I'm a Celebrity's 10 maddest moments and most memorable winners
This Sunday yet another gaggle of ‘celebs’ convene in the Australian jungle where they will endure a variety of bushtucker trials in exchange for a more than decent wedge of cash, plus a serious profile boost, which makes this the perfect time for a stroll down memory lane, writes Sheena McGinley
As we’re about to embark on the 17th series of I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, which includes some of the highest paid names to date (Noel Edmonds is set to get a rumoured £600k), we’re having a nosy back at some of biggest rumbles in the jungle — from bilious bellies to strange fumblings, to inquisitive cockroaches and beyond!
For those who have managed to avoid I’m a Celebrity... for the last 18 years, chances are you’ve skipped past this feature, in which case I’ll dispense with the show’s premise and nip straight to this year’s line-up for those still reading.
John Barrowman: general talent tornado
Emily Atack: used to be on The Inbetweeners
Fleur East: sang Sax
Anne Hegerty: Anne Hegerty off The Chase
Sair Khan: Alya Nazir off Coronation Street
Nick Knowles: TV presenter
James McVey: from The Vamps
Harry Redknapp: former football manager
Rita Simons: Roxy Mitchell off EastEnders
Malique Thompson-Dwyer: Prince McQueen off Hollyoaks.
If you’re wondering why Noel Edmonds isn’t listed, he’s reportedly the “surprise” contestant who’ll saunter into camp a few days later than everyone else.
The mind behind Noel’s House Party and ‘Guessy Guessy Boxy Boxy’ (aka Deal or No Deal) isn’t afraid of confrontation. Everyone is expecting fireworks when he meets I’m a Celeb... hosts Holly Willoughby (who’s replacing Ant McPartlin after his DUI earlier this year) and Declan Donnelly.
After a 2016 interview on This Morning, where Edmonds discussed unconventional views regarding cancer treatment, he branded Willoughby “aggressive” and “dishonest”.
Meanwhile, speaking to Celebrity Radio back in 2015, he claimed Ant and Dec “plundered the House Party archives and created Takeaway.”
There is, however, much more to I’m a Celeb than warring contestants. Here at the 10 maddest moments from the show so far...
10 MADDEST MOMENTS
1. Ashley Roberts’ Dance Lesson (2012)
Okay, so this wasn’t the wildest of moments, rather additional proof that the current Strictly Come Dancing contestant is a professional dancer by trade. Let’s face it, the only one of The Pussycat Dolls who ever sang was Nicole Scherzinger. The rest were DANCERS. That’s why one of them was a judge on Got to Dance.
Minor gripe partially put to rest; somewhere near the beginning of the 2012 series, Roberts started busting some moves to whittle away the time and offered to teach a packed camp the routine to Don’tcha. Colin Baker and Rosemary Shrager (pictured right) were the only two contestants to partake and it made for unique viewing — especially as the latter was famed for her flatulence.
2. Impromptu Departures (2003-2017)
There were those who stuck it out for a short while, including: American actor/lothario of yore George Hamilton (17 days); Lady C (17 days: she cited medical supervision); John ‘Johnny Rotten’ Lydon (11 days); Kimberly Davis from Neighbours (11 days); Natalie Appleton from All Saints (10 days: generally petrified); Brian Conley (nine days); Coronation Street actor Nigel Havers (nine days); Daniella Westbrook from EastEnders (nine days: missed her FAAAHYMILLY); Katie Price (eight days on her second stint); and Brian Harvey from East17 (six days: Janet Street-Porter kept giving him grief for farting).
Then there were those who lasted but a few days, namely: actor/DJ Craig Charles (four days); Strictly’s professional dancer Camilla Dallerup (four days); TOWIE’s Gemma Collins (three days: “I love myself too much to put myself through this”); YouTuber Jack Maynard (three days: he probably would’ve stayed longer but for his questionable historical tweets); comedian Freddie Star (three days); while Spencer Matthews of Made in Chelsea lasted two whole days.
Then there was Elaine Lordan. The former EastEnders actress, who played Lynne Hobbs (nee Slater; she was married to Gary Hobbs), who entered and exited on the first day of the 2005 series. When you know, you know.
3. Janice Dickinson’s Record
Number of Trials (2007)
Most bemoaned being repeatedly getting voted to do Bushtucker trials, but none of them reached double digits like Janice “OOOH MAAAYNE” Dickinson. The “original supermodel” simply got on with her 10 trials throughout the 2007 run and was awarded second place as a result.
4. Natalie Appleton’s Tree
Never ever have I ever seen someone that petrified of foliage. Bob had to come in with the oxygen and everything. Is it genuine fear, or a deep somewhat conceited knowing that their reaction would get them more viewer votes and thus more airtime? Those who followed suit in subsequent series include Sinitta, Dean Gaffney, Helen Flanagan, and the below, to name but a few...
