Page last updated at 23:35 GMT, Friday, 5 December 2008

Swash crowned king of the jungle


Joe Swash is announced as the winner

Former EastEnders actor Joe Swash has been voted as the winner of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

The star beat former Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova to be crowned "king of the jungle", with ex-Star Trek actor George Takei finishing in third place.

Swash, 26, who played Mickey Miller in EastEnders, said: "I can't believe I'm the last one out of here."

He is the eighth winner of the ITV1 series, which challenges celebrities to live in an Australian jungle camp.

"It's been an amazing three weeks - it's been everything, it's been ups, it's been downs," Swash told presenters Ant and Dec after being announced as the winner.


"It was just a lovely experience and I'm definitely coming out a much more mature man than I was when I went in there."

He said the worst trial he had faced while in the jungle was eating bush tucker.

Swash, who was axed from EastEnders in February, formed a close relationship with Takei, whom he called "Gorgeous George", and was well-liked by his fellow campmates, who described him as "charismatic", "down-to-earth", and "funny".

Martina Navratilova and George Takei
Martina Navratilova and George Takei finished second and third

He was crowned by a former winning contestant, singer Matt Willis, and his wife, TV presenter Emma Griffiths.

When asked on ITV2 what would be the first thing he would do when he left the jungle, Swash replied: "I want to get home and phone my sisters, my little boy and my girlfriend and the rest will follow."

After leaving the camp, Navratilova, 52, said she had taken on the challenge of being in the jungle as she had not known what the show was about.

"I learnt I can adjust pretty well to any situation and creepy crawlies weren't as bad as I thought they were," she said.

'Savoury and nutty'

Earlier, Takei, who played Mr Sulu in Star Trek, described his time in the jungle as an "unforgettable experience" saying: "The greatest gift has been the friendships I have made."

On their last day, the finalists each had to complete a bush tucker trial to win a three-course meal for camp.

2007 - Christopher Biggins
2006 - Matt Willis
2005 - Carol Thatcher
2004 - Joe Pasquale
2003 - Kerry Katona
2002 - Phil Tufnell
2001 - Tony Blackburn

Swash successfully lay in a pitch-black hole for 10 minutes, with rats and eels for company, to win three fully prepared starters with drinks, although he added afterwards: "I smell like a hamster."

Takei, the show's oldest contest at 71, was subjected to its infamous bush tucker eating trial to win main courses for the group.

He described eating cockroaches as "quite savoury and nutty" and locusts as "crunchy and toasty".

However, eating a "rubbery" kangaroo's penis was "the final straw" and he passed on eating a camel's testicle to win a special treat.

Navratilova's head was locked into a sphere that was filled with insects, spiders and snakes to also successfully win three desserts for camp.

Ten celebrities initially entered the jungle, before former children's TV presenter Timmy Mallett and former Dollar singer David Van Day caused waves as late additions to the camp.

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