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Beverley Callard and Jordan North are the epitome of an unexpected friendship. She is a 64-year-old actress, best known for playing Liz McDonald in Coronation Street, while he is a 31-year-old Radio 1 DJ. And yet, when they both starred in 2020’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! – filmed in a castle in Wales – they immediately clicked. In fact, they get on so well, they’ve filmed a travel series together for ITV.
Beverley & Jordan: Destination Wedding sees the pair head to Spain where they immerse themselves in local culture, while also planning for a very special day at the end of the series: Callard is renewing her wedding vows with husband Jon. “I was quite nervous about it because Jordan is a presenter and is so good at it, and I’m not a presenter at all,” admits West Yorkshire-born Callard. “I’m used to learning the lines and doing other people’s work!”
Callard and her husband were meant to have the ceremony last year, on a beach in Spain, to celebrate 10 years of marriage – but lockdown got in the way. When ITV suggested they film it for the show, their request was that it remained “casual”. “We didn’t want it ‘showbiz’ in any way,” says the star. “Then they said to Jordan, ‘Will you organise it?’”
So, a plan came together; as the friends travelled around the country, North picked items from the different regions for the wedding – for example, wine from Rioja. Meanwhile, Callard threw in some hair-raising experiences for her and North, whose phobias of, well, basically everything led to some very memorable moments on I’m A Celeb. “I don’t want to give too much away, but we might have done some paragliding…” teases North, who was born in York but grew up in Burnley. “The director said he’s never heard a blood-curdling scream quite like it!”
He continues, lovingly: “Beverley got stuck in as well. She only recently had a hip operation, and she was doing all the activities. We had to get permission for a couple from her doctor. She’s a very strong-willed and determined lady and I hope people get to see that.”
“The other thing is, it’s not fake,” Callard says of the show. “None of it is scripted whatsoever. Also, there’s no hair and make-up, there’s no costume. So, I look like a Crufts champion for the duration.”
“She looked amazing!” chimes in North (another example of how loving this new double act are with each other). “But it’s the same people that made I’m A Celeb, so it wasn’t glamorous. I’ve got the best picture of Beverley on the side of the motorway eating a sandwich between filming. There were no people doing touch-ups on the side. You’ll see us literally getting out of the sea…”
“Not a pretty sight,” quips Callard. “I can remember getting out and thinking, ‘Oh my god, I look a disaster’. I used to be a bit of a sex symbol – that has gone!”
What do they think will make this stand out amongst a TV schedule that’s heavy with travel shows? “People probably think they know Spain, and they know it quite well, and they’ve probably been on holiday there – but we’re going to show you areas and towns and places that you didn’t know about, that we didn’t even know about,” suggests North. “I didn’t realise how vast it is. We travelled 900 miles, from the top of Spain in Santander, right down to the bottom. Me and Beverley drove, and we filmed most of the driving.”
— Jordan North (@jordannorth1) July 29, 2021
“We saw how they really live, away from the touristy destinations,” Callard elaborates. “A chap called Miguel, he was the nicest man, and he taught us, in Valencia, how to make a proper paella for the wedding. He took us to his home. He and his wife worked really hard, they’d really struggled throughout the pandemic to earn a living, and they made us so welcome. They got quite emotional about it and so did we.”
That wasn’t the only time that emotions ran high – all those hours driving in a car together led to some deep conversations between the pair. “We had moments that were really moving, and heart-to-hearts about each other, about our childhood,” reflects Callard. “The producers have basically said they could make a series of just us nattering in the car,” adds North.
“We’d seen it in the castle, so we knew already; Beverley is the funniest and most heart-warming lady, and she genuinely cares about people,” adds the broadcaster, when asked what he learnt about his co-star while filming.
“I did learn so much about him and him growing up and his family,” notes Callard. “You can tell, he comes from a really loving family. That is so obvious and when you see his mum, you know why. She’s a great mum, but she’s really glamorous, as well. She’s gorgeous to look at – that’s where he gets his looks. Also, with Jordan, what you see is what you get. He’s very genuine and I think that’s why he’s so wonderful at his job because it comes through the mic.”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good at public speaking – at least not when it came to Callard’s vow renewal anyway. “I did actually get asked to do a speech, and I’m not just saying this to try and sound modest – it was a disaster,” admits North. “I got flustered. I tripped up over my words, I got all the names wrong.”
— Beverley Callard (@Beverleycallard) September 12, 2021
“It was brilliant because he’s such a good presenter and once a microphone is there, he’s just so natural and he’s still himself, but because he’d written this speech and it was rehearsed, it was completely the opposite,” agrees Callard, chuckling.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, the duo’s chemistry is certainly not just for the screen – and they would definitely love to work together again. “We’d love to focus on another country,” says North. “I’d love to do America. But I think we’d have fun in Portugal, Greece, Germany, France… The world’s our oyster.”
Beverley & Jordan: Destination Wedding starts on ITV on Wednesday, October 20.