TV

Celebrity Big Brother: Day 2 Recap

Tonight’s show kicked off with one of the really exciting warnings: ‘Be prepared for offensive language and uncomfortable scenes involving adult and sexual themes.’

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“Uncomfortable scenes” involving sex? Are they all gonna have an orgy while reading mean Tweets about themselves or something? Let’s find out!

The first part of last night’s recap was a mostly dull affair, despite the sexy warning at the start. Groggy, gravel-voiced and looking like raccoons, the housemates awoke to their first morning in the CBB gaff.

Scotty T got up and, being working class in possession of a twenty-something’s metabolism, immediately set to making a fried breakfast.

Elsewhere, Winston began his nebulous political ranting to a visibly bored Gemma. Needless to say “Indiginous”, “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” and other suspiciously BNP-sounding phrases abound.

Meanwhile Danniella, Daz and J Part are still stuck in wood-panelled room, eating gruel and swapping LA drug stories. In order to release them, the other housemates are tasked with lining themselves up, from most to least annoying person. Uh oh.

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This is usually where things kick off, but this time it backfired. The three most annoying housemates’ – Scotty, Jeremy and Stephanie – don’t care if people find them annoying; they’ve literally built their careers on it (well, the dudes have. Steph’s just doing her time ’til her penance is over)!

So Geordie, Holly of Oaks and Britain’s Next Top Tattoo Removal Candidate were given a basket of keys and told that finding the relevant ones would unlock the garden (smoking), the kitchen (booze), the bathroom (y’know) and win freedom from the gruel-munchers in the wooden room.

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Elsewhere Tiffany (HBIC) and Jonathan (who sort of reminds me of Moon face from the Faraway Tree books) stage the first US huddle of the season. When the Americans start huddling and whispering, it means there’s some hair-pulling (literal or figurative) on the horizon. Hold on to your weave folks.

While discussing whether or not they had criticised Angie for talking too much, New York tells Jonathan: “No, I would never say that,” before adjusting an enormous eyelash and adding “..not at this stage of the game. It’s too early to start bugging off. Not yet….”.

Say what you like about Americans, but they get how to play the Big Brother game.

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“When the eyelash glue gets left off the shopping list, that’s when you’ll see me ‘pop off'”

Back in the bedroom, more tantalising but frustratingly vague hints about the details of Danniella and Christopher’s fight began to surface. It involved a relapse, a panto gig and a man. Stay tuned for more details.

Time for a spanner in the works. Geordie T, Hollyoaks and Tattoo neck are called to the diary room and told that because nothing else is happening they won the task, they will be solely responsible for deciding who goes up for eviction. Drama!

Social niceties usually compel the celebs to look stricken over having to make such a decision. “I can’t! Everyone is so nice!” etc, until they inevitably choose the person who snores the loudest.

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Stephanie putting those acting lessons to good use

Not this time though; it took the Tatt Man all of 5 seconds to nominate Nancy Dell’Olio, branding her “intimidating”. Her phenomenal intelligence (she’s a lawyer who speaks 4 languages!) and metres of smooth, unillustrated skin was obviously too much for him to handle.

Hollyoak and Geordie T at least tried to seem conflicted about it. Scotty cited Winston’s greedy behaviour at meal times (not his right-wing political views or rampant homophobia) as a “pet hate.”

Putting her high-quality acting skills to work, Stephanie screwed up her little face and picked Kristina, ostensibly for giving out to her for making noise, but really, for being over 30. “A proper adult,” Steph called her euphemistically, which is twenty-something code for ‘positively geriatric’.

The reason for the “uncomfortable” warning at the beginning became all-too clear after the housemates got access to alcohol.

When it became clear that the newly-returned housemates (including openly gay John Patridge remember) would be needing somewhere to sleep, a drunken Winston repeatedly slurred that he would sleep on the floor before sharing a bed with a man.

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“It’s against by immigrant-hating, UKIP-loving principals!”

“It’s against my principles!” Nancy refused to engage with such foolishness and dismissed him with a wave of beautifully manicured hand.

A psychologist might link this event with what followed later in the bedroom, where Winston became more handsy than a sex-offending octopus on shore leave.

There was a toe-curlingly embarrassing exchange with Tiffany NY wherein he drunkenly begged her to get under the covers with him. “I’ve been waiting for this moment,” he slurred, “and I’ve waited patiently..”

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When she declined on the grounds that she wasn’t wearing any underwear (!) he became even more sleazy, forcing feminist icon and defender of womanly virtue Gemma Collins to interject.

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You shall not pass, babez

That earlier warning was no lie: it was intensely uncomfortable viewing.

In other news, Angie called Jonathan an “obnoxious American.” Seriously, Angie? A self-hating ‘Merican is the worst kind. If she starts trying to put on a Lancashire accent like Austin Armacot, I’m outta here.

Not shown in last night’s episode was Kristina Rihanoff’s (the Siberian Snooze Siren) revelation that she’s pregnant with Ben Cohen’s baby. Was the babushka announcement a bit of cynical sympathy soliciting on the nominated Siren’s part?

Who will go in tonight’s eviction? Paddy Power has Winston at 1/10 odds on to go and by golly I hope they’re right!

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TV

Celebrity Big Brother 2016: The Launch

I know what you are thinking, gentle reader: “Wasn’t Celebrity Big Brother just on a couple of months ago?” Or maybe “Is that programme even still on?!” The answer to both rather rhetorical questions is an emphatic ‘yes’.

The last season of Celebrity Big Brother (UK) wrapped up in September just four short months ago, and it was a stone-cold cracker of a series. It had everything: romance, revelations and rabid reality ‘stars’ – the stuff TV gold and alliteration-loving tabloids are made of!

So, on to this year’s “Celebrities” (a more appropriate title might be ‘Celebrity-Adjacent Big Brother’), the usual mix of half-remembered has-beens, jaded reality TV journeymen, and barely recognisable twenty-somethings desperately trying to parlay that one-episode arc on Britain’s Next Top Syphilis Patient into a meaningful stint on Celebrity Big Brother. Good luck with that!

Anyway, last night’s launch was what viewers have come to expect from CBB; a brief VT of the celebrity explaining who the are (delightful irony), then saying something mildly controversial, then being rushed up the stairs before the baying crowd.

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First in was Gemma Collins, a former TOWIE (The Only Way is Essex) cast member renowned for her feisty ways and love of kebabs (probably). She burst into the gaff like an enormous blond Hagrid while the voiceover man reveal that she had spent over £2,000 on “intimate surgery”. You go, sassy snatch surgery enthusiast!

Do Say: “What an elegant camel toe you’re sporting”
Don’t Say: “It’s Levi-osa, not Lev