I'm A Celeb 2022: Ofcom complaints soar above 3000

I’m A Celeb is hit by more than 3,000 Ofcom complaints – and almost HALF are unhappy with jungle camp’s treatment of Matt Hancock

  • The beleaguered MP has faced an uphill task in attempting to win over campmates divided by his surprise appearance in the purpose built camp
  •  But his perceived isolation has pushed Ofcom complaints well above 3000 – with many registered in defense of Hancock
  • The UK regulator has so far received 3,287 complaints, 1,764 of which are connected to various members of the jungle camp 
  • But the remaining 1,523 have railed against Hancock’s poor treatment from stars such as Boy George, who was openly critical of the former Tory whip

The decision to leave his West Suffolk constituency and fly to Australia for an appearance on a popular reality show might not have gone down well with ITV viewers, but many have expressed outrage over the treatment of Matt Hancock during his stint on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

The beleaguered MP has faced an uphill task in attempting to win over campmates divided by his surprise appearance in the purpose built camp, but his perceived isolation has pushed Ofcom complaints well above 3000 – with many registered in defense of Hancock. 

The UK TV, radio and video regulator has so far received 3,287 complaints regarding the popular ITV show, 1,764 of which are connected to various members of the jungle camp. 

Not happy: Viewers have expressed outrage over the treatment of Matt Hancock during his stint on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

But the remaining 1,523 have railed against Hancock’s poor treatment from stars such as Boy George, who was openly critical of the former Tory whip’s participation in the show. 

But not everyone was pleased; Ofcom received nearly 2,000 complaints in total over the first week, with 1,100 stemming from his arrival in the jungle.

Other complaints were surrounding viewers’ concerns about how the MP was being treated by the other campmates.

Hancock has faced backlash from viewers after reportedly earning £400K for his appearance while parliament is still in session. 

Tough task: The beleaguered MP has faced an uphill task in attempting to win over campmates divided by his surprise appearance in the purpose built camp

An Ofcom statement read: ‘It’s worth being aware that under our rules, in principle – and taking into account freedom of expression – there’s no ban on any particular person taking part in programmes.

‘However, if the mere presence of a person is likely to cause offence, we would expect broadcasters to take steps to mitigate or justify that offence. How they do that editorially, is up to them.

‘As usual, we’ll be assessing all these complaints against our broadcasting rules, before deciding whether or not to investigate.’  

Speaking out: The UK TV, radio and video regulator has so far received 3,287 complaints regarding the popular ITV show

Outrage: But the remaining 1,523 have railed against Hancock’s poor treatment from stars such as Boy George, who was openly critical of the former Tory whip’s participation

What antics have MPs been up to in the I’m A Celebrity jungle?  

With the news that Conservative MP and former health secretary Matt Hancock will enter the Australian jungle for this year’s series of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of 

Here, we take a look back at the antics of previous political figures who have taken part in the ITV reality show.

Edwina Currie: Edwina Currie, the Conservative MP for South Derbyshire from 1983 until 1997, entered the jungle during the 14th season of I’m A Celebrity.

The 76-year-old, who also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2011, joined the reality show as a late entry alongside X-Factor star Jake Quickenden.

The former junior health minister finished fourth in the competition, but not before becoming involved in a couple of heated situations. 

During the series, Ms Currie found herself in a number of bust-ups with her fellow campmate, American reality star Kendra Wilkinson, and memorably shocked the other contestants with her prolonged shouting of ‘Mel’ in an attempt to get the attention of campmate Melanie Sykes.

Stanley Johnson: Former Conservative MEP Stanley Johnson braved the Australian jungle as part of the show’s 17th series. 

The father of former prime minister Boris Johnson formed an unlikely friendship with Made In Chelsea star Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo, who went on to be crowned Queen of the Jungle that year.

After meeting on the show, 82-year-old Mr Johnson, and Ms Toffolo, 28, went on to star in a number of other reality shows together, including Celebrity Hunted and Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. 

Nadine Dorries: Nadine Dorries took part in I’m A Celebrity in 2012, the first sitting MP to appear on the show, but was suspended by the Conservative Party for her appearance. 

She later apologised to the House of Commons over the fee she was paid for appearing in the popular programme, which saw her become the first contestant voted out of the jungle by the public.

Lembit Opik: In 2010, former MP Lembit Opik became the second campmate to be voted off I’m A Celebrity. The Liberal Democrat survived for two weeks in the Australian jungle, during which time he was bitten by a snake while completing a task. 

The 57-year-old has also appeared in celebrity versions of The Apprentice and Come Dine With Me.

Robert Kilroy-Silk: Former Labour MP and MEP Robert Kilroy-Silk had an unsuccessful stint in the I’m A Celebrity jungle in 2008. 

The ex-chat show host survived just 12 days in the jungle after going up against former Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick in the public vote.

Kezia Dugdale: The former Scottish Labour leader made an appearance in the jungle in 2017 – joining Conservative MEP Mr Johnson. 

After being eliminated second, Ms Dugdale, 41, admitted she knew her appearance was a ‘political gamble’ but said she wanted to tackle the ‘myth’ that all politicians are ‘old, white, male, pale and stale’. 

She was initially denied permission by political bosses to take part but did not ultimately face suspension from the party.

Matt defended his decision to appear on the reality show, writing in The Sun that it’s his job as a politician ‘to go where the people are’ and that he wants to ‘engage with voters’.

He said: ‘While there will undoubtedly be those who think I shouldn’t go, 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.

‘It’s our job as politicians to go to where the people are – not to sit in ivory towers in Westminster.

Divided: Not everyone was pleased; Ofcom received nearly 2,000 complaints in total over the first week, with 1,100 stemming from his arrival in the jungle

‘There are many ways to do the job of being an MP. Whether I’m in camp for one day or three weeks, there are very few places people will be able to see a politician as they really are.

‘So, the truth is, I haven’t lost my marbles or had one too many pina coladas. It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to.

‘I was elected by the people, and it’s important to engage with voters, especially younger voters, no matter where they are, and show the human side of politicians.

‘I want to raise the ­profile of my dyslexia campaign to help every dyslexic child unleash their potential – even if it means taking an unusual route to get there… via the Australian jungle! I’m A Celebrity… is watched by millions of Brits up and down the country.

‘I want to use this incredible platform to raise awareness, so no child leaves primary school not knowing if they have dyslexia.’

I’m A Celebrity 2022: All you need to know about this year’s show

  • I’m A Celebrity 2022 line up: Which celebrities are taking part this year? 
  • Where is I’m A Celebrity filmed this year in Australia? 
  • Inside Boy George’s £17m gothic Hampstead mansion
  • I’m A Celebrity 2022: How much is Matt Hancock getting paid?
  • Mike Tindall net worth: Is he one of the richest campmates ever? 
  • Does I’m A Celeb star Owen Warner have a girlfriend? 
  • I’m A Celebrity 2022: Who is favourite to leave tonight’s show? 

Hancock will stay as MP for West Suffolk but serve as an independent. While he will be able to keep his party membership, he will not be able to stand for election as a Conservative party candidate, vote in party contests or stand for committee chairman posts.

A source close to the MP said he would donate some of the appearance fee to St Nicholas Hospice in Suffolk, but would not say how much.

A political ally said he had accepted he was unlikely to become a minister again and wanted to connect with ‘younger generations’.

‘Politicians like Matt must go to where the people are – particularly those who are politically disengaged,’ they said.

‘Matt’s of the view that we must embrace popular culture. Rather than looking down on reality TV, we should see it for what it is – a powerful tool to get our message heard by younger generations.’

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