While at first Matt Hancock joining I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! might have seemed like a delightful way to end a horrible year – everything is awful, but at least we’ll get to see a baddie choke on a kangaroo testicle before Christmas – a chilling realisation has swept through my bones. What if he actually wins?
This would be terribly upsetting. We want Hancock to remain on the show for as long as possible, in order to break his spirit, but the thought of him soaking up any level of glory from his stint in the jungle is nothing short of harrowing. So to assuage our fears, it’s time to employ some data. Will Hancock win it? Let’s break this down.
There have now been 21 series of I’m a Celebrity and 21 winners. This is useful, since it gives us an overview of what the public wants in a victor. In Hancock’s favour, men are traditionally more likely to win than women, coming first in 12 series since 2002. However, working against him is his age. While there have been a handful of older winners in the past, the average age of a king or queen of the jungle is 35.6, almost a decade younger than Hancock. Also there is his profession. The closest thing to a political winner the show has had is Carol Thatcher in 2005. And she wasn’t responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, so she had that over Hancock, too.
Expanding on this, no politician – former or otherwise – has done well on the show. Nadine Dorries was the first to be voted out of the jungle in 2012, as was Robert Kilroy-Silk in 2008. Lembit Öpik came out second in 2010, as did Kezia Dugdale in 2017. Stanley Johnson only did marginally better in the same year, being eliminated fifth. Edwina Currie is so far the most successful political I’m a Celebrity contestant, and she couldn’t even crack the top three when she appeared in 2014. To reiterate, none of these figures had entered out of spite because the prime minister wouldn’t shake their hand, which automatically puts them above Hancock.
Now, time to evaluate the competition. Unfortunately for Hancock, he’s up against some real powerhouses. Jill Scott was in the England squad that won the Euros this year, while Mike Tindall is not only a sporting legend but the current acceptable face of the British royal family. Sue Cleaver has been part of the beloved soap opera Coronation Street for more than two decades, while Boy George is one of the most recognisable figures in the history of British pop music. Meanwhile, Hancock is best known for standing near a woman in a legitimately creepy way during a live television broadcast, so that nudges him down the list a bit.
The truth about latecomers
It is reported that Hancock will join his campmates as a late addition. If this is true, it automatically puts him on the back foot, since no newcomer has ever won the series. Katie Hopkins joined late in 2007 and was eliminated second, for example. Which isn’t to say that they don’t do well. Andy Whyment came second in 2019, as did Simon Gregson two years later. However, they are both well-loved Corrie stars and not a man who was once on the front page of the Sun cheating on his wife, so that makes sense.
Here is the thing that makes me most worried about Hancock: he doesn’t seem to have seen a single episode of I’m a Celebrity. “I think it’s a great opportunity to talk directly to people who aren’t always interested in politics, even if they care very much about how our country’s run”, he wrote in the Sun of his motivation for signing up, adding that he’s also taking part because “I want to raise the profile of my dyslexia campaign”. Anyone who has even seen a scrap of the show will know that all premeditated agendas will be instantly edited out, to make room for shots of contestants crying, fighting, puking or scratching the louse infestation that has taken up residence in their pubic hair. The man isn’t even familiar with the format. He is doomed.