“I’m gutted that Matt Hancock is more popular than me. What the bejesus is going on? Why am I out and he’s still in?” The MP beat the DJ as Chris Moyles became the latest campmate given his jungle marching orders. Against all odds, former health secretary Hancock has made the final five of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV). He might have lost the Tory whip but at this rate, he’ll be returning to Westminster in triumph with a suntan, several famous friends and a whole new fanbase.
While the politician retained his campfire seat, Radio X presenter Moyles departed in a cloud of sparkly confetti, slight bitterness and silvery stubble. He could never bring himself to call his fellow contestant anything friendlier than “Matt Hancock” (full name every time) but must now swallow being bested by him. At least Moyles had his fill of roughing it in the bush. “I can’t lie, boys,” he'd told hosts Ant and Dec. “I’m done. I’ve realised I’m an anxious, scared man who’s only comfortable in a radio studio.”
Shock jock Moyles had proved a prickly presence. He rarely seemed to be enjoying himself, hence was tricky to warm to. His drily deadpan wit got lost amid the hubbub. The 48-year-old’s dramatic weight loss caused a double-take when he first arrived on screen but since then, he’s been as grey as his locks. At least he had sufficient self-awareness to call himself “slimmed-down but still annoying”.
Before touching down in Australia, Moyles vowed to be the resident “entertainer”. He turned out less Mr Saturday Night, more Mr Drizzly Tuesday. He’s known for being opinionated on radio but seemed to bite his tongue for TV, only truly coming alive in his exit interview. His playground-style sulk when Boy George befriended Seann Walsh demonstrated the jealous insecurities beneath the bluster.
He began the series by winding up the gullible Owen Warner but as the sweet-natured Hollyoaks actor gradually grew into a fan favourite, Moyles’ patronising treatment of him began to grate. According to insiders, he also ridiculed co-host Ant McPartlin’s alcoholism battle and drink-driving conviction. These near-the-knuckle digs have been left on the cutting room floor but still seem like low blows.
He sniped about Hancock behind his back but unlike other campmates, lacked the courage to confront the former health secretary to his face. Meanwhile, Hancock’s strong performance in Bushtucker Trials put Moyles’ failures firmly in the shade. He had the lowest star-earning rate this year.
In recent days, he’s repeatedly volunteered for trials but been roundly ignored by campmates mindful of last week’s one-star fiasco. Here he got his way, teaming up with Warner for “Savage Sorting Office”. Moyles was desperate to redeem himself but fared equally badly - while getting a sequence of electric shocks to the buttocks, just to add injury to insult. While Moyles nursed his sore rump, the rest made do with one venison supper between six. Hardly a last hurrah.
During a discussion of dream dinner guests, Hancock named the bafflingly random trio of President Kennedy, Kevin Keegan and Pocahontas - with Marilyn Monroe as the naked chef. “I know we’ve been in here more than two weeks, Matt, but calm down,” laughed Walsh. “It’s dinner, you’re not on the pull.”
A conspiracy theory did the rounds this week that Hancock’s screen time was being reduced because ITV didn’t want him to win. This was debunked by a Hancock-heavy episode. He shared the advice Barack Obama gave him (clang!) and pretended to mishear when Mike Tindall said “masticate” (fnarr!).
Elsewhere it emerged that with his whispered request to Wednesday night’s evictee Babatúndé Aléshé to pass on a message to his partner Gina Coladangelo at the Marriott Gold Coast Resort - the sweetly soppy “You're so wonderful” - Hancock had broken the programme’s rules about communicating with the outside world. A minor misdemeanour but not the first time the member for West Suffolk has contravened guidelines.
Tindall has got off lightly when it comes to discussing his royal in-laws but when guilelessly questioned by Warner, did finally share a few details. He’s stayed the night at Buckingham Palace, came down to breakfast in jeans and a T-shirt, and he and wife Zara Phillips were “friends first”. Meanwhile, Moyles grilled Hancock about cabinet reshuffles. Did Hancock have any questions in return? Cue tumbleweed and awkward silence.
For the Dingo Dollar challenge, the campmates answered their trivia question correctly for only the fourth time in 20 days, earning a reward of chocolate. Only a minuscule piece of Mars bar, admitted, but the treat-starved team still groaned with pleasure. They were even more ecstatic when Tindall, Hancock and Walsh won everyone a full English fry-up for the next morning. Fittingly, it would be the breakfast DJ’s last meal in camp. Moyles tuned out. Hancock remains on-air. You're listening to Bejesus FM.