Voices: Matt Hancock is still hated but vaguely tolerated. It’s all he could have dreamt of

No one cares anymore really do they?

Matt Hancock’s now plunged his hands into buckets of slime and rats. He’s eaten a camel’s penis. He’s been stung by a scorpion and a 5ft snake has slithered up his shorts in the pitch dark. He’s also been buried alive. Not actually buried alive. They let him out again after about 10 minutes, but if he actually had been buried alive would anyone especially mind?

Nothing he’s done, or could ever do, in the Australian jungle could ever be more abhorrent than his decision to go on there in the first place, a six figure monetisation of his own failure-induced notoriety.

And there won’t be a more stomach turning moment than his whimpering plea for a “little bit of forgiveness”.

By day six there appears to be some acknowledgement that he’s winning the other campmates round. That they have, some of them, chosen to vaguely accept that he might actually be a human being, now that he’s spent a full week torturing himself every day just to get them their dinner.

Even the public appear to have become bored by Hancock’s functional, unfussed, stoic sucking up of the unrelenting torture. He doesn’t care anymore. And nor do the viewers. For the first time ever, on Monday night, he has not been chosen to take part in the next horrific trial.

Matt Hancock’s jungle turn has been variously described as the most incredible celebrity TV booking quite possibly of all time, but it’s arguable the producers should have seen this coming.

Did they not see that Hancock has been pre-tortured? Pre-humiliated? It is a statement of fact that no one did more of those 5pm press conferences than the former health secretary. And never more often than when there was yet another staggering failure that could not be atoned for, not all of them, by any means Hancock’s fault.

He has writhed and wriggled his way through television interviews on the subject of the banning of sex between people who don’t live together, while all the while being in certain breach of that ban himself.

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What is worse, really? Being locked in a TV studio with Kay Burley and a head full of demonstrable lies, or being buried alive in a bucket of snakes?

Our anti-hero knows the routines well. He knows how this goes. You just get on with it. Get on with the shameless hell of it all and wait for it all to pass.

And it kind of does pass. There is a redemption of sorts. Not forgiveness, not at all, but just a wearing down, a wearying away of rage until the simple point at which no one cares anymore.

It’s possible Hancock has made it there. It’s not exactly the promised land. It’s a plateful of camel’s dick after all. But it’s only taken a week to eat his way through to a kind of ambivalent loathing. And that’s more than he might have hoped for. At least until the inquiry starts.