I'm a Celebrity's Nigel Farage divides opinion

I'm A Celebrity's Nigel Farage got a huge reaction on social media (ITV/Shutterstock)
I'm A Celebrity's Nigel Farage got a huge reaction on social media. (ITV/Shutterstock) (ITV/Shutterstock)

I'm A Celebrity's Nigel Farage got everyone talking when he entered the jungle – from his campmates to the viewers at home.

The former politician, 59, is arguably the most controversial signing in I'm A Celeb history because of his strong views and some fans even claimed they would boycott I'm A Celeb.

Our TV columnist Ian Hyland said ITV blew the budget on Farage, with reports claiming he has been paid £1.5m to appear on I'm A Celeb.

Before his first appearance on the ITV show, Farage had no qualms admitting he was going on the ITV show to try and change people's opinions on him.

Viewing the jungle as a "camping adventure", the former Ukip leader wasn't shy about getting stuck into camp life and the gruelling challenges from day one.

So what did Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly have to say about the star? Are I'm A Celeb viewers boycotting the show? What were viewers first impressions of him who did watch it? And how did he get on with his fellow celebrity campmates?

Have your say in Yahoo's poll:


Social media was awash with reactions to Farage after he joined the celebrities in the jungle for the first time on Sunday's launch episode.

Many viewers on X revealed they were boycotting the show as planned, leaving one very annoyed Farage was given airtime on BBC Breakfast.

One wrote: "I'm not watching I'm A Celeb on ITV because of Farage. And you are, once again, giving the grifter airtime again and publicising the programme. He is one of those responsible for driving division in this country. Disappointing."

Others added: "I refuse to watch I'm A Celebrity even though I used to enjoy it, Ant and Dec are great presenters but I won't watch Nigel Farage."

"The first person to say 'You know what, I don’t agree with his politics, but Nigel Farage comes across really well on I’m a Celeb' is getting shot."

"Stopped watching I'm a celeb years ago. In fact, I don't watch any live TV or any catchup anymore as it's 95% trash. But given the fascist lefty meltdown over Nigel Farage I've downloaded the app so I can vote for him every day...."

"I choose not to watch Nigel Farage on I’m a Celebrity on ITV so why are you featuring it on #BBCBreakfast this morning?"

Nigel Farage at a political conference
Nigel Farage has never been shy of controversy (Getty) (Future Publishing via Getty Images)

"Dear ITV please stop making Nigel Farage out to be a hero Sincerely Every non-racist in the UK."

However, there were also a handful of viewers throwing their support behind the controversial star.

Among the comments, one wrote: "Go Nigel."

Others added: "Nigel did a great job first time we have watched it in years, NIGEL TO WIN."

"Nigel going on I'm A Celeb is a genius move by him."

"Those who hate Nigel Farage but have never met him will not like what I'm about to say. I've met Nigel several times and he's been nothing but lovely! He's funny, listens to people and KIND to me. He will definitely be in the fonal 3. He will win over ppl, I can guarantee it."

"I don't normally watch I'm A Celebrity but as the leftys remoaners wokey snowflakes are frothing at the mouth because of Nigel Farage, I shall be glued to it."

"I see Nigel is upsetting the loons already - they're so pathetic."

"More people are watching that have never watched than those watched and are not. I'm even voting this year! Not done that before! I'm Nigel Farage to win."

"Nigel Farage to win."

I'm A Celeb viewing figures

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here returns on 19 November (ITV)
I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here returned on 19 November (ITV) (ITV)

Viewing figures were down as the 2023 series started on Sunday, with an average of 7 million viewers watching, according to overnight ratings.

There was a peak audience of 7.8 million who watched the first episode, according to ITV's reports.

There has been controversy over the line-up including former Ukip leader Farage.

By comparison, the first episode of the 2022 series hooked an average audience of 9.1 million, according to ITV overnight ratings.

While former health secretary Matt Hancock was part of the 2022 show, he didn't enter the jungle until later on.

Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly

I'm A Celebrity's Ant and Dec are the cheeky hosts of the show  (ITV)
I'm A Celebrity's Ant and Dec are the cheeky hosts of the show (ITV) (ITV)

Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly didn't hold back their opinions on Farage.

