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TikTok and strategically placed t-shirts: How Matt Hancock’s PR team really got him into the final

His I’m a Celeb fan club is sadly thriving

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here might be over for another year but there are still some aspects of the series that just don’t make sense. Like, who the hell was voting for Matt Hancock? And how and why did he get down to the final three? 

12 million people voted in the I’m A Celeb final last night, crowing Jill Scott the winner with 47.9 per cent of the vote, and Owen in second place with 30 per cent. And although Matt came third, he still received over a fifth of the votes (21.72 per cent), meaning over 2.6million people voted for him.

Which is extremely weird, because when it was first announced that Matt was going into the jungle, we all went justifiably ballistic. Over 1,700 people complained to Ofcom and the campaign group Covid-10 Bereaved Families For Justice reminded everyone on Twitter: “He isn’t a ‘celebrity’, he’s the former health secretary who oversaw the UK having one of the highest death tolls in the world from Covid-19 whilst breaking his own lockdown rules.” 

Yet, in the space of only three weeks, Matt has gained fans. Although public votes started for revenge, to humiliate him and make him eat camel penis, in the end he got to the final thanks to actual supporters and some very sly tactics. So, in case you’re as confused as we are, here’s how Matt Hancock made it through three weeks in the jungle: 

Why is Matt Hancock so popular? 

TikTok fandom 

I regret to inform you that if you search for the #matthancockfanclub hashtag on TikTok it’s a truly terrifying place. We’re talking heart-covered montages, videos encouraging people to vote for him, professions of love. Essentially, the whole of hell combined. 

And TikTok was clearly the platform that boosted Matt’s popularity as, on his own account, Matt has 88.7k followers, more than Jill Scott and Owen Warner. Did the algorithm just lose its mind? No. There’s a team of people who’ve worked very strategically towards this success. 

PR team 

Since November, Matt’s press team have been posting I’m A Celeb edits to his TikTok and gaining him clout on the app. Many of the clips have had thousands of likes and the videos on his account have had a total of 400 million views, the Guardian reports. 

Scrounging for votes, Matt’s team even published step by step guides of how viewers could use their five free votes of the day to keep Matt in the jungle. It was about as subtle as being knocked round the head with a brick. Yet, it worked. 

“Always used all my votes to keep Matt in!” one person wrote. “Need to see him in celebrity cyclone.” However, another person added: “This is why he’s still in there,” said another person in the comments, “He’s the only one who needs a PR team to get him votes, everyone else is genuine. Typical politician, completely fake.” 


Less than 2 hours to go until the next episode of #ImACeleb #VoteMatt to keep him in the jungle: 📱5x on the @imacelebrity app 📞Call 𝟔𝟒𝟒 𝟐𝟒 𝟏𝟏 #TeamMatt

♬ original sound – Matt Hancock

T-shirt placement 

Another person who called Matt out for lobbying votes was Mike Tindall, who noticed Matt had been purposefully placing his I’m A Celeb T-shirt with the number to vote for him in front of the cameras at any chance he had. 

 “Matt’s making sure his T-shirt and his phone numbers are on display at all times. Matt clearly wants to win,” said Mike on Saturday. “I’m taking great pleasure in turning it around every time he leaves camp. Once a politician, always a politician. Always polling for votes.”

Is Matt Hancock still an MP? 

Although Matt Hancock has undergone an undeniable vibe shift on I’m A Celeb, he hasn’t actually said he’s quitting politics. Despite actually breaking an official government watchdog rule by going on the show, he’s been allowed to work as an MP from the jungle, where producers said he could communicate with his team if something urgent happened in his constituency in Suffolk. That really takes working from home to a whole new level. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• These are all of the lowest paid I’m A Celebrity contestants of all time

• Ranked: These are officially the highest paid I’m A Celeb stars of all time

• A full rundown of every time Matt Hancock clawed at celeb status and attempted a comeback