Matt Hancock is ‘much tougher than people realise’ after surviving the first three public votes on I’m A Celebrity, insists ex-Conservative MP Edwina Currie.
The former health secretary beat out the likes of Charlene White, Scarlette Douglas and Sue Cleaver during the first three eliminations on the ITV show. But while Matt appears to be popular with the public, Edwina believes his jungle stint is a ‘big mistake’ and he’s yet to ‘face the music’.
Speaking on behalf of Slingo, Edwina also opens up on why she believes Chris Moyles is ‘jealous’ of Matt, who she wants to see in the final and why ‘unpleasant’ Boy George is ‘playing a game’ after a series of ‘snide remarks’ in camp.
What’s your thoughts on Matt Hanock in the jungle?
“I think a lot of people expected Matt to go out first and that hasn’t happened. The big surprise is that not only was Matt voted to stay during the first public vote, he survived the second and third vote. I expect that’s partially because people think Matt will be fine, so they hand their vote to somebody else.
“However, it could also mean that the public find it entertaining watching a former cabinet minister doing all sorts of weird things in the jungle. There’s no doubt that he has fans now. I watch the comments that come in and I’ve been struck by people, who aren’t that interested in politics, saying how much they like him and that he’s doing very well. I suspect they are voting for him.
“Charlene White and Scarette Douglas, who are very popular and very nice women, were the first two campmates to be voted out. I was rather shocked to see both of them go, especially with Babatunde Aleshe also being at risk. It was rather sad because Charlene and Scarlette are both exceptional people. I’ve never heard of them before, but they were very attractive personalities and they made a lot of friends in the camp. I think it’s a shame they’ve gone, however it now gets a little more edgy and that’s not a bad thing either.”
Sue Cleaver said she doesn’t feel Matt is being ‘genuine’ – do you agree?
“I don’t agree! I think what she’s talking about is that he doesn’t emote very much, but not everybody does. Not everybody is weeping all the time or talking about their mental state.
“We’ve all got used to the idea that everyone is a victim and Matt doesn’t see himself as a victim. He is a positive-minded, optimistic, bouncy guy, who is a bit like a young Labrador puppy. That doesn’t mean he is concealing anything and it’s different from what Sue was expecting. If she seriously thinks that someone who has been in politics for 20 years is going to burst into tears at the least thing, she’s certainly mistaken. People in politics are much tougher than what she realises.
“I think the campmates are divided down the middle when it comes to Matt. There are those who have accepted that Matt is this puppy-like character, who always does his best and can sometimes be overconfident. His overconfidence sometimes leads to mistakes and the campmates can get slightly irritated by that, which is understandable. While most of them accept him for who he is, there are a couple who are still irritated by him, including the other alpha males like Boy George and Chris Moyles.
“Boy George thought he was going to be the star of the show and isn’t – he’s a narcissistic pain. Chris also doesn’t know what to make of him. Chris is struggling in there and he’s shown himself to be pretty useless when it comes to trials. Maybe he is struggling from a little bit of jealousy when it comes to Matt. The naturally positive personalities, like Seann Walsh, Owen Warner and Babatunde, seem to be getting on with him fine.”
Do you think Matt could win the show?
“I don’t think he’s got a chance of winning it because the other people who are in there have a lot of fans, which he doesn’t. Jill is absolutely lovely and she’s a big star. Another favourite of mine is the lovely Owen with his gorgeous physique and sweet personality. He’s thick as a plank and has no education whatsoever, but he always tries his best and he works hard. I like him very much and I think those two will be in the final.
“I still don’t think that Matt should be in there. He’s going to be surprised by how strongly his own constituency feels about him letting them down when he gets out. To be away at such a crucial time, it strikes me as a big mistake. It’s an important job and that’s what you should be doing.
“He’s going to come back to face a lot of bad vibes and music, which he’s not thinking about at the moment. The one thing that Matt did that annoyed me and suggested to me that he’s an overgrown teenager, is when he left a dirty bowl of water after shaving. I think he was a very spoiled child! I blame his mother, she probably looked after him too well. Matt is old enough and a father of three kids, you’d think he’d have grown out of it!”
Who would be your next celebrity to be voted out?
“I’d like to see Boy George gone as he’s proving to be a pain! He’s 61 years old and a nasty piece of work, who makes a great deal of noise for no purpose. He refused to answer questions about his past, which means he is in denial. He also makes snide remarks and he tries to create little alliances with other individuals, particularly Seann. Seann should tell him to back off and to stop being unpleasant, but Seann is too nice to say that. Seann also knows the price of getting into trouble in a reality TV show.
“I think Boy George thinks he’s playing a game of chess, in which he likes to put other people down. That’s not how the jungle works, I can tell you. Every single snide remark is gold as far as the editors are concerned, not to be on George’s side, but to paint him as the rather unpleasant person he is. He may have been box office gold 40 years ago, but he’s a real has-been these days. He’s a selfish slob and he’s not great to watch in the pool either!”
Seann spoke about feeling anxious over joining I’m A Celebrity because of his ‘horrific experience’ on Strictly – did you feel for him?
“Do I feel sorry for anybody who gets paid a lot of money for going onto a reality TV programme? Let me just try and be sorry for them, I’m trying very hard but no, I don’t feel sorry for any of them! They’ve all chosen to sign up and one reason may be to enhance their reputation or improve their career prospects.
“They may do it in an entirely innocent way, which is how Owen has approached it, or do it in a cynical way like Boy George and Matt Hanock. The other reason is that they get paid quite a lot of money.
“I’m A Celebrity is much quicker than Strictly as the maximum time you’re going to be in there is two or three weeks. It’s also much better paid, but it is a lot of sitting around being bored and doing unpleasant things. When it comes to Strictly, I found that much harder because I’m not a physical person.
“I was voted out first and I found the five weeks of intense training really grueling. Although I was incredibly fond of my dance partner, you soon realise that all the professionals talk about is dance and they’re not interested in anything else. That can get quite boring in a slightly different way. There’s also the pressure to produce a live performance of great quality. If you’re into dancing or hoping to have a career in musicals, then fine.”
There’s speculation over whether Zara Tindall has travelled to Australia to support Mike. Could we expect her at the end of the bridge?
“I don’t think she’ll come because she’d be there now. My own opinion is that she won’t be there, not least because the kids need her more than anything.
“She’ll be very conscious as the monarch’s niece that you can take this kind of publicity a bit too far. They don’t need the publicity, therefore I would be surprised if she goes. My guess is that the person who will welcome him at the end of the bridge will be one of his rugby mates.
“I think Mike is starting to look bored. There’s no alcohol, no mates and it’s not really the same as being able to go out on a Saturday and have a good night out. Maybe he’s one of the people Boy George has in mind when he says they’re not being themselves. I think he can’t wait to get out, maybe have a few days in Australia to enjoy himself and then get home.
“He also needs to be extremely careful about what he says about the royal family. I’m pretty sure he is watching what he says. Some of the stories he has told have been a bit naughty, like splitting his pants in front of Princess Anne. It might well be that he knows not to share too much like that as sometimes it can be too much information and becomes a bit unpleasant. He’s not afraid to be filmed in his speedos, though! My feeling is that Mike needs to get back in the gym and get rid of some of that podge. If you’re going to wear tiny speedos, you need to have a body to go with it!”