Matt Hancock recalls saving Celebrity SAS co-star from drowning during ‘Murder Ball’ challenge

Tom Murray
Friday 06 October 2023 18:46 BST
Matt Hancock grilled over his handling of the pandemic on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins

Matt Hancock has spoken about the moment he stopped his his Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins co-star from drowning during one of the show’s most brutal challenges.

Episode three of the Channel 4 reality series sees the contestants taking on the “Murder Ball” challenge, where they are split into two teams and must fight to win possession of a coconut and run it across a goal line.

To make matters more difficult, the challenge takes place in a flooded mud pit.

At one point, The Wanted singer Silva Kaneswaran found himself at the bottom of a pile-on with his face in the muddy water.

“There was one moment when I pulled Siva’s head out of the mud by his hair, because we were in a massive pile,” Hancock told The Sun.

“I was second to bottom effectively, across him. I could see that his face was underwater and he couldn’t get his head up because there were people everywhere. So I grabbed the back of his hair and yanked him up so he could breathe.”

Kaneswaran commented: “It was horrible. You take three steps and the mud takes all your energy out, you’re running in deep sand and then you’ve got to fight against people.

Matt Hancock on ‘Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins’

“And then when they take you down, you’re going into muddy water and the mud is going, the mud went up to my eyeballs. They just squish you to the bottom. I was scared at one point, I was like, ‘Oh my god, am I going to get out of this?’”

Kaneswaran added: “I’m not an athlete, I’m not fast. I knew that I was against Jermaine Pennant and against all these massive guys.”

Other contestants in the series include former Welsh rugby international Gareth Thomas, ex-footballer Pennant and Love Island star Teddy Soares.

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Hancock added: “There was also sort of tactical chaos as well. They told me to be the leader of one of the teams, but of course, Gareth Thomas is a former rugby international.

“And Gareth, he was just going for the ball. So we lost any kind of strength, it was mad. But that was great fun. I mean it was great fun. I would do that again tomorrow.”

Independent MP Hancock filmed the series before his controversial stint on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in November 2022, and was paid £45,000 to take part.

Elsewhere in the series, fans were overjoyed when the former health minister was grilled by former special forces soldiers Jason Fox and Chris Oliver over his handling of the pandemic and his affair with Gina Coladangelo, which broke his own social distancing guidelines.

Hancock – who had the Tory whip removed after taking part in I’m a Celebrity last year – also went head-to-head with Pennant in the boxing challenge.

Describing the experience, Pennant told The Independent: “My first thought was, ‘Oh yes.’ That was without a doubt the first thought. Then after that it was, ‘Do not lose.’”

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins continues on Sunday at 9pm on Channel 4.

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