Did Matt Hancock spark conversations about Dyslexia while in the Jungle


MANCHESTER, 02 December 2022- Analysis shows the focus – driven by his actions on screen – was on his intentions, future and redemption – rather than Dyslexia.

Peak discussion of dyslexia during his appearance came from a podcast on Dyscalculia – unrelated to him – and described as “a cousin to Dyslexia”
Dyslexia discussion and Matt Hancock MP peaked after the show finished – where presenters questioned guests, “I thought he went in to raise the profile of dyslexia, no?”
Matt Hancock MP’s mention of dyslexia was overshadowed by breaking news that OFCOM had received 100 complaints (now at over 2,000).
Once Matt Hancock MP noted he was seeking ‘forgiveness’ the subject of Dyslexia struggled to gain traction as it appeared intentions had changed.
1,373 mentions of “Dyslexia” but 22,811 mentions of “Matt Hancock” during the period.
Specialist broadcast agency donates support to Dyslexia Foundation to ensure Dyslexia gets the focus it deserves.

New analysis from Broadcast PR specialist, Be Broadcast, reveals that Matt Hancock MP’s goal of raising awareness and sparking conversations about dyslexia was not met during his time in the Jungle. Be Broadcast Monitoring tracks brand reputation against competitors and issues on editorial TV and Radio. During his appearance on the show – there were 1,373 mentions of Dyslexia across UK broadcast output. The majority were ‘neutral’ or throwaway comments – often pointing out Matt Hancock MP’s reasoning for joining the show. Some would also be classed as negative in tone – with the subject matter seemingly being seen as ‘used’ or in some senses a ‘joke’.

However, despite the major platform Matt Hancock MP was afforded – the peak of mentions (all positive) actually came early on in his appearance when BBC Radio 5 Live showcased a podcast on BBC Sounds – which looks at the subject of Dyscalculia – described as a ‘Cousin’ to Dyslexia.
Where Matt Hancock MP was discussed directly, his peak came after the show had finished with media discussing his placement. Notably BBC Breakfast interviewed former MP and contestant, Lembit Opik, and media commentator Scott Bryan.

During the segment – Lembit Opik states that Hancock went into the jungle to “make a lot of money”. Presenter Sally Nugent clarified – “I thought he went in to raise the profile of dyslexia, no?”. Opik acknowledges that “he did. But made a lot of money as well – let’s not pretend. He did manage to get the British Dyslexia Association on the map but the really big thing for him was to redeem himself”. Much was made on social media about Matt Hancock MP’s first mention of Dyslexia on the show – but this came around the same time that it was announced OFCOM had received 100 complaints about his appearance and that they would assess before investigating. It has since been revealed that over 2,000 complaints have been lodged with the regulator. Unfortunately for Matt Hancock MP’s cause – this took focus within the news and discussion.  The second highest peak for Matt Hancock MP and dyslexia followed him talking about seeking forgiveness. Dyslexia discussions were mentioned here as the ‘original reason’. There was also some questioning about why he had failed to mention the topic as yet too.

From this point on, until post-series analysis, the subject of dyslexia made very little headway for the remainder of the series, Josh Wheeler, founder of Be Broadcast – which helps brands and charities deliver messaging to TV and Radio, said “If the intention was to really shine a light on Dyslexia – which impacts around 10% of Brits – then we would be disappointed with these results.  He continued “To an extent, the issue appears to have been used and messaging around the subject matter just didn’t land. Lots has been made about his intentions including a return to politics, media career and redemption – but based on this, it could be suggested the topic of dyslexia has been taken advantage of. At Be Broadcast we think the issue is important and are donating our time to the Dyslexia Foundation to right this wrong. I am sure that broadcasters across the country would be interested in talking to Matt as a campaign speaker and we have shared these reports with his office – so he is welcome to get in touch.”

Steve O’Brien, CEO of the Dyslexia Foundation said “The main problem with dyslexia is many people come into the space and leave without doing anything. As a media personality, Matt Hancock came across in the Jungle, similar to Ed Balls’ reinvention. I was disappointed that Matt never discussed his work to support the bill to screen children for dyslexia and give dyslexic children a voice in any detail. However, we had Matt on our Podcast Words Fail Me, and he talked about his dyslexia positively and discussed his plans to screen children. BUT, the UK does not have the infrastructure to address dyslexia, and hardly any trained teachers or financial support for formal diagnostic assessments or remediation. If Matt’s bill passes, being read today, there are still big questions. Would children be given access to educational health care plans and SEND provision? Currently, the SEND provision is in disarray, with families fighting Local Authorities to get support for their children. Dyslexics are given solutions that are like sticking plasters. There is little identity or community, due to the lack of representation of dyslexics, so the community is very transient in nature and people leave. Matt had a great opportunity to do something with his position and prime time slot. I imagine he will leave the space with little change.”

About Be Broadcast & Dyslexia Foundation

Be Broadcast is a specialist broadcast agency.
We help brands to get on TV and Radio by getting under the skin of their organisation and their place in the world.
We undertake analysis to define how media look at subjects to help inform strategy.
Be Broadcast works with a diverse range of clients from FTSE 100 brands through to small charities.

The Dyslexia Foundation

The organisation was set up in 1999 to support Dyslexic people, focusing on those who needed practical support and information in an accessible format.
Our charity work has a portfolio range of assisting adults with Dyslexia across the North West. Dyslexia Foundation has charity status which means we are in a specialist position to offer support to people with Dyslexia. Among our range of services, we offer free Dyslexia screenings and subsidized rates of assessment costs for people in work and education.
We employ professionally qualified staff, the majority of whom have Dyslexia, including tutors, advisors and psychologists. The ethos of the organisation is the ability rather than the disability, empowering adults to look positively to the future. The organisation has its Head Office in Merseyside and a satellite office in Lancashire. The organisation offers a professional helpline for adults in employment and education, support for employers, and advice, information and guidance. We also offer Screening, Assessment, One-to-One Tuition and Needs Assessments.

We work with individuals, groups and large statutory and vocational organisations from the public, private and voluntary sector offering innovative solutions to adults with Dyslexia. We have also worked with people with learning disabilities such as Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Adhd, ADD and Bi polar.

About The Data

Be Broadcast has the ability to retrospectively review and analyse mentions across broadcast media using search terms.

Once the dataset is complete, Be Broadcast has analysed each mention and discussion to define key reasons behind peaks. Be Broadcast has removed any advertising mentions but have kept all mentions of Dyslexia – as his appearance may have sparked broader discussion.

The data ranges from 6th November to 1st December 2022