On 17th of February, Freddie Flintoff was dropped in the African jungle, and within minutes was caught in a net trap, hoisted in the middle of the air. He relied on Australian Masterchef winner Julie Goodwin to launch monkeys at a target in order to release him. After this, he and Julie were forced to spend a night in an inhospitable bunker far away from civilization before they could join the camp of Celebrities. Freddie’s capper for the day was “I should have just done the dancing show”.
That was essentially the Freddie Flintoff experience – all he could do with the ridiculousness around him was make funnies, regardless of whether or not the situation called for it. It made him friends, but it just as often consistently made him enemies, especially with those who had no sense of humour. Barry Hall once threatened to punch his head in for sitting on his bed, after it became clear Freddie was sitting on his bed just to make him angry, in one of the more intense moments of the show’s run, but Freddie never let it deter him from his act of being a funny asshole towards those who required it, and repeatedly and consistently brought the bed incident up in a combination of elaborate or subtle ways, such as spending a moment alone at camp simply just to sit on Barry’s bed just for the spite of it all.
The entry cannot pass, however, without mentioning the season-long hilarious rivalry between Freddie and host Dr. Chris Brown, with whom he held a barely withheld amusement for. Whilst Chris would always attempt to get in a one-line dig against Freddie, Freddie would always, with no exception, be prepared for one to hit him right back with. Even in the Tucker Trials, where Freddie was subject to any number of bizarre and gross tasks determined to gross him out and test his endurance, Freddie would get it back to Chris Brown by bear hugging him whilst covered in slime or pushing his face into a cockroach shake. Whatever the cost, Freddie managed to extend their rivalry into a season-long plot and with a season with not too much happening outside of Joel and Chrissie making fun of alpha sportspeople or Maureen McCormick’s spiritual journey, it was a welcome addition.
In spite of his dire lack of conventional likeable qualities, such as him being an asshole who picked on Australian sportspeople, and him not even being an Australian on an Australian show, Freddie managed to pull out a victory against Barry Hall in the Final Two and win the show. Whilst Chrissie, the third member of the final three, would have been by far a more desirable outcome, Freddie was the next best thing at that point in the show. How often did the show need dissenters putting Barry, Merv or Daddo in their place? The answer to that was “not nearly enough”, and Freddie provided in much-needed droves.