Former EastEnders actor Dean Gaffney has admitted he re-watches his infamous I’m A Celebrity live Trial whenever he needs cheering up as he jokes “my pain is everyone else’s gain!”
Dean, best known to millions as EastEnders’ Robbie Jackson, also admits people still stop him in the streets after he first appeared on the series to talk to him about his Bushtucker Trial that famously saw him scream his way through a jungle spa.
The actor competed live on air in the spa Trial which included being forced to put his head in a bowl for a hair wash with cockroaches, remove stars with his feet whilst surrounded by crabs and put his hand in a box of green ants. Dean, wearing a bathrobe the whole time, has since gone down in I’m A Celebrity folklore as one of viewers’ funniest contestants to watch because he screamed so much.
“That live Trial became folklore,” says Dean today, laughing as he does. “Every year it gets wheeled out as one of the best moments, so even if I want to forget it I can’t! People still stop me in the street and chat to me about the Trial. And whenever I am having a bad day, I put the Trial on and it makes me feel better. My pain is everyone else’s gain!”
“My camp highlight is definitely the moment I saw the ‘exit’ sign!”
“I’ve visited South Africa before with some of the EastEnders cast and I know the all-stars version is going to be a different kettle of fish. You have got lions, cheetahs and elephants. I don’t know how I am going to feel if I’m faced with a lion. And if I have to drink a milkshake full of lion, then that is not going to be nice either! It’s going to be a whole new set of challenges in South Africa.”
He laughs as he goes on to add that the first thing he will say to Ant & Dec when he sees them again is why did they put on such an awful spa Trial. “They have fond memories of the Trial but I certainly don’t,” he jokingly adds. “We will probably speak about it when I see them. But I think I am worse now than when I was younger when it comes to fears. Everything scares me.”
Likening the I’m A Celebrity Trials to a fast roller coaster ride, he says “Doing I’m A Celebrity is like getting on a rollercoaster. When you are waiting in the queue, you are fine; but once you are on the rollercoaster, you can’t get off and I feel like that now.”
Thanks to I’m A Celebrity, Dean says he became famous for something other than playing his soap character. Explains the actor: “After I came out, Chris Moyles spent a week on the radio asking listeners to try to work out what I said when I put my head in with the rats as nobody could understand what I did say!”
A fan of the programme, is Dean doing the South African series to win? “It would be a massive trajectory to go from ‘screamer of the year in 2006’ to go and win the thing,” he replies. “That would be unbelievable. But the camp will be fierce because everyone wants to be the first I’m A Celebrity Legend.”
Determined not to be this series’ camp screamer, Dean adds: “My daughters were ten when I did the Australian jungle and they didn’t care if I screamed or not. They are 27 now and I think if I was screaming they would be a bit embarrassed.”