The six most controversial I'm a Celebrity recruits as Farage joins jungle

The six most controversial I'm a Celebrity recruits as Farage joins jungle
I'm A Celebrity's Nigel Farage takes part in 'horrible' snake challenge

Nigel Farage’s appearance onI’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here this year has been hotly anticipated, with the divisive Brexiter reported to be earning a whopping £1.5m to go on the show.

However Farage, 59, is only the most controversial contestant to enter the jungle since, well, last year’s edition of the show.

Producers of the hit ITV series, which entered its 23rd edition last night, have made quite the habit of getting contentious names to do Bushtucker trials.

Here are the six most controversial.

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock resigned as health secretary in disgrace in 2021, after it emerged he had broken his own Covid-19 lockdown guidance by kissing his aide, Gina Coladangelo, at work.

Eighteen months later, the man who regularly appeared on our lockdown TV screens telling us to “stay at home” was back on the telly, doing I’m A Celebrity.

His appearance in the jungle caused quite a stir, with campmates grilling him over his response to the pandemic. He also sparked hundreds of Ofcom complaints during his 30 days in the jungle.

Whether it was a success or a failure is debatable. Hancock came third, earning a reported £320,000 for his stint on the reality show.

However, he also lost his place in the Tory party, and drew criticism from the Prime Minister and MPs across the political spectrum.

Gemma Collins

It's not just politicians on this list! Gemma Collins, star of The Only Way Is Essex, just couldn’t hack it, and only made it three days in the jungle.

At the time the 41-year-old said “jungle life is not for me” and quipped that “people who murder get treated better than this”.

Viewers in 2014 were left disappointed after Collins gave them several memorable moments.

That included stating the obvious while talking to another campmate about her reasons for leaving.

“I’ve found it really difficult,” she told another campmate. “I love myself too much to put myself through this.”

Stanley Johnson

Remember the days when Boris Johnson was just a bumbling former mayor of London who fronted the Vote Leave campaign? That was when his father, Stanley, went on I’m A Celebrity in 2017, aged 77.

Stanley is a former Conservative MEP himself, and was the oldest person ever to go on the show.

He sparked a friendship with Georgia “Toff” Toffolo, of Made In Chelsea fame, and made it 18 days into the show.

Speaking about his experience last year, Stanley said: “Get your hand up quick – Ant or Dec, I was never able to distinguish between them – they come in and… you’ve got to get your hand up because if you don’t, you miss the chance to eat a bull’s testicle for example.”

Gillian McKeith

Gillian McKeith was an iconic contestant on I’m A Celebrity, partly because she just kept getting voted in to do Bushtucker trials.

The TV personality rarely succeeded in winning any stars and even fainted during one of the trials – but the public were undeterred.

Perhaps it was something to do with her pseudoscientific ideas around nutrition, which include the detox diet, colonic irrigation (you don’t want to know), and examining people’s poo to work out their illnesses.

It’s also worth pointing out that she has no qualifications in nutrition or medicine, and until 2007 used the title “Doctor” on her TV shows.

Since going on the show, she has also been slammed for promoting Covid-19 conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine views. Yikes.

Nadine Dorries

Nadine Dorries was the first sitting MP to make it onto I’m A Celebrity in 2012, meaning she has a lot to answer for.

She starred alongside boxer David Haye and Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts, but only made it 11 days into the show before getting voted off.

However, Nads’ controversy didn’t stop there. She was suspended from the Tory party when she got back to the UK for failing to tell the Conservative chief whip of her plans to appear, and failing to declare the fees she received.

She said of Farage’s entry into the jungle: “I think Nigel will do very, very well.

“He’s got the chutzpah, he’s got the personality, I think he’ll do very well.”

Lembit Opik

Liberal Democrat MP-turned-serial reality TV star Lembit Opik was voted off I’m A Celebrity early in its 2010 series.

That was not before both he and Shaun Ryder were bitten by a snake during a Bushtucker trial, however.

While he wasn’t too popular on the show, he also made it onto celebrity editions of The Apprentice and Come Dine With Me.

Some people just love the grift, it seems.

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