Entertainment & Arts

'King' Harry Redknapp helps make I'm A Celebrity 2018 a ratings hit

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Media captionThe moment Harry Redknapp found out he had won

Almost 11 million viewers tuned in live to see Harry Redknapp crowned King of the Jungle on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, overnight ratings show.

The ex-Tottenham and West Ham manager beat fellow finalists Emily Atack and John Barrowman on the ITV reality show.

He was a popular winner and the programme itself has been a hit this year, with an average of 10.8 million watching Sunday's final live.

Those are the highest ratings the show's final has had for five years.

Another 170,000 watched on ITV+1. Last year, an average of 9.2 million watched live to see Georgia "Toff" Toffolo crowned.

Redknapp became the show's oldest ever winner at 71 and said it was "so surreal" to emerge victorious.

'Taught me to laugh again'

"My grandkids will be jumping around the living room now. They'll be so excited," he said after being crowned.

He said he didn't think he would survive so long in the show, and praised his campmates for being "amazing" and pulling him through.

While he has a "very happy home life", he added that football can be a "lonely business" and the show had "taught me how to laugh again".

But he admitted he had struggled with the meagre rations - and unusual foods - and that he thought the contestants would get well-fed with a "nice bit of grub" every night.

Image copyright James Gourley/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Host Holly Willoughby said more than 11 million votes were cast in this year's final.

"Harry was the favourite all the way though," TV critic Emma Bullimore told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"With all of his little idiosyncrasies and little catchphrases, he was absolutely brilliant entertainment value and a very worthy winner.

"There was no game plan, there was no pretence, he was just himself. He came across as such a genuinely nice man."

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Atack said the experience had changed her life

Atack came second and said she was "honoured" to be in the final two with Redknapp.

She said she had met "so many amazing souls" on the show, and discovered a new-found love and respect for herself.

The Inbetweeners star said: "It's changed my life in so many ways. I came into this with a bit of a difficult start to the year.

"I didn't really know what I was doing and where I wanted to go and this place has just given me so me so much self-acceptance."

Willoughby made the actress promise to never cover up her freckles again, after Atack said: "This is my skin, this is my hair - this is what I look like."

Image copyright ITV

Barrowman came in third place, and said I'm a Celebrity had been one of the best experiences of his life.

The actor and singer appeared emotional as he told Willoughby and Donnelly: "I can't tell you how happy I am."

This year's contestants have been put through a series of Bushtucker trials involving snakes, cockroaches and other creatures.

They've also had to negotiate assault courses blindfolded, bake cakes while plastered in treacle and climb through "sickening sewers" in order to win food and other necessities.

The trio had to each carry out a final trial in order to win treats for their last supper together, after 23 days in the jungle.

'Great show'

Barrowman had to eat a range of gruesome items like worms, a dead spider, goats' eyes and a bull's penis.

Atack had to wear a helmet filled with insects while Redknapp's trial saw him trapped in an underground chamber while rats and bugs ran over him in the pitch black.

The former football manager was the bookies' favourite to win this year's series, despite having never watched the show before.

After leaving the show and being shown his highlights, he said: "Great show, innit?"

Many viewers agreed. Lots thought it was one of the best series in the show's 16-year history, and Redknapp was one of the most popular winners.

Ten celebrities headed into the Australian jungle in November, where they were later joined by Noel Edmonds.

In the absence of his normal partner Ant McPartlin, Declan Donnelly hosted the show with Willoughby.

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