I don’t know whether Matt Hancock will still be a contestant on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here by the time you read this; at the time of writing, he is receiving medical attention having been stung by a scorpion.
This turn of events has caused a degree of consternation; not only because the camp in which this year’s collection of has-beens, wannabes and comeback kids is lodged is supposed to be protected from dangerous critters, but also because most people believed that even scorpions had standards.
One can only imagine the distress of the poor predatory arachnid in question when he realised just who it was he’d stung; he’s probably frantically scrubbing the pointy end of his tail even as we speak.
Hancock is, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you – but let’s do it anyway – primarily famous for having been the health secretary who presided over the genuinely calamitous opening months of the Covid pandemic before being drummed out of office in a combined extramarital affair/ lockdown breach scandal. I’m not really sure which is more alarming: the thought that Hancock apparently believes that rocking up as a contestant on a prime-time game show is the best way to “move on” from his train wreck of a political career, or the fact that the producers of the TV show evidently thought likewise. But there he is.
What remains to be seen is whether Hancock’s showbiz makeover butters any parsnips with the general public. If his jungly adventures fail to rehabilitate him in the eyes of the nation, here are… some more TV shows Matt Hancock could appear on to try to improve his image.
THE GENERATION GAME
This would, admittedly, be a bit of a palaver as it would involve recommissioning the show itself, which hasn’t been on since 2018. Mind you, if we’re not used to Matt Hancock presiding over colossal wastes of money by now, we never will be.
And the format itself would seem to be an ideal fit; Hancock does appear to be cultivating a Mr Bean/Frank Spencer-style lovably accident-prone doofus persona in his current outing, and I’m sure we all remember the many hilarious “practical” rounds on The Generation Game when members of the public would cheerfully make a complete hash of pot throwing, plate spinning, tap dancing and the like. Plenty of room for endearing buffoonery there.
The only possible drawback is that being a contestant on The Generation Game would involve Hancock finding a member of his immediate family who is still talking to him.
BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT
This show has served as the springboard to instant national-treasure status for many a misfit and oddball in recent years; the only problem would be establishing what talent Mr Hancock in fact possesses. There is limited televisual excitement value to be generated by watching someone sign a multimillion-pound PPE contract with a bloke he met in a pub.
Or perhaps Hancock could parlay his recent elevation to lothario status by reinventing himself as some sort of post-Julio Iglesias mum-bait crooner. He’d look all right in a velvet tuxedo, and that hairline is crying out for an ill-fitting toupee…And even if he couldn’t cut it as a contestant, there may soon be a vacancy on the judging panel.
Not everyone realises that the puppet-based satirical show has in fact been back in production for the last couple of years, given that the new episodes have thus far been restricted to the streaming service BritBox. And while I think they have indeed made a Matt Hancock puppet, what fun it would be to have the real thing in its place for the new series.
Hancock’s career trajectory defies satire in any case, and since they can’t beat him, he may as well join them. And if he fails to blend in with his rubbery co-stars, this itself could be quite visually amusing in a Mr Derek/ Michael Caine in a Muppet Christmas Carol sort of way.
THAT SKIING-BASED REALITY SHOW, THE JUMP I THINK IT WAS CALLED
No particular reason; it’s just that I seem to recall most of the contestants on that show ended up shattering their ankles or breaking a femur or something. In fact, why not just cut to the chase…
UFC ULTIMATE CAGE FIGHTING
It’d be over in a few seconds, but you’d watch, wouldn’t you?
POEM OF THE WEEK
Donald Trump is fuming
See him rant and rave
He didn’t get his promised
Republican red wave.
He was going to surf it
Announcing his new run
But of all his chosen candidates
Hardly any won.
The Democrats are letting out
A grateful, happy sigh
Turns out the red wave might have been
A big red wave goodbye.