REALITY TV shows can offer a “valuable space” for discussion of politics – but it won’t be achieved with the appearance of Nigel Farage on I’m A Celebrity, a media expert has said.

The former Ukip and Brexit Party leader will become the latest in a long line of political figures to take part in gruesome challenges when the new series of the ITV show begins tonight.

The appearance by the right-wing politician – which will reportedly see him earn a record fee of £1.5 million – is already said to have sparked more than 1000 complaints.

A campaign calling on the public to boycott the show has also been launched by pro-EU campaign group Best for Britain, saying Farage is known for his “xenophobic politics, inflammatory rhetoric, and divisive role in British society”.

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Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain, said anything that “normalises or amplifies his toxic views must be opposed”.

She said: “After a weekend that saw police injured at the hands of a far-right mob, and after years of his politics poisoning our society, we want the public to send a clear message to Ant and Dec, ITV and the media at large, that giving a divisive populist like Farage a nightly primetime platform is not good for our country .”

Bethany Klein, professor of media and communication at the University of Leeds, said reality television could offer a “really valuable space” for the discussion of politics, both between participants and among viewers.

“For many people who are participating in the show, it might be their first time encountering people in the same space who have very different politics,” she said.

“That’s not the case with politicians, but with ordinary people certainly and maybe with other types of celebrities. So I think there is a lot of potential there.”

But she said she did not think any of this potential could be realised with someone like Farage.

“One reason is I think he is hateful, so that is maybe not the kind of politics that would benefit from being on reality TV,” she said. “Connected to that, I think he is someone who doesn’t listen and to be a valuable space for deliberation or deliberative politics, you need people who are entering in with good faith and will listen to other sides and have a meaningful conversation.

“And then finally I think he has had more of his fair share of media coverage.

“I think where reality TV could offer the most valuable space for politics would be for people or issues that haven’t received the fair share of media coverage, that don’t get that sort of mainstream media coverage.

“But there is nothing he could say or do on I’m A Celebrity which could help us to learn more about his perspectives or his political positions.”

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GB News host Farage will be joined in the jungle by other names including Britney Spears’s sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, JLS singer Marvin Humes, First Dates star Fred Sirieix, the reality star Sam Thompson, Guardian food critic Grace Dent and soap actors Danielle Harold from EastEnders and Nick Pickard from Hollyoaks.

He has said he has been “demonised” over the years and wants to show people he is not “mean-spirited, small-minded, nasty”.

However, Klein suggested his motivation for appearing on the show was “pretty straightforward” - he is an “opportunist”.

“It is definitely not a step he is taking to make the world a better place. I guess I just see him as an all-round opportunist,” she added.

Last year former UK health secretary Matt Hancock sparked a storm of controversy by appearing in I’m A Celebrity, followed by participating in another reality show Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Klein said it was difficult to measure whether taking part in reality TV helped to shift opinions of politicians.

“I didn’t get a sense that after [Hancock’s] appearances people were like 'actually, he’s not so bad a guy after all',” she said.

“I think people just enjoyed the pantomime of it.

READ MORE: Matt Hancock paid £320,000 to appear on I'm a Celebrity

“Maybe that is not why these guys are going on – to win people over who are not going to be won over. Maybe that’s not what’s driving them. I think a lot of it is money and the other opportunities it might lead to.”

She added: “I was trying to imagine what would be the surprising kind of redemptive outcome for Nigel Farage.

“That would be if he went on I’m A Celebrity and listened to people who have different opinions from him and came out a changed man who is saying I have been so wrong about immigration, about our relationship with the rest of Europe.

“That would be the only kind of redemptive story – but it’s impossible to imagine, isn’t it?”

On the question of whether it was a wise move by the producers to include Farage, Klein said their intention was likely to be focused on getting viewers interested rather than the opportunity to provide a platform for “true deliberation”.

“Nigel Farage’s appearance on I’m A Celebrity may well be good TV, but I don’t think it’s good politics,” she added.