Joe Swash and Dean Gaffney are set to join I’m A Celebrity… South Africa on Tuesday night.
Joe, 41, and Dean, 45, both previously appeared in the regular Australian jungle in the 2008 and 2006 series respectively – but are making their return for the All Stars episodes.
They are set to join Amir Khan, Jordan Banjo, Helen Flanagan, Carol Vorderman, Fatima Whitbread, Paul Burrell, Phil Tufnell, Janice Dickinson, Myleene Klass, Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo and Andy Whyment – who are all already in camp.
The Eastenders actors will arrive on screens mid-way through the ITV show – as they take part in a ‘flipping disgusting’ trial.
All the campmates survived the Australian jungle, but South Africa is an even harder proposition which will push them to their limits and test them like never before.
New arrivals: Former I’m A Celebrity winner Joe Swash, 41, is set to join the South Africa camp on Monday night
Fresh face: Dean Gaffney, 45, is another new addition after previously appearing on the 2006 series
The challenges are bigger and tougher and the environment harsher and more unforgiving. With no public vote, they will be competing against each other in a battle to become the first ever ‘I’m A Celebrity Legend’.
Former I’m A Celebrity champion Joe Swash has admitted if it weren’t for his Australian jungle experience, he would never have met his now wife, Stacey Solomon.
Joe, who won the hit ITV show in 2008, went on to present I’m A Celebrity’s spin-off series a year after being crowned ‘King of the Jungle’.
In 2010, he met Stacey, who had also just won the series, and the pair started dating. They have since gone on to have three children together and the happy couple tied the knot in 2022.
‘I’m A Celebrity holds a big place in my heart,’ confided the 40-year-old.
‘I won it and I was lucky enough to go on to present the spin-off series on ITV2 for ten years.
‘I met Stacey whilst I was out in Australia and me and Stacey have now married and we have had kids. Doing the all-stars series is closure. It finishes off the circle.
‘Stacey is over the moon about me doing it. The jungle holds a big part in both our hearts. Without the jungle, we wouldn’t have each other. In a way, we owe it to the jungle to say goodbye.’
Back with a bang: Joe and Dean will face a ‘flipping disgusting’ challenge as they re-enter the jungle
Return: The two new arrivals are set to shake-up the camp after Shaun Ryder and Gillian McKeith departed
Over the years, Joe, who also won Dancing on Ice in 2020, has taken part in many Bushtucker Trials as part of his presenting role on the spin-off series but the TV star admitted he is nervous about what lies ahead in South Africa.
‘I have done so many Trials but they don’t get any easier,’ he reveals. ‘I find them hard and I especially hate the eating Trials. I do think I am going to struggle. I am a bit of a gagger and screamer!’
‘But when I see Ant & Dec, the first thing I am going to say to them is ‘hello boys!’ I haven’t seen them for a while and it will be nice to see them again as well as the rest of the team on I’m A Celebrity.’
Reflecting on why he loved doing the programme so much, Joe said the jungle experience gave him the confidence to believe in himself.
He explained: ‘Doing I’m A Celebrity did change me – in a nice way. Before I went in, I always thought of myself as an imposter and I felt I wasn’t meant to be there. Doing the jungle gave me the confidence to believe in myself and it was a huge turning point in my life and career.
‘I can’t express enough my gratitude for the fact I met Stacey on the back of it, had my kids and it gave me a whole different direction with my career. Everything I am doing now stems from 14 years ago going in the jungle.’
As well as meeting his now wife, Joe said he will always be grateful for making so many new friends around the campfire.
He also admitted he loves watching the series at home. ‘One of my standout best moments was when Stacey was on a secret mission and she had to get Dom Joly’s attention, so she threw a stone,’ he adds.
Happy family: Joe credits I’m A Celebrity for introducing him to his now-wife, Stacey Solomon
‘Dom was sleeping at the time and it accidentally landed in his eye! I love watching people unravel. You can’t go on I’m A Celebrity and have a game plan.
‘I also love watching the Trials and I think the reason why the show works so well is Ant & Dec. They are people’s people. You watch them and you think you could be mates with them’.
As for whether he would like to be crowned the first I’m A Celebrity Legend, Joe admitted it would be ‘amazing’.
‘Of course it would be amazing to be crowned the champion,’ he added. ‘But I am mainly doing this programme to say thank you to the jungle and put a full stop at the end of the journey.
‘My eldest son, Harry, was one when I did the jungle and he is 16 now! I want the kids to watch I’m A Celebrity… South Africa and for both of us to be able to tell them ‘I’m A Celebrity is where mummy and daddy met’. The jungle is always going to be a big part of our family.’
Meanwhile former EastEnders actor Dean Gaffney admitted he re-watches his infamous I’m A Celebrity live Trial whenever he needs cheering up as he joked ‘my pain is everyone else’s gain!’
Dean, best known to millions as EastEnders’ Robbie Jackson, also admitted 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,’ said Dean. ‘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 laughed as he went 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.’
The new arrivals are set to join the camp after viewers were in hysterics during Monday’s episode as Georgia Toffolo unleashed her savage tongue on Janice Dickinson.
Former Made In Chelsea star Georgia, 28, was a late entry into the all stars spin-off version of the jungle series last week and she has been getting on well with her campmates ever since.
But during Monday’s instalment, the reality personality, who won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! when she appeared on the show the first time in 2017, risked upsetting Janice Dickinson who is seen camping out in Kruger National Park with her.
American Janice, 68, was one of the most prolific supermodels of the 70s and 80s and she has argued she was actually the worlds first supermodel.
But, as Janice was seen sitting in camp with a bushy head of crimped hair this week, Georgia risked upsetting her as she compared her to hairy unqualified wizard Rubeus Hagrid from the Harry Potter books and films.
I’m A Celebrity…South Africa airs weeknights at 9pm on ITV1 & ITVX.