Former England footballer Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne has been crowned the winner of new Channel 4 reality show Scared Of The Dark.
Gascoigne fended off competition from seven other famous faces, after spending 180 hours in complete darkness, living, eating, sleeping and completing challenges.
The series, billed as a “world first”, came to a conclusion on Thursday with the winner announced by host Danny Dyer.
“People always question my mental strength but my success on this series proves that I am strong,” he said.
“I was nervous going in there but having gotten this far on the series made me the happiest man around.
“I’m so happy. It’s unbelievable. I’ve got my smile back. I’m a better person.”
During the course of the series, aired on five consecutive nights, the team endured the mounting psychological pressures of light deprivation while taking on the “faceless” challenges.
Failing challenges resulted in the loss of further privileges, although wins earned them treats and precious time in the light.
At any time the contestants could leave the show by declaring “I’m scared of the dark”.
Throughout the series the celebrities were monitored by psychologist Dr T, who was on hand to explain the emotional and psychological effects of the experience.
“The way that he has been so open about his emotions and talking about his mental health, I feel like that’s probably the most remarkable thing that’s happened,” former Love Islander Burrows said.
Actress Preston said: “This journey for him has been really, really hard and I think he just needs to be really proud of himself.”
Gascoigne also praised his fellow celebrities, adding: I’m really honoured to have won but in my eyes, all my fellow Scared Of The Dark celebrities are winners.
“They all did really well and I really enjoyed spending those eight days getting to know them in the dark. We worked so well as a team.”
The final episode of Scared Of The Dark aired on Thursday on Channel 4, with all five episodes available to watch via All4.