing the best season yet of I'm A Celebrity to the screen – and hints that the campmates are likely to surprise.
''From the first moment, it's guns blazing,'' he says.
''We already know how we're putting the celebrities into the jungle and it's in a way we never have before.''
Julia believes the best reality TV doesn't lie in grand-scale productions, but the simplicity of bringing people together.
The series may have dizzying heights, scary challenges and unruly creepy-crawlies, but the viewers' fascination is in the campmates, who ''happen to be celebrities.''
''This isn't a show for fighting, although there is the odd one,'' she says.
''There's more depth to it than that. A lot of people [who've taken part] say it's a profound experience.
''Although, for most of them, seeing the two of us after the experience is probably quite triggering – they can still hear us saying, 'If you eat the testicle, you'll get another star for the camp,''' Chris adds with a laugh.
While the presenters are kept away from the celebrities until filming begins, Julia admits keeping her distance was a lesson learnt the hard way.
''I remember speaking to a friend of mine who was going into the show in the early seasons,'' she says.
''It was highly unethical, but all I said was, 'Be careful not to get drawn into the bitchiness', because they're not like that by nature but were in those groups.
''Later on, that person mentioned that it played on their mind for days [in camp] and they went into a bit of a spiral.
I realised it's unfair to shape the game.''
Meanwhile, lessons came in a very different form for Chris, whose participation in challenges this season could be sidelined after numerous failed attempts.
''There's a lot that doesn't make it to camera,'' he says, including an unfortunate incident in which Julia jokes she had to ''hold his hair back'' when Chris started throwing up after joining in a challenge.
''But maybe I should go out in a blaze of glory.''
The hosts might revel in the African setting and the unpredictability of the show, but both agree their friendship has kept them coming back. They may no longer call out those famous eight words to the jungle heavens together, but they'll always call it home.
''Throughout these nine years there's been an understanding and patience between us to know what each other is going through in life, and being there for them,'' Chris says.
''We all go through things in life, and knowing they'll be there is a huge comfort. We'll always have that.''
As for the future, Julia isn't ruling anything out yet.
''We didn't start as a duo," she says.
"We were individual performers, and career trajectories rarely head in the same direction. Honestly, I'm so happy we've been able to do so for nine years. We built something really special. I'm not saying that it's gone forever, it's just gone for now.''
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