Matt Hancock sang Queen’s “I Want To Break Free” at last night’s jungle karaoke session. Tonight it was a case of “Another One Bites The Dust” as the moonlighting MP outlasted one more rival on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV). Could Hancock be crooning “We Are The Champions” come Sunday’s final? Stranger things have happened.
The policy-maker beat the mirth-maker as Babatúndé Aléshé became the latest campmate booted out of the bush. The stand-up comic was so excited to leave, he split his celebratory glass of fizz all over himself. Hancock remained, having made the final six. He has now defied the odds by seeing off half the field.
The comedian never quite lived up to his job title. “Man like Babatunde” has been a jovial background player, rather than a gag machine. He conquered his fear of heights in early trials but hasn’t made much impression since - except when repeatedly dropping stars during trials, much to everyone’s frustration. Scared of anything that moves, Baba joked that “staying alive as a kid in Tottenham” was his biggest achievement.
When Hancock justified the extra-marital affair which led to his resignation by insisting he “fell in love”, the incredulous Aléshé amusingly replied: “You didn’t just fall in love, you were grabbing booty, bruv! Man grabbed the bunda on the front pages!” He later threatened to fart on Hancock’s chair but didn’t follow through, so to speak.
The eliminations of Sue Cleaver and Boy George thankfully put paid to rumblings of racism after this year’s first two evictees were both black women, Charlene White and Scarlette Douglas. Yet Aléshé’s exit still leaves an all-white final six. For a contest which hasn’t had a non-white winner in all 22 series - nor even a non-white finalist for the past six years - it’s an awkward look.
For the second night running, DJ Chris Moyles volunteered for a Bushtucker Trial but was humiliatingly passed over by campmates. The motormouth had become a squeaking mouse. For the painful punningly named “Critty Critty Fang Fang”, England Lioness Jill Scott dressed up as Truly Scrumptious to retrieve stars from a dizzyingly vertiginous flying car. Despite literally having ants in her pants, Scott successfully earned all seven meals for camp. “Sorry grandma,” she said after swearing in shock. Let’s hope her grandmother couldn’t lipread during the Euros final.
“Behind every six average men, there’s a great woman,” said Moyles. “Look at our camp.” Average men who don’t know the difference between a salamander and a monitor lizard. And one of whom, Owen Warner, can’t even pronounce the word “salamander”. However, Warner did share his secret technique for getting off to sleep: simply pretend to be asleep. Don’t forget to thank him, all you cured insomniacs.
During a spot of shop talk with fellow comedian Aléshé, Seann Walsh opened up about his unpopularity in the wake of the Strictly “love rat” scandal. “My career was dead, I was over,” he recalled. Having been nominated for Best Show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe and now reaching the latter stages of a prime-time reality contest, safe to say it’s alive again.
There were more amusing anecdotes by the creek - “There’s always great craic at the creek,” Ant McPartlin said - as the campmates shared their worst day at work. Walsh got fired from TK Maxx for falling asleep under a pile of coats. Moyles was forced to apologise after both John Cleese (clang!) and Elton John (clang clang!) dropped the F-bomb on his breakfast show.
Hancock is now third favourite with bookies to win the entire contest, having overtaken “Magic” Mike Tindall. The pair tackled a challenge together which involved dressing like giant tomatoes, popping balloons full of gunk and solving an anagram - giving the MP for West Suffolk the opportunity to discuss his dyslexia, as he’d vowed to do in a bid to raise awareness.
The pair’s efforts came to naught, however, when Moyles answered the subsequent pop trivia question incorrectly. “I’m clearly of no use to anyone here,” he said. “This is just one long painful embarrassment for me.” Voting viewers might be inclined to agree, with Moyles predicted to be next out. Meanwhile, the Hancock roadshow rolls on.