The former Conservative MP filmed the series months before his appearance on I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, and, according to the MPs’ Register of Interests, was paid £45,000 for his participation.
This means that Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, which begins on Tuesday (26 September), was his first celebrity appearance on a TV show since he resigned after being caught reaching his own social distancing guidelines. In June 2021, CCTV footage revealed he kissed Gina Coladangelo, an advisor with whom he was having an extra-marital affair.
In the first episode, Hancock, who has described the show as “one of the toughest things I’ve ever done”, is immediately put through his paces by ex-army officials, including Jason “Foxy” Fox.
After first meeting Hancock, Fox pushes Hancock into a river in Vietnam, then turns to smirk at the camera. Ahead of another challenge, in which celebrities are tasked with walking over a tightrope, Fox calls him “Hancock with a silent ‘han’”.
Addressing Hancock’s appearance on the show, ex-Navy SEAL Rudy Reyes revealed at a press launch for the show on Tuesday 19 September that the former MP struggled to ‘take criticism” during his time on the series.
He said: “We don’t like that. There’s no time to bark orders – we’ve got a schedule, we’ve got things to do and that would get you thrown off the course in our world.”
Elsewhere in the first episode, Hancock is pitted against retired football pro Jermaine Pennant for a challenge that saw the pair ordered to punch each other in the head as aggressively as possible without evasion until they’re told to stop.
Pennant reflected on his initial reaction to being instructed to hit Hancock at the press launch, telling The Independent: “My first thought was, ‘Oh yes!’”
“That was without a doubt the first thought,” he said. “Then after that it was, ‘Do not lose’. It was imperative I won because I would not be allowed to walk the streets again if i didn’t. I was just very grateful that I won and I saved face.”
Hancock previously said of his experience on the show: “It really opens your eyes and makes you look into yourself. After coming through the most challenging period as health secretary during the pandemic, I wanted to push my limits. It’s safe to say the course tested my resilience!”
Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins returns on Tuesday 26 September at 9.30pm on Channel 4, and continues on Sundays from 1 October at 9pm.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies