Ant and Dec defend Matt Hancock appearance on I’m A Celebrity after massive backlash: ‘I wanted to hear his side of the story’


Ant and Dec candidly discuss Matt Hancock’s appearance on I’m A Celebrity (Picture: James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)

Ant and Dec have finally shared how they really felt when Matt Hancock was announced as one of the stars taking part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!.

The disgraced former Health Secretary caused controversy in 2022 when he abandoned his constituents to take part in the reality TV series for £320,000.

His addition sparked widespread backlash, the show was hit with thousands of Ofcom complaints, and some of his camp mates weren’t happy to spend three weeks with him either.

Ant and Dec always retain a neutrality when it comes to the I’m A Celebrity camp mates, putting personal feelings aside with the exception of the odd joke or 10.

When it came to Hancock, however, it was ‘very difficult’.

‘I think it’s very difficult not to [feel that way],’ Dec told HuffPost UK.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock (13611024a) Ant and Dec 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!' TV Show, Series 22, Australia - 06 Nov 2022

Ant and Dec have presented I’m A Celebrity for over 20 years (Picture: James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)

‘We were all affected by decisions that he made and situations he created, so it was very, very difficult.

‘But we tried incredibly hard to be impartial and to put that to one side. And I hope we did it.

Responding to backlash over ITV booking Hancock after many felt it was inappropriate given the devastation and trauma of the pandemic, Dec said: ‘That is a really interesting point of view. And, of course, [it] has some validity.

Hancock finished third on I’m A Celebrity (Picture: James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)

‘I think it was interesting to allow him his say and to hear things from his point of view. Like I say, it was a situation that we all lived through, and he was at the centre of it.

‘I kind of wanted to hear – now that he’s no longer a politician, and wasn’t doing his pivots in interviews – his side of the story, and his point of view.

‘I personally thought it was a really really interesting booking. And I was interested in hearing what he was like, and what things were like from his point of view.’

Despite the backlash, Hancock still finished in third place, beating the likes of Boy George and Loose Women’s Charlene White.

England footballer Jill Scott was eventually crowned Queen of The Jungle.

Hancock’s reality TV career isn’t over just yet as he’ll be appearing on SAS: Who Dares Wins later this year.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Is available to stream on ITVX.

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