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'Heroic' Joey brings home the bacon

A "heroic" Joey Essex was the man of the hour in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! after braving two critter-filled bush tucker trials in one show.

Essex, 23, retrieved eight meal tickets from a dank, rat-infested cave he compared to a "black coffin".

He scored even better in a ghoulish talent show, Critters Got Talent, which pitched his singing and dancing skills against roaches, worms and dwarf crocodiles.

But the Only Way Is Essex star faced a rival for the ladies in newcomer Vincent Simone, who took a shower in a pair of tight white swimming trunks.

The episode cemented Essex's position as the favourite punch bag of Celebrity viewers, who have voted five times to drop him in it.

He had an early fright on the way to his trial when he mistook a monitor lizard for a dragon, but was soon squirming and swatting at himself in the tomb-like Cave of Claws.

"Oh my God, this is ridiculous. This is so scary. Er, it's muddy and that," he said, unaware that rats and insects were about to crawl all over him.

"Oh, mate, they're all licking me and that. They're taking to me and that. It's well hard, you can't see nothing," he said, then: "Oh, mate, it's biting my middle parts! It's going up my trousers! This is not reem. This is definitely not reem. This is definitely, 100% not reem!"

His second trial saw him struggle to sing, dance, play the piano and and crack jokes while assaulted by creepy crawlies.

The perpetually-surprised star seemed to be having a whale of a time as he rummaged in a tank full of dwarf crocodiles to search through joke punchlines like "Jugs" and "massive dingo".

He also tried and failed to sing Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive from inside a Perspex helmet flooded with insects.

But he won maximum points in the next round when Fresh Prince star Alfonso Ribeiro correctly guessed his mimed versions of YMCA and Stayin' Alive.

His labours were rewarded when ex-model Annabel Giles praised him as "heroic".

Meanwhile Simone, a professional dancer and Strictly Come Dancing stalwart who was voted Rear of the Year in May, impressed the women by "parading" in tight white and leopard skin trunks.

Fashion designer David Emanuel sniggered at his "pert butt" and said he had "paraded like a peacock", but Ribeiro was less impressed, calling it "uncomfortable".

Emanuel said: "He's obviously very proud of his body, he's proud of everything that goes with it. It was quite a performance."

"It's going to be tough on Joey," said snooker champion Steve Davis. "He's under pressure with Vincent in the camp. Are Amy's eyes moving from Joey to a bit of Italian meat?"

Elsewhere, the 12 campmates were divided into four teams of three to vie for a 24-hour holiday with flushing toilets, soft loo roll, a bed, and proper food.

A cheesy advertising pitch featuring Dec brandishing an enormous sandwich warned losers they would share a disused coach with critters in the aptly-named Roach Trip.

Davis and Kian Egan vowed to win it for Laila Morse, who played "Big Mo" Harris in EastEnders and remains the oldest campmate.

Egan's team beat Lucy Pargeter, Simone and Ribeiro in a challenge to drain and spit out foul-smelling cocktails of garlic and pulped lamb's hearts.

In a tranquil evening at camp, Essex learned the difference between lettuce and cabbage while his triumph in the Cave of Claws netted five quails for the team.

But loss in the cocktails challenge was too much for Ribeiro, who was already suffering from a bad back and was pushed over the edge by a request to do the washing-up.

He said: "I reached a point today when I was chosen to clean up the dishes - for whatever reason, I was chosen - and it just felt like, OK, my back feels like I have a knife driving through it and somebody feels like I wasn't carrying my weight.

"It's just breaking me. I don't know how much more I can take."

Chat show host Matthew Wright was unimpressed, saying: "If we're going to be absolutely fair, he hasn't done much in the camp since the day he arrived, and there was a little lack of good grace."

Ribeiro was cheered by comfort and jokes from Emanuel, who pleaded with him not to leave the jungle.


From Belfast Telegraph