Nigel Farage and Nella Rose have been branded ‘TV gold’ after striking up an unlikely friendship in the I’m A Celebrity jungle.
Fans had expected the pair to clash due to their opposing political views but they shocked viewers when they instead proved to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders during the Bushtucker Trials, earning themselves the couples’ nickname ‘Nigella’.
Joined by Josie Gibson, the duo had to poke their heads through ‘hell holes’ filled with snakes to retrieve tokens, using their tongues to move them along a metal wire.
They then had to then sit in the back of a burnt out truck, filled with gunge and creepy crawlies, while searching for tokens tied onto a rope.
While many had expected staunch Remainer Nella to grill Brexiteer Nigel, it was in fact Josie who was the first to bring up his political views, quipping the jungle experience couldn’t be ‘worse than Brexit.’
The following day in camp, Nigel was challenged by First Dates star Fred Sirieix who branded his Brexit campaign ‘shameful’ in a heated exchange.
Politician Nigel was the leader of the UK Independence Party from 2006 to 2009 and 2010 to 2016, and leader of the Brexit Party from 2019 to 2021, with a referendum on Brexit being held in 2016.
Nella – who was born in Belgium, before moving to the UK at seven and is of Congolese descent – has completely opposing political views to Nigel.
She previously threatened to leave the country if Brexit went ahead, telling her followers on X ‘If you man don’t vote remain I’m fully gonna be an international student you know’, and also stated that anyone who didn’t vote for Labour in the last general election was a ‘crackhead.’
Yet despite fans predicting a showdown between the pair, Nella and Nigel have yet to discuss politics.
During Monday’s episode, the pair took on the first public voted Bushtucker Trial of the series, the Jungle Pizzeria.
Nigel’s gruesome food challenge that saw him eat a four-penis pizza, camel udders and a cow teat in a bid to win meals for his campmates.
The broadcaster pulled a series of hilarious grimaces as he tucked into the dishes alongside Nella.
During the challenge, Nella sought comfort in Nigel’s words of encouragement, asking him to ‘gaslight’ her into enjoying the food.
She left fans in hysterics as she branded the politician ‘Farage’ and ‘boss’.
While some viewers may have doubted them, the unlikely pair managed to secure an impressive nine out of 10 stars, with Nigel trying all of his dishes.
Taking to X to comment on Nigel and Nella’s bond, viewers shared: ‘LOOOOOL nahhh this is TV GOLD fam Nella Rose and Nigel Farage doing a bush tucker trial #ImACeleb’; ‘The producers who put Nella and Nigel Farage in a group together deserve a raise! #ImACeleb’; ‘you acc couldn’t write it fam nella rose and NIGEL FARAGE???? #ImACeleb’;
If u would have told me that NELLA ROSE AND NIGEL FIRAGE are doing a ImACeleb trial together !?!? I would of LAUGHED in your face #ImACeleb’; ‘Nigel and Nella doing an eating trial… NIGELLA if you will. #imaceleb’; ‘nella rose & nigel farage are about to become the most unexpected duo to come out of this show #ImACeleb’;
‘Nella Rose & Nigel Farage? I’m here for it’; ‘Not Nella calling Nigel “big nige” #ImACele’; ‘nigel giving words of encouragement whilst staring at nella like this is sending me #imaceleb’; ‘Everyone in the UK at the moment voting for Nigel and Nella to do the second task’;
‘nella rose and nigel farage was NOT on my 2023 bingo cards #ImACeleb’; ‘why do nella rose and nigel farage have chemistry hold on… #ImACeleb’; ‘Nigel and Nella are the duo we never knew we needed #ImACeleb’; ‘Nella and Nigel is a duo I could have never seen coming. That alone is discombobulating I feel like we haven’t left the simulation since 2020, each year amazes me. #ImACeleb’; ‘nella and nigel farage is the most dysfunctional and hilarious pairing i’ve ever come across and i love them #ImACeleb.’
The end of the episode saw Nella voted to take on the next Bushtucker Trial, No Time To Cry, with Nigel reaching out and offering an affectionate pat on the shoulder.
And the overall ratings reflected this view, with 2.2 million less people tuning in to watch the launch show than last year.
In 2022, the I’m A Celebrity debut episode got an audience of over 10 million people at its peak – up two million from the previous year, even despite former health secretary, Matt Hancock, joining the line-up.
But the signing of Nigel has proved even more unpopular as the GB News star is a famously divisive figure, who is known for his right-wing views on immigration and gender pay gaps.
Nearly 10,000 people have been using the hashtag ‘Boycott I’m A Celeb’ and have been taking to X to plead their case as to why they were taking action against the show.
An ITV spokesperson told MailOnline about Sunday night’s show: ‘I’m A Celebrity received ITV’s highest overnight audience of the year and the biggest entertainment launch across any channel.’
On the other side of the spectrum, Nigel’s army of fans have been left irate after he was immediately the butt of a series of Brexit-related jokes on the first night of I’m A Celebrity.
ITV viewers laid into Ant and Dec after they gleefully made a ‘far right’ joke within minutes of Sunday’s show starting.
Some said the barrage of Brexit jokes only made them want Nigel to win more, amid a boycott by left-wingers.
Nigel has followed in the footsteps of other prominent political figures to enter the jungle, including Nadine Dorries, Edwina Currie, and Stanley Johnson.
Meanwhile Nella has divided I’m A Celebrity viewers with her jungle antics but charisma as an influencer has earned her 750,000 YouTube subscribers and close to 1 million followers on Instagram.
But behind her online stardom is a tragic past with the devastating loss of both parents plunging her and her older brother into homelessness while she was at university.
Nella, whose full name is Ornella Rose Hollela, previously told her TikTok followers: ‘When you’re an immigrant, have been homeless, lost both parents, family have disowned you, constantly body shamed but God continues to bless you.’
She has opened up on the trauma of her mother Eseho Omolongo’s sudden death in 2016, revealing she died in her arms and describing it as the worst thing that has ever happened to her.
And further tragedy hit Nella when four years later in 2020, her father Kamango Paul Hollela also passed away – leading her to pen an emotional tribute where she spoke of his suffering and pledged to make him the ‘proudest dad’.
Nella, of Congolese descent, arrived in the UK from Belgium at the age of seven with her mother and older brother Albert.
Set on losing her thick French accent, the I’m A Celebrity contestant would watch videos of Ant and Dec while growing up in north-west London to adopt a British accent.
After her mother died unexpectedly in 2016, the council took back the family home from the teenager and her brother, leaving Nella to live at her accommodation in Leicester University or with friends.
She told fans on YouTube about the devastating loss of her mother, explaining: ‘She died in my arms. It is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my life.
‘I was planning on using my student loan and my little YouTube money to pay the rent and bills.
‘But then my brother and I get a letter telling us we had 30 days to move out. So I’m in my second year of uni, I’m dealing with my mum’s death and now we’re homeless.
‘My uni room was my house or I was going on brand trips abroad in the holidays because I was running away from the fact I had nothing to call my own, nothing solid, I was escaping my problems.
‘You all thought I was living my best life, but in reality, I was homeless, living out of a suitcase and hopping from bed to bed.’
I’m A Celebrity airs daily at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX