ROLAND WHITE reviews last night's TV: Matt Hancock in Celebrity SAS

Matt Hancock makes a fool of himself again in this SAS trial: ROLAND WHITE reviews last night’s TV

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins


Fake Or Fortune


A clergyman called Harold Davidson became a national figure of fun in 1932 when he was defrocked for indecency and set up instead as a seaside entertainer.

The former Rector of Stiffkey (pronounced Stookey) in Norfolk exhibited himself in a barrel on Blackpool seafront, and also posed on a rotating spit while a mechanical demon prodded him in the bottom with a fork. This career change did not end well. An attempt to recreate Daniel in the Lions’ Den, with real lions, proved fatal.

I thought of poor Mr Davidson while watching Matt Hancock in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins (Ch4). He guided the nation through lockdown but was ‘defrocked’ for breaking the rules. Now he’s exhibiting himself in the enormous barrel that is reality television.

Against stiff competition from the entire population, Hancock is his own worst enemy. He was arrogantly dismissive of the special forces challenges he would face. ‘I’ve seen pressure,’ he boasted. ‘What I’m going to face is water off a duck’s back.’

ROLAND WHITE: Matt Hancock is exhibiting himself in the enormous barrel that is reality television on Celebrity SAS

Really, Matt? Really? No wonder the instructors thought he had an attitude problem.

READ MORE: Matt Hancock is given hilarious new nickname by Jason Fox on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins 

One of the challenges was basically two people punching each other very hard in the head. Hancock took on Jermaine Pennant, a former Premier League footballer. He came second.

The former health secretary and I’m A Celeb contestant also failed a test in which the 16 participants had to shuffle their way at a dizzying height across two narrow bars. He gave himself a pep talk before somersaulting off the bars in spectacular fashion. The instructor’s verdict: ‘You complete and utter buffoon.’

Having done so badly, Hancock was given a tough interview by two of the instructors, who questioned him about lockdown. He tried to justify the affair that ended his career, but struggled to make his case.

At one point, an instructor told him: ‘I am talking — ****ing listen.’ Now there’s a technique that wouldn’t half liven up Newsnight.

There was such an extraordinary revelation on Fake Or Fortune (BBC1) last night that even art expert Philip Mould couldn’t believe what he was saying.

There was such an extraordinary revelation on Fake Or Fortune (BBC1) last night that even art expert Philip Mould couldn’t believe what he was saying

It appears that Oxford University’s Magdalen College once had a stock of great works of art — including a Picasso — which it used to lend to students who wanted to brighten up their rooms.

Wife’s army 

A very rare figure indeed could be sighted last night on Sky Cinema Comedy — Mrs Mainwaring. 

She never appeared in television versions of Dad’s Army, but took a prominent role in the 2016 film, which got lukewarm reviews. 

As Sergeant Wilson might have noted: ‘Was that wise?

You will no doubt be absolutely staggered to learn that not all of these works were returned to the college authorities.

There was the distinct suggestion that this was how a £60,000 bronze sculpture by Dame Elisabeth Frink came to be sold at a car-boot sale in Essex for £90 — knocked down from £100.

The bronze figure of a warrior, about a foot high, might have been one of a limited edition of ten. What Philip and Fiona Bruce needed to do was to prove it was one of those ten originals.

By tracking down and indeed borrowing two of the authenticated works, they were able to carry out metallurgy tests which proved that the real figures and the car-boot bargain were cast together, probably from the same ingot.

The Essex figure, Frink experts declared, was the real thing.

So if you happen to be at a car-boot sale and meet an Oxford graduate with a few paintings to sell, take a close look at the stock. You might snap up a bargain.

Christopher Stevens is away. 

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