Harry Redknapp’s jungle journey has come to an end, and if you don’t want a spoiler, read this wonderful tweet at the end. Who could have summed up Redknapp’s I’m a Celebrity run better than Mauricio Pochettino, anyway?
"One trophy for us," says MP, when told Harry Redknapp was crowned king of the jungle.— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) December 10, 2018
Ramble of the Day
The last couple of nights in the jungle became ones of reflection and appreciation because, for possibly the first time in history, everyone on a given reality show likes each other and everyone watching at home likes them all, too. (At the very least, The last group Bushtucker trial was a celebration of each other, and each dinner experience was the same, especially coupled with discussion topics. Even the moments where all they did was pass time was about the collective, as were individual moments. It was hard not to wear a smile on your face, or feel the tears in your eyes as the incredibly dramatic opening sequence of the finale played.
At the start of the penultimate episode, though, Harry Redknapp was complaining about his lack of sleep the night before. He attributed this to drinking hot chocolate the night before, something he had shockingly never tried before. Part of what John Barrowman called “the fantastic four” with Emily Atack and Fleur East, they embraced their last Bushtucker trial in capes and superhero underwear and participated in the Celebrity Cyclone. Redknapp did well enough for himself in this manufactured cyclone, laying on top of an inflatable star and staying there, but it was East who performed excellently. She was the last to join the cyclone, and when water washed her, Redknapp, and Atack away, she dragged Redknapp to his marker in the pool and swam as quickly as she could to hers with a second or two to spare. Redknapp fully recognized that his friend had helped him out quite a bit, and later sarcastically rejoiced about the possible wallaby wings for dinner.
His prediction was ultimately wrong. The group was delivered kangaroo after they put on Jungle: The Musical. Redknapp had a small role, performing an interpretive dance and singing “Do the Riggle” while the rest recapped the show thus far, but let’s get back to that kangaroo. East noted that Redknapp had gotten into a habit: step one, complain about the meat choice and declare he’ll never eat it; step two, eat it and give it a positive review. That was the case once again, and after enjoying his dinner, he listened to his fellow camp mates sing Christmas songs.
Eventually, the camp members began listing their favorite and least favorite moments. Redknapp, of course, voted for the feast that saw featured jam roly poly as his favorite part of the journey, while being in a doll’s house was the worst. In the morning, we all had to say goodbye to East, who called Redknapp her jungle father and bet on him to win. It was difficult for...me to part with her, I’ll admit. I think Redknapp handled it well, but the most emotional part of the series came in its finale after the aforementioned opening sequence.
Atack, Barrowman, and Redknapp had to do individual trials to cap off their time in the jungle, with Redknapp having to go into what essentially is a coffin and live with bugs and rats for five minutes. He was bitten and was visibly scared of the rats, but he did not want to let Atack and Barrowman down and completed his challenge. His reaction was one of pride and pushback: “My mates told me I’d only last two days,” he said, as they believed he would miss football and his family too much. “I’m still here,” he proclaimed. At that moment, there was not a doubt in my mind that he could go all the way.
The group enjoyed a glamorous three-course final dinner, with Redknapp enjoying squid and tartar sauce, pasta, and sticky toffee pudding. He admitted that he was shocked that he didn’t order jam roly poly, and envisioned a life where he and wife Sandra open up a shop called Sandra’s Jam Roly Polys, which I hope will exist in the near future. He mentioned “jam roly poly” four times overall.
Barrowman was voted third, leaving Redknapp and Atack to do exit interviews before the winner was crowned. A montage of Redknapp’s eliminated camp mates showering him with praise for his humor and heart of gold played, and the man himself was incredibly insightful. “I learned to laugh” again in the jungle, he said. “You’re not one of the boys” and cannot mingle with the players as much as a football manager, something that makes the life incredibly lonely, he added. He was afraid that he had nothing in common with anyone in the group, but admitted that it was them that kept him going in this incredibly tough time.
It was clear, not just from him but from everyone else, that each and every one of them had lifted each other up and had made some serious friendships along the way. How they managed to do that is beyond me, but it is a genuinely nice thing to watch. In some ways, it wss a genuinely inspiring show that had a mix of all of the right things, something I did not think I would get out of a reality show or even enjoy out of one. Enough about that, though; you’re wondering who won.
It was always going to be him, wasn’t it? All of the work I put into watching this show — I mean, all of the work Redknapp put into surviving on this show paid off, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. It’s a weird thing to say, “proud,” because I technically have no skin in the game. Redknapp didn’t mean much to me before, I’ll admit. I came only for the entertainment value, and because I thought he’d struggle. What I left, though, was with respect for a genuinely funny and wonderful man who I would love to meet and chat with over a jam roly poly or two.
tl;dr: Harry Redknapp won!
Links of the Day
Chelsea has banned four people after Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was racially abused at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
FC Barcelona is no longer interested in playing a league game against Girona in Miami, but is open to future opportunities when “there is agreement between all parties involved.”
Manchester City’s Phil Foden has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the until 2024.
Today’s longer read: Jacob Steinberg interviews Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong on being a passionate fan of the game and rising fame for The Guardian