5. Gillian McKeith Keeling Over (2010)
For someone who made a living out of poking other people’s poo, Gillian (right) was a surprisingly flappable contestant. While she flatly refused to do some trials, she “inadvertently” avoided another during a live special by fainting on the spot — forcing Ant and Dec to go to an ad break.
6. That White Bikini (2006)
Now considered the Helen of Troy of beachwear, Myleene Klass’s classy little white bikini was the undisputed star of the 2006 series. While it’s launched a thousand clips of scantily clad celebs dousing themselves under freezing water, unsurprisingly it failed to float a sideline in Daz adverts for Myleene.
7. Fatima Whitbread Plays Host to a Cockroach (2011)
Possibly the most uncomfortable viewing since the show’s inception, a cockroach made itself right at home up Whitbread’s left nostril during a Bushtucker trial. Being an Olympian, she stayed calm, before furiously sniffing it out of her face. She had it set in resin and now carries it around in a little box. True story.
8. Paul Burrell Gagging on a Gonad (2004)
For many, the highlight of the series was the former royal butler shriek and gibber his way through Hell Holes. However, the image of Burrell gnawing on a kangaroo’s unmentionable during an eating trials will definitely put in an appearance on many a person’s deathbed show reel. The gurgling, the squirting, the crunching. Truly the stuff of nightmares.
9. Pete and Jordan’s Coupling (2004)
This was the year that spawned Peter Andre and Katie Price’s union, plus a single called Insania. Andre showed the viewing public that he was so much more than an oiled torso by managing to meld two words together to encapsulate his jungle experience — insane and mania. He released Insania later that year, and it got to No. 3 in the charts. Their marriage lasted four years.
10. Christopher Biggins Gets
Amorous With a Rat (2007)
There he was, mid-slumber, and a rat trotted up his leg and nestled on his belly, so Biggins wrapped himself around it, whooped, woke up Emmerdale’s Gemma Atkinson, apologised for whooping, saying he thought something was on him — all while cradling a rat. This went on for another few minutes before Biggins realised who his bedfellow was, leaving everyone involved traumatised for life.
THE 10 MEMORABLE WINNERS
Tony Blackburn (2002)
Not so much memorable, more ‘the first winner’, and therefore, remarkable by default. It was the DJ’s ability to smile in the face of adversity and rise above all the h’anger-induced arguments that won him the votes.
Kerry Katona (2004)
For those thinking, “Hang about, the squeaky-voiced comedian won in 2004”; the show initially aired for two weeks in the New Year, before moving to its current pre-Christmas slot the same year. The then wife of Brian McFadden was a deserved winner, especially as she had to endure Peter Andre and Katie Price in the first flush of lust.
Carol Thatcher (2005)
Despite widdling in the woods beside her camp bed (and Jimmy Osmond) instead of pawing her way around the dank dunny, The Iron Lady’s daughter went on to win the show, courtesy of her no-nonsense attitude.
Joe Swash (2008)
EastEnders’ Mickey Miller is arguably one of I’m a Celeb’s most enduring faces, mostly because he’s never left. The year after winning, he went on to co-present I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! NOW! over on ITV2, consistently appearing alongside seemingly transient presenters such as Caroline Flack, Russell Kane, Laura Whitmore, Rob Beckett and David Morgan. In 2016, the show’s name changed to Extra Camp. Swash is still there.
Gino D’Acampo (2009)
The Italian chef was a winner thanks to his culinary prowess. Animal rights activists, however, weren’t so thrilled with Gino killing and cooking a rat when contestants were particularly hungry.
Stacey Solomon (2010)
OHMYGOHD, OHMYGOHD, OHMYGOHD.
Charlie Brooks (2012)
EastEnders’ Janine Butcher was a deserved winner, especially considering herself and her young daughter Kiki were denied the opportunity to see each other when the actress failed to choose “the right door” during one of the show’s trials.
Kian Egan (2013)
Still can’t believe Westlife’s mouthpiece beat Joey Essex to be King of the Jungle. Joey had such a journey in there; he learned how to tell the time, godnammit!
Scarlett Moffatt (2016)
One of those rare souls who manages to be both the voice of reason while delivering some serious clangers, Moffatt sacrificed her spot on Channel 4’s Gogglebox to appear on I’m a Celeb. Whether it was the right decision or not is currently still up for debate.
Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo (2017)
Bubbly, blonde, relentlessly positive and frightfully well off, the millions of people watching the Made in Chelsea star possibly didn’t want to like her but had absolutely no choice in the matter. Some claim she’s a beacon of hope for humanity.
Others would simply say she’s “proper sound”.
Given most of the winners over the last few years have been reality stars, there is still a chance that reality TV will, in fact, consume itself.
Until that point, I’ll still find myself being drawn in for the same reason every year; you can’t beat a bit of heat in the run-up to Christmas.
I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! 2018 starts this Sunday, November 18, on ITV and Virgin Media One at 9pm