I’m a Celebrity: Ofcom receives 1,968 complaints over Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock’s presence on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! has sparked 1,968 Ofcom complaints – but for two quite different reasons.

The broadcasting watchdog received the complaints between Tuesday 8 November (the day Hancock arrived) and Monday 14 November.

The majority of complainants, around 1,100, objected simply to the fact that the former health secretary is appearing on the show. Other viewers expressed concerns about how the MP is being treated by the other contestants.

A statement from Ofcom said: “It’s worth being aware that under our rules, in principle – and taking into account freedom of expression – there’s no ban on any particular person taking part in programmes.

“However, if the mere presence of a person is likely to cause offence, we would expect broadcasters to take steps to mitigate or justify that offence.

“How they do that editorially, is up to them.”

The Independent has contacted ITV for comment.

Hancock’s arrival on the show was met with mixed reactions from his celebrity campmates, with Boy George crying on camera, and Charlene White schooling the politician over his decision to leave his Suffolk constituents.

At one point during the series, Hancock was questioned by his campmates about breaching his own coronavirus social distancing guidance during the pandemic. He was caught on camera in his ministerial office, embracing his aide (and now girlfriend) Gina Coladangelo.

Matt Hancock on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)
Matt Hancock on ‘I’m a Celebrity’ (James Gourley/ITV/Shutterstock)

Olivia Attwood, who was the first star to exit, having been forced to drop out of the competition due to a medical matter less than 24 hours after she entered the jungle, said of Hancock after she left: “It’s funny to see him slimed and gunked but it isn’t funny if you didn’t get to hold someone’s hand when they died while he was snogging someone in his office.”

Since Hancock joined the show, the public have voted for him to do the majority of the trials – an eating challenge saw him face camel’s penis, sheep’s vagina and cow’s anus, while another mission saw him locked in a coffin with 30 snakes.

I’m a Celebrity continues nightly on ITV.