It’s been just over two weeks since Britain’s renowned series: ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’ graced our television screens for yet another year, and suffice it to say that Nigel Farage’s participation in the show has not gone unnoticed. In just fourteen days, Farage has become the centre of copious arguments both inside the jungle and amongst the general public, polarising the nation. In our day-to-day life, debates over politics are the most likely stimuli for contention; why is it then that a politician, a highly controversial one at that, should appear on a light-hearted TV show that ordinary people indulge in to escape our dismal reality?
Many have taken to X/Twitter to condemn the former politician for his transparent attempts to purify his public image, tainted by his contentious role as a Brexit campaigner back in 2016
Given that the prospect of sleeping in a jungle with no means of communication with the outside world and being subjected to challenges varying from climbing 100ft in the air to eating the udder of a cow aren’t exactly appealing, it goes without saying that the vast majority of celebrities don’t enter the jungle solely for the fun of it. The main incentive lies in the fame that awaits them after the show. Generally, the cast is made up of C and D-list celebrities in dire need of kick-starting their lacklustre careers, with some B-list celebrities sprinkled among them to spark public interest. The former UKIP leader was certainly successful in ITV’s attempt to create shock value to boost views for the show. However, given the fact that Farage is already an infamous figure in the public eye, it must be deduced that his reasoning for entering the jungle is not just for a couple more followers on Instagram.
Many have taken to X/Twitter to condemn the former politician for his transparent attempts to purify his public image, tainted by his contentious role as a Brexit campaigner back in 2016. YouGov has revealed that a shocking 89% of voters from the 2016 EU Referendum believe that Brexit has been more of a failure than a success, and an overwhelming 57% of Britons view Farage as ‘unfavourable’. Therefore, the prospect of Nigel Farage using the reality TV show to harness the opinion of the public to his favour in an attempt at some form of rehabilitation is not completely unfounded.
With such a glaringly obvious political agenda, ITV’s £1.5 million decision to enter Farage into the show has made it extremely uncomfortable to watch
Indeed, Farage himself admitted that he wanted to be chosen for the Bushtucker trials as it would give him the benefit of 25% more screen time. With such a glaringly obvious political agenda, ITV’s £1.5 million decision to enter Farage into the show has made it extremely uncomfortable to watch. Despite the fact that the former politician does seem to have some supporters, his time spent on I’m A Celeb has generally been not well received. In fact, views have declined by a staggering 2 million in comparison to that of 2022. It is evident then that reality has limited space for politicians, especially those as unfavourable as Farage.
Moreover, it seems that Nigel Farage’s contentious political ideologies have transcended the realm of the ‘real world’ and into the camp. ITV captured a somewhat heated argument between Farage and Nella Rose (YouTuber), in which he argued that the scarcity of GP appointments in Britain can be attributed to the rise in the country’s population as a result of increased immigration. Whilst some stood behind Farage, contending that he handled himself well, many have taken to social media, outraged at such a crude oversimplification of the situation of immigration in Britain.
Thus, this begs the question, in a reality show intended for Britain to see some of our favourite celebrities participate in light-hearted, somewhat absurd challenges, why has ITV created a breeding ground for political dispute by lumping this year’s cast with the notorious Nigel Farage? Perhaps ITV should accept the fact that after the ‘excitement’ of having Matt Hancock appear in last year’s series, the continuation of unlikeable politicians on the show has made it trite and uncomfortable to watch. One only needs to refer to the show’s decline in viewership to see the truth in this.
Therefore, disregarding one’s political views, the vast majority of the population simply doesn’t want to tune in to a show as unserious as ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’ with the hopes of sitting through controversial political debates on the socio-economic realities of the country. After all, the news channel exists for a reason.