Dom Joly: Jungle fever!

Our much-reduced writer tells all about his longed-for release from a sodden camp, strange alliances, and a desperate quest for the Test score

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I'm finally out of the jungle/rainforest – rebirthed into the real world like some dazed and confused Chilean miner. For my final three days the rain was torrential, hammering down on the flimsy parachute canopy that served as our only cover for the "experience". At night the rain would blow horizontally across the camp, and I would cower in my hammock, soaking wet, trying to work out just what was preventing me from walking off the show and back into the real world.

Now I'm out, I'm still not sure. I think it's a peculiar mix of pride, stubbornness and total lack of energy brought on by a prison diet of plain rice and beans. This regime had a wonderful side effect however – I lost 24lbs in 19 days. It was like going on some boot-camp detox from hell, with somebody paying for the pleasure while the nation watches. I was half-expecting a surprise colonic, which made my disturbed sleep pattern even more fitful as I kept a watchful eye out for cascading spiders and marauding cane toads.

Most of my time in the camp was spent trying to find out what the Test match score was. Nobody would tell me anything, as part of the "experience" was total non-communication with anybody. I finally bonded with an Aussie soundman who whispered to me that it was a draw. It was like being handed a golden nugget and I skipped back into camp ecstatic at this tiny glimpse into the other world. I was rather hoping to be booted out quite early as I planned to take my son to his first Test match but, sadly, it was not to be.

Life immediately after the jungle is a whirlwind. I'm based in the übershiny Versace Hotel where I spend the day bumping into other jungle-mates and having rather stilted conversations with each of them now that the intensity of our brief relationship has diminished. As we have these cocktail party chats, marauding paparazzi hide in the lobby behind stacks of empty beer bottles trying to get covert shots up Britt Ekland's skirt. It's all so glamorous – like a cocktail party at Rio Ferdinand's.

In the camp all we seemed to talk about was food and what we were going to have when we got out. Day after day we salivated over imaginary banquets. The reality was a let down. I had a banana and a bottle of water; my appetite has decreased so much that I find it hard to contemplate large meals – long may this continue.

Meanwhile, my family has had a wonderful time waiting for my release – all the friends and family, known as "the loved ones", have become good friends, and curious alliances have formed. My six-year old son announced that Pearl Ryder, the cute two-year-old daughter of Shaun Ryder, is his girlfriend. The idea of Shaun becoming part of my family is an interesting one – I look forward to boozy Christmas get-togethers and some pretty wild grandchildren. My 10-year-old daughter has adopted the rather cute son of Stacey Solomon and is helping teach him to swim. The whole hotel has become like some weird celebrity dating service, with giggling gaggles of them dotted around the place trying to make the best of the frankly disappointing Australian summer. Everyone who gets out is immediately dragged to the nearby beach by tabloid photographers wanting that idyllic, just-released, frolicking-on-the-beach shot. The problem is that everyone ends up looking like they've just survived Hurricane Katrina and are trying to eke out a living beachcombing. We sat shivering and miserable on an exposed sand dune while being urged by the photographer to look like a loving, happy family on a dream summer break. I did my best, but I'm not sure that the results were all that convincing.

Our man's Down Under Diary: Critters, diggers, quitters and thongs

Dom Joly was finally kicked out of the I'm a Celebrity... camp last Thursday. Here are the highs and lows of his time in the jungle.

Day one He confesses he may cause tension in the celebrity camp. "I'm very confrontational. I wouldn't argue just for the laugh, but if someone pissed me off, I'd say it."

Day two He and comedian Jenny Eclair face their first challenge in a "spooky shack" filled with spiders, cockroaches and green ants.

Day three He says Gillian McKeith should "fuck off" if she's not getting anything out of the experience.

Day four His thoughts on Britt Ekland: "I thought, 'Britt Ekland, is that going to be good? Probably not. Shagged Rod Stewart. Never a good sign is it?'"

Day five He moans to the Bush Telegraph: "We got nothing for dinner because Dr Gillian McKeith couldn't operate a digger. She shouldn't be here."

Day six He tells jungle quitter Nigel Havers that he'll "see him in panto".

Day seven He's locked up in a giant lobster pot with McKeith and submerged with aquatic critters.

Day eight He loses an immunity challenge. "I lost to Lembit! Can you imagine losing to Lembit Opik? I could stand for Parliament tomorrow as the candidate for the Bogeys for Mental Reform for Penguins Party and I'd probably beat Lembit to Parliament."

Day nine He suggests McKeith's been "damaged" by her jungle experience. "I thought she was going to strip for a moment. She was doing this weird dance to the camera."

Day 10 He gets a stone in the eye as fellow "spy" Stacey Solomon tries to attract his attention.

Day 11 He convinces the camp that he's seen a "hyena pig beast" in the bushes.

Day 12 He tells the camp he's going to teach them to count to 10 in Korean. "Hoi. Sin. Remember that, by Hoisin Sauce, it means one, two sauce."

Day 13 He says that Playboy Playmate Kayla Collins is "really getting on my nerves". "She couldn't investigate her way out of a paper bag."

Day 14 He admits that he's "ready to leave". "I sit here and listen to endless conversations about shit music I hate."

Day 15 He says he's "genuinely happy" to be voted out of the jungle. On having lost two stone in weight, he boasts: "I've been wandering around the pool at the hotel in just a little thong!"

Victoria Richards

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