Matt Hancock has shared what it felt like to take it on SAS: Whoever dares winss’ famous boxing challenge.
The former health secretary, 44, is taking part in Channel 4’s upcoming fifth series celebrity SAS: Whoever dares winswhich airs on Tuesday (September 26).
In one segment, Hancock goes head-to-head with ex-footballer Jermaine Pennant, in which two opponents hit each other in the head without dodging until they are told to stop.
“He’s a former English footballer and he’s not a wimp,” Hancock said of the 40-year-old former Liverpool FC winger.
“At the same time, I was relieved that I wasn’t paired with someone even bigger. Or a woman. But I thought, this is a bad moment!”
He continued: “The punch in the face didn’t hurt nearly as much as I expected. The courage some people showed by persevering, especially when there were unequal struggles. I remember [paralympic cyclist] Jon[-Allan Butterworth], absolutely wild. It was incredible to watch him. That was absolutely incredible. What a guy!”
Participants will receive full headgear and gloves for the combat challenge. However, you will often face multiple opponents.
Pennant previously spoke about exonerating the current MP for West Suffolk during a press release for the new series.
“My first thought was, ‘Oh Yes‘,” he said, adding, “That was undoubtedly the first thought. After that it was said: “Don’t lose”. I had to win because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be allowed to walk the streets anymore. I was just very grateful that I won and saved face.”
Hancock was Britain’s health secretary during the Covid-19 pandemic and resigned in June 2021 after he was caught on CCTV flouting his own social distancing guidelines while kissing his adviser Gina Coladangelo, with whom he had a relationship had an extramarital affair.
The ex-politician filmed Celebrity SAS before taking part in the ITV reality survival show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, which aired last year. In MPs’ register of interests he said he was paid £45,000 for his appearance on the Channel 4 show, while he was reportedly paid as much as £400,000 for his time in the jungle.
Hancock previously described his time Celebrity SAS as “one of the hardest physical and mental things” he has ever done.
“It really opens your eyes and makes you look inside yourself,” he said, adding: “After going through the most difficult time as health minister during the pandemic, I wanted to push myself to the limit. It’s safe to say the course tested my resilience!”
Celebrity SAS: Who dares wins The show returns to Channel 4 on Tuesday September 26th at 9.30pm and continues on Sundays at 9pm from October 1st.