In the words of Nigel Farage, the “magnificent seven” have turned into the “sad six” as Hollyoaks actor Nick Pickard became the latest contestant voted off I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Every so often, I’m A Celeb throws up a shock elimination. This wasn’t one of them. Pickard’s low-burning mateyness made him thoroughly unobjectionable as a contestant. He even threatened to set the jungle alight in the latest episode when he made an emergency dash to the loo (thank heavens no open flames were in the vicinity). But he was never one of the big personalities around the camp – and always set for an early(ish) shower.
Even before his anticlimactic departure, the instalment struggled to live up to the previous night’s excitement when the crew had thrown a karaoke party. It culminated, as all jungle singing sessions should, with Nigel Farage declaring himself an I’m A Celeb “remainer” (as in not wanting to get booted out) and swaying around with his shirt open. Forget the downpours of bugs – this is the I’m A Celeb memory I want wiped, Men In Black-style, when it’s all done and dusted.
The other contestants woke from the shindig worse for wear. Not fearless Farage. He hauled Josie and Danielle out of their bus bunk with the battle cry, “We didn’t win the biggest empire the world’s ever seen lying around in bed” – a quote from Churchill or possibly Darth Vader.
Later, he opened up about why he’d gone on I’m A Celeb. It wasn’t the dosh (he is reportedly receiving a record £1.5 million for his twirl beneath the canopy). No, here he offered the “Hancock defence”, repeating Matt Hancock’s line from the previous year about wanting people to see the “real” him – the person behind the politician. After karaoke night, we’d really seen a lot of him – not quite the same thing.
“Some of the press you get…demonised by some people,” he complained. In the jungle, he added, “people see you who really are.. it might help, it might not.”
It was a thoughtful address. But it was by no means the best spiel of the night. That honour went to boxer Tony Bellew, who had several pounds of offal poured on him during the Bushtucker Trial. He looked more upset than Vladimir Putin when he heard Taylor Swift had pipped him for Time Person of the Year.
“It’s disgusting… it’s very, very wrong…You should be ashamed of yourselves,” he complained, sounding like someone who’d been dragged to the most recent Marvel movie by their children.
To misquote, the Spice Girls 12 have become six, and I’m A Celeb is entering its endgame. There are surely a few surprises left – aside from the shock two million drop in ratings since launch night. Who’d have thought, for instance, that amiable Fred Sirieix would turn into a pouting prima donna when taken off chef duties?
Yikes said Fred, and spent the rest of his screen time in a huff before receiving the tap on the shoulder. So, even this late in, predictions are foolhardy. The winner is standing before us, removing bugs from some crevice or other. But it’s still far too early to predict who’ll end up king or queen of the jungle.