In their usual cheeky humour, the double act resist poking fun at the former politician when he entered the jungle alongside the other famous faces.

They joked rival GB News had few viewers when they delighted over signing up Farage to the jungle show.

Donnelly said: "Now Nigel is not just known for his controversial political career, he's got his own show on GB News...

"We would like to apologise to all of the GB News viewers."

The cheeky presenters joked "sorry Keith, sorry Linda", implying only a few viewers would be missing Farage during his jungle stint.

Social media was awash with reaction to this moment and among them, one person wrote: "So after ten minutes.. two Brexit insults, Ant & Dec saying GB News only has two viewers, Nigel’s driving was veering "too far to the right". NO insults for other contestants? He was invited by a far left show to ridicule him… sad *****!"

Others added: "10 minutes into I'm a celeb and already a sneering Ant & Dec are already sticking the knife into GB News & Farage."

"20 mins in and already a few cheap 'brexit' and 'right' jokes aimed at farage. ant & dec are a disgrace.. the only reason people are watching is because of him. hope nigel farage wins it ."

"Ant and Dec think they're being oh so smart ridiculing Farage but this is exactly how Johnson entered the public consciousness: appearing on popular entertainment shows, getting the oxygen of publicity & detoxifying their image. The joke's on Ant & Dec."

Others found it completely hilarious, saying: "From the start Ant & Dec claiming GBNews has no viewers and joking about Farage being far right, my sides are splitting already."

"Ant & Dec are going to have the best Nigel Farage jokes every day aren’t they?"

"Ant & Dec trolling Farage."

Josie Gibson

After finding fame on Big Brother, Josie Gibson is now trying out I'm A Celebrity (ITV)
Josie Gibson greeted Nigel Farage with a Brexit joke (ITV) (ITV)

This Morning presenter Josie Gibson was the first celebrity contestant to be dumped in the Australian outback.

Farage was the next to arrive in the red desert and moments after they met for the first time, he quipped: "It wasn't gonna be easy."

Quick witted Gibson made a Brexit joke as she met Farage for the first time. The TV star compared being stranded in the desert to Brexit. "It can't be any worse than Brexit," she said.

It tickled Farage's sense of humour though as he laughed. Amused, he said: "Didn't take long did it? Didn't take long. I had a feeling we'd get a bit of that!"

Gibson insisted she was "only joking" before the pair then got stuck into a series of challenges alongside fellow campmate Nella Rose.

There was plenty of reaction to this hilarious moment on social media. One wrote: "I usually quite like I’m a Celeb but I just don’t know if I can do it this year with Farage on it although Josie Gibson has already awkwardly mentioned Brexit."

Others added: "His first encounter with Josie was hilarious. She told him being in the outback was worse than Brexit."

"Josie - my winner already - to Farage, 'can't be worse than Brexit' IMMEDIATELY."

"Josie saying 'Can't be worse than Brexit' to Farage moments after meeting him is absolute icon behaviour."

"Josie to Nigel Farage... killing it Jose!"

Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson has headed onto I'm A Celebrity shortly after his girlfriend Zara McDermott was voted out of Strictly (ITV)
Sam Thompson gave Nigel Farage a hug in the jungle. (ITV) (ITV)

Made In Chelsea star Sam Thompson didn't hold back as he gave Farage a hug when he arrived in camp late after returning from the outback with Rose and Gibson,

Thompson made a hilarious observation about Farage's trousers.

In a piece to camera, he joked: "Nigel, you know when someone has got their trousers hitched up real high. I'm like, yep! Fair play mate."

Jamie Lynn Spears

I'm A Celebrity's Jamie Lynn Spears is the baby sister of pop star Britney (ITV)
I'm A Celebrity's Jamie Lynn Spears didn't know who Nigel Farage is. (ITV) (ITV)

While in conversation with Gibson, US-star Jamie Lynn Spears admitted she didn't recognise Farage.

Gibson then explained who he was, saying he was a "ex politician".

Read more: I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here

Watch former I'm A Celebrity winner predict Nigel Farage will do all the trials - but he won't win

This article originally appeared on Yahoo TV UK at https://uk.news.yahoo.com/im-a-celebrity-nigel-farage-reaction-104954478.html