Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff’ has won the inaugural title of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
The UK cricketer defeated AFL champ Barry Hall and media personality Chrissie Swan, who took second and third place, respectively.
Flintoff, who entered the series as an intruder in the third week, secured $100,000 for his chosen charity, The McGrath Foundation. His lively personality and cheeky banter made him a favourite amongst the resident cast members.
Amongst the challenges he faced were dangling high above a dam wall, hanging from a helicopter, slimed in elephant dung and eating a rat’s tail, scorpion and hissing cockroach. There was also the curious ‘bromance’ that emerged with co-host Dr. Chris Brown.
“You’re just like me but better,” he told the doctor.
Last night Chrissie Swan was the first of three finalists to be eliminated, ending any suggestion that a social media controversy back home would lead to enough sympathy votes to win the series. Ex-AFL star Barry Hall, competing for The Shane Warne Foundation, had to settle for second place.
TEN’s series, designed to spearhead its 2015 ratings season, attracted excellent pre-publicity ahead of the launch. There’s little doubt it lifted the network’s Year on Year performance, however regular simulcasting on two, or even three, channels makes it impossible to ascertain direct comparisons. It also scored well on social media.
But it was not without some behind the scenes drama with renowned producer Peter Abbott being mysteriously asked to return to Australia, in what is rumoured to have seen “too many cooks” overseeing production.
But the series has arguably been a winner for those who participated, elevating the star of lesser-known personalities including Tyson Mayr, Joel Creasy and Anna Heinrich while former Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick has won a new legion of fans and has paved the way for further opportunities in Australia.
Hosts Julia Moris and Dr. Chris Brown were also widely-praised for their on-screen chemistry and for bringing a little comedy to early evening timeslots.
TEN is yet to confirm if the show will be renewed for a second season.