In the end, there’s no matte trick for I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’s most controversial contestant. After nearly three weeks, more than a dozen bushtucker attempts, and the occasional weird dance, Matt Hancock’s jungle odyssey has come to an end. The former British Health Secretary takes third place in the ‘I’m a Celebrity’ final, defying predictions he would be the first contestant to be eliminated by an angry British public.
Hancock is the first candidate to be voted out in the three-way decider (Virgin Media One, Sunday 9pm) that will see former England and Manchester City footballer Jill Scott crowned Queen of the Jungle, ahead of the Hollyoaks -Soap star Owen Warner.
Matt Hancock won his roommates over primarily because he was willing to endure the pain and humiliation of bushtucker attempts and give them those all-important mealtime perks
It’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks for Hancock, who has reportedly made £400k or €465k for his time in the jungle. When he parachuted into the competition a few days after the first competitors arrived in the Australian jungle, it seemed likely that he was prompting the departure of several competitors in protest. But he won them over – largely because he was willing to endure the pain and humiliation of the bushtucker exams and provide his roommates with those all-important mealtime perks.
Rising once more to the somber moment in the finale, he retains his dignity as he is dunked in water and forced to share the tank with a lobster, several eels and some Australian mollusks, all of whom make a beeline for his crotch.
“People think they know me, but they don’t,” he tells the reality show hosts Ant and Dec after becoming the first finalist to be eliminated.
Recalling that his participation was controversial, Hancock reiterates his mantra that he wanted to show that politicians are not stiff in suits, but people who, like everyone else, contain multitudes. “We all have many facets of our personalities.” He added, “I just wanted to show who I am as a person. Many people come to me with preconceived notions for many reasons. And I just wanted to be myself.”
Three weeks under the canopy may have humanized Hancock, but his team in the UK has quietly championed him with an elaborate TikTok operation that’s believed to have led to a wave of younger viewers voting for him.
As the rest of the I’m a Celebrity class of 2022 looks on, Jill Scott is excited to be crowned Queen of the Jungle. “The most genuine person in there,” says fellow competitor Mike Tindall, the former England rugby player
Still, those votes aren’t enough as Owen and Jill make it to the finals. As the rest of the I’m a Celebrity class of 2022 looks on, Jill is excited to be crowned Queen of the Jungle.
“The most honest person in there,” says fellow competitor Mike Tindall, the former England rugby player. “Nice person,” adds Boy George (this year’s highest-paid contestant, believed to be worth at least £500,000). “She is who she is.”
Scott is expected to earn millions in endorsements based on her win.
Hancock may feel that ITV viewers will know who he really is. Will that be enough to revive his ailing political career? He is now an independent MP – the Conservative Parliament Party suspended him for taking part, and Rishi Sunak, the UK Prime Minister, said he was “very disappointed” by the MP’s decision to leave his constituents for the reality show.
Hancock has just over a week to decide whether to propose his name to run again as a Conservative. It’s been speculated that entering the jungle is part of a plan Hancock hatched to get out of politics – he certainly didn’t waste any time thanking his TikTok followers after the finale.
However, if he decides to remain a Tory MP – and provided his constituency party does not meanwhile decide to vote him out of office as his candidate in the next UK general election – local voters will support him again or follow the example of I Am a celebrity viewer and when it comes down to it, drop it?
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