The hugely successful UK reality TV series: I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! came to its conclusion over the weekend, with former health secretary Matt Hancock surprisingly finishing in a very creditable third position.
After his controversial arrival into the jungle, many pundits had been predicting that he would be gone inside the first week; but as it turned out, he made it to the very last day and in fairness to him, apart from the occasional slip, he gave a good account of himself.
However, the debate still persists as to whether it was right for him to leave his constituency for the best part of a month, and get paid an obscene amount of money for doing so, believed to be in the region of £400,000, of which he apparently had pledged to give a percentage to charities.
Wanted to show his true self
The final three were from completely different walks of life, with Mr Hancock joined by England Women’s footballer Jill Scott, and “Hollyoaks” soap star Owen Warner. When interviewed by the show’s resident hosts Ant (McPartlin) and Dec (Donnelly) the politician said he wanted to let the watching public see “what he was like as a person.”
He added that he believed that lots of people would have pre-conceived ideas about him, for obvious reasons, so just wanted to be himself and let others judge for themselves. He felt that people in his profession never come across as being human enough, so the programme was possibly the most extreme way of displaying his true self.
Difficult conversations with fellow camp-mates
For the final week the public have been voting for which camp-mates they wanted to keep in, so to get to the last three naturally gave Mr Hancock a big lift and lot of encouragement that maybe he had changed a few opinions. He had initially been the subject of relentless voting for him to take part in some unpleasant trials and had also been grilled by his fellow celebrities about some of the decisions he took during Covid, and subsequent lockdowns.
He said some of those conversations were really enjoyable and a release, because he could say exactly what he thought, but accepted they were also emotional at times, both for him and some of the others, although he was quick to point out that they were carried out in a “really grown-up way” and that despite emotions running high, there was “no aggro”. He acknowledged that his participation was controversial, but was really pleased he had done it.
Partner there to greet him after his elimination
As he left he was greeted by his partner Gina Coladangelo, who he was caught kissing on CCTV in 2021, which ultimately led to his resignation from his cabinet position. Social distancing guidelines, which Mr Hancock had helped devise, were in place at the time they were pictured smooching and he faced an avalanche of complaints and criticism when the footage was released.
Hancock proved he had a head for the trials
Earlier he had took part in his last trial which necessitated him placing his head in a tank of water, breathing through a snorkel for five minutes, whilst various creatures were added to around his face which included giant eels, toads, yabbies and water spiders.
The programme has been running for over twenty years in the UK and is established as one of the most popular, regularly attracting over eight million viewers every night to watch celebrities often humiliated in extremely challenging living conditions.
The cast of 2022
The rest of this years cast were made up of: former rugby player and nephew-in-law to King Charles III, Mike Tindall; Culture Club singer Boy George; DJ Chris Moyles; comedians Babatunde Aléshé and Seann Walsh; another soap star Sue Cleaver from Coronation Street; and presenters Charlene White from ITV news and lifestyle TV’s Scarlette Douglas.
Watchdog confirmed that government rules had been broken
Anti-corruption watchdog chairman Lord Pickles said that Mr Hancock had broken government rules on post-ministerial jobs by not consulting them before joining up with the TV show, but he conceded that he believed that taking action against the MP would be disproportionate.
The former health secretary had argued he did not need to get clearance by arguing that “one-off media appearances such as this do not count as an appointment or employment.”
Before his arrival, he had said he hoped he might be able to generate some forgiveness, something repeated to his camp-mates when asked why he had decided to do the show. Whether that has been achieved is open to debate. Many people were not given the opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones during the pandemic, due to rules introduced by Mr Hancock, yet he blatantly ignored them.
Forgiveness not an option
That was inexcusable, as too was his presiding over the hospital discharge policy which saw elderly patients, some of whom it turned out had Covid, moved into care homes. It allowed the disease to spread rapidly and many thousands in those homes, died in the first stages of the lockdown.
Forgiveness from those quarters would be almost impossible, and indeed he will more than likely have infuriated them even further, by not actually apologising with any sincerity, even though the show gave him the perfect platform to do so.
Winner crowns a fabulous year for herself
The actual winner, Jill Scott was a very popular winner, with even Mr Hancock stating he hoped she would be crowned “queen of the jungle” when he was eventually voted off. She has had a wonderful year with this success following her greatest moment in football during the summer, when she was part of the winning England Euro team.
The 35-year-old retired on a high, but was still largely an unknown alongside some of the other contestants and was considered an “outsider” to even make it to the final week, never mind win it. However, the public warmed to her no-nonsense attitude, humility, positivity and sense of humour.
Teamwork the key to success
She said after the announcement of her victory: “I think I am going to owe my grandma a lot of money for the 12 million votes she has done!” Then humbly she added that she did not think there should be one winner, as none of them could have got through it without the help of the others.
The “Lioness” played a remarkable 161 times for her country between 2006 and 2022 and attributed the experience of playing so long in different teams, as to being a possible reason why she had been able to cope so admirably with all that was thrown at her… literally.