He’s back! After an episode in which he was all but absent (prompting the inevitable GB News/Daily Express claims ITV was engaged in a convoluted and nefarious plot to prevent him winning and leading Reform UK to a landslide victory at the next general election), Nigel Farage was once again front and centre in last night’s I’m A Celebrity.
The former Ukip leader was one of five contestants taking part in Grim Gutter, a Heath Robinson-esque Bushtucker Trial involving locks, keys, pullies and, crucially, creepy crawlies. The public had chosen which animals would join the celebrities – Farage, Made in Chelsea irritant Sam Thompson, boxer Tony Bellew, YouTuber Nella Rose and Tony from Hollyoaks – in their graves. It was Thompson who got toads – presumably because, for Farage, that would be effectively cannibalism – while the erstwhile MEP was locked in with rats. “Well, it’s nice to know what the British public think of me, sending me in with rats,” he said in a fleeting flash of self-awareness.
In the event, Farage failed to secure his stars. Thompson, Bellew and Tony from Hollyoaks (who yelled like a non-league footballer throughout, “keep talking!” and “Nigel, you’ve got to communicate, mate!”) all succeeded, while Rose quickly bailed out. (Incidentally, Rose is emblematic of the “young people” Farage went into the jungle to speak to. In an indication of the actual demographic of I’m A Celebrity, last night Ant and Dec made a joke which required awareness of Roland Rat to get.)
The hapless Farage, now nicknamed “the locksmith” by Tony from Hollyoaks, then suffered the indignity of having to announce the winner of the vote for the new leader of the camp, another election in which he failed to secure his deposit. Rose was elected leader, Eastenders actress Danielle Harold was appointed her deputy and Farage, along with Brexit sparring partner Fred Sirieix, were put on pot-washing duties. “Nella was perfectly clear this was payback. It was payback because we complained about the state things were a few nights ago,” complained Farage, forgetting, perhaps, it might be payback for his constant moaning middle-aged white men can’t employ cod Jamaican accents any more.
Still, he got one reward. After another demeaning task – this time imitating each other’s screams, Farage being paired with jockey Frankie Dettori – campmates were given a treat of their choice. Others opted for various confectionery. Farage – presumably being told by producers a packet of Rothmans and a keg of Watneys Party Seven were a no-no – opted for a napkin full of proper British Rich Tea biscuits. And all, briefly, was right with the world.