'I'm A Celebrity': As Boris Johnson's Dad Prepares For New Series, 7 More Times The ITV Show Got Political

Are the jungle and the House of Commons really *that* different?
James Gourley/Blake Ezra Photography/REX/Shutterstock

At a time when Boris Johnson’s credentials as foreign secretary are being called into question on a fairly frequent basis, what he really needs now is a break.

So we can only imagine his reaction when it was announced that his father, Stanley Johnson, had touched down in Australia, ahead of the new series of ‘I’m A Celebrity’ - particularly as he later admitted he’d failed to mention to his son that he’d signed up for the ITV reality show.

But while BoJo’s dad might seem like an unlikely fit for ‘I’m A Celeb’, he’s actually one of a number of the show’s participants with a political link. Here are seven of the most prominent from years gone by...

1. Nadine Dorries - Series 12 (2012)


The controversial Tory politician was the first to be eliminated from her series, but still managed to squeeze in two Bushtucker Trials before she was shown the door, which should give you an indication as to how popular she was with viewers.

Nadine found herself suspended from the Party thanks to her involvement in the programme, due to her failure to inform the Chief Whip that she would be taking part, which was criticised by then-Home Secretary Theresa May, who pointed out it was the job of politicians to be in their constituency, rather than appearing on reality television.

2. Carol Thatcher (Series 5, 2005)


Prior to her arrival Down Under, no one would have anticipated that Margaret Thatcher’s daughter would wind up being the year’s most popular contestant, ahead of Sid Owen, Sheree Murphy and Jimmy Osmond.

However, the public voted her the Queen of the Jungle in the series five finale.

3. Lauren Booth (Series 6, 2006)


Half-sister to then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie, Lauren was a surprising addition to the ‘I’m A Celeb’ camp in 2006.

During her time in the jungle, Lauren dished a few family secrets, including that she felt Cherie had “changed” since becoming the Prime Minister’s wife, even claiming she’d once asked her husband to carry her bags inside for her during a family Christmas gathering.

She donated her fee from the show to the Palestinian relief charity Interpal.

4. Edwina Currie (Series 14, 2014)


Having already appeared on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’, it was only a matter of time before Edwina put in an appearance on ‘I’m A Celebrity’.

Edwina fared better than most politicians, eventually finishing in fourth place, making headlines during her time in the jungle thanks to her blazing rows with Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson and her shock revelations, including one detailed anecdote about losing her virginity.

5. Lembit Öpik (Series 10, 2010)


Like Edwina Currie, the list of Lembit’s extracurricular media appearances is not short, with pantomime roles and reality TV appearances as prominent on his CV as his work as an MP for Lib Dem party.

He was famously bitten by a snake during his time in the jungle, before eventually being booted out by the public two weeks in.

6. Paul Burrell (Series 4, 2004)


Not so much a political link as a royal one, Princess Diana’s former butler’s arrival in the ‘I’m A Celebrity’ jungle caused a real stir in 2004, just a year after he released his controversial memoir ‘A Royal Duty’, which included many personal details about his time working at Buckingham Palace.

While Paul remains a divisive figure among the British public, he clearly proved popular in the jungle, even managing to finish in second place behind comedian Joe Pasquale.

7. Lord Brian Paddick (Series 8, 2008)


Explaining why he’d decided to make such a career u-turn and venture into reality television, the former police chief told Ant and Dec: “For a long time I’ve been doing serious stuff. Thirty years in the police and running for mayor. It’s all bad news that they want me to comment on. So I thought why not come and do something trivial.”

With two Bushtucker Trials under his belt, he eventually branded the show “the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life”, adding: “Anything after this is a breeze.”

‘I’m A Celebrity’ returns for its 17th series on Sunday (19 November) at 9pm on ITV.

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