The Circle winner Paddy Smyth hopes his late father was looking down as he claimed victory on the show.
He was named the player’s winner and went home with £70,000 in a finale which saw Woody Cook reveal his famous parentage, and James Doran expose the facade of “Sammie”.
Tim Wilson was named the viewer’s champion and was awarded £30,000 for his spell on the Channel 4 show.
Smyth bared his vulnerabilities on The Circle, and shared his struggles with cerebral palsy and the loss of his father.
Following the surprise win on the Channel 4 show, the Irish contestant shared an emotional embrace with his sister and mother, and hoped his father would be proud.
He said of the moment he was announced winner: “My dad passed away this year.
“With my mum and my sister it was a joyous moment, because we had gone through a lot with my dad passing.
“I just wish my dad was there to see it.
“Hopefully he was there in spirit.
“My mum was just in tears. I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock. It was a mad moment, a moment I will never forget.”
Smyth felt a weight was lifted when he opened up about his disability on the show, and has learned a lot from exposing his vulnerable side.
The Circle champion said the show had helped him find acceptance: “I’ve learned not to judge a book by its cover.
“It’s also taught me to love myself for who I am, and allow myself to be loved by others.
“I have a lot of insecurities surrounding my disability and I cam in here to face them head on.
“I didn’t know what it would feel like to feel full acceptance. It was emotional.”
Learning from his time on the show and the benefits of acceptance, Smyth now intends to help others.
He revealed his future plans: “I hope to do more disabled activism work, and make sure different minority groups get noticed.”
Smyth also has plans with his fellow winner Wilson, after the pair formed a special bond during their time on The Circle.
He has proposed a travel show involving the pair, called Paddy And Tim Take Ireland, where they would explore the lesser known parts of the country.
Wilson was embraced by his partner following the finale of The Circle, after a show in which he attempted to “enter the 21st century”, and has said he intends to do more on TV.
He said: “I got a hug. It was just lovely, lovely seeing my partner, and I think he was very happy.
“I have some drawing to do. I’d like to do some theatre, some television.”
Cook came last in the final ratings, with Wilson and Doran in joint third, and Georgina Elliott taking second place.