Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards has won the first series of ITV1’s celebrity diving show Splash! after fighting off competition from Jake Canuso and Linda Barker in Saturday’s final.
The 49-year-old former Olympic skiier – who had been the bookies’ favourite to triumph – dropped just one point on the judges’ scoreboard during the final, as well as winning the hearts of public voters.
He scored the only perfect 30 of the series from the judges for his first dive – a two and a half somersault from the 10m diving board – while his second dive, a synchronised effort alongside Tom Daley, won him a further 29 points from the panel.
Benidorm star Jake Canuso finished in second place, while Changing Rooms presenter Linda Barker – who once again dazzled the crowd in a series of skimpy bikinis – finished third.
Eddie admitted afterwards he had had a “fantastic” time on the show, adding: “The audience has been wonderful, thank you for getting behind me.”
Earlier in the show he was revealed to have had a difficult week with a series of painful back and belly flops during training.
However he rallied to win rave reviews from the judges, with Jo Brand telling him after his first dive: ‘You just need to master hang gliding and you could be the next Milk Tray man.’
Fellow judge Andy Banks added: “That was more than special – you nailed it.”
His inward one and a half pike synchronised dive with Tom Daley was also a hit with the panel, with Leon Taylor calling it “Olympic standard” and Jo Brand adding: “I’m now looking forward to seeing Tom doing some synchronised skiing with Eddie.”
The show also saw a number of previous contestants including comedian Omid Djalili, TOWIE star Joey Essex and boxer Anthony Ogogo return to cheer on the finalists.
The latter had been heavily tipped as a possible winner until an Achilles injury forced him to pull out of the semi-final live on air last Saturday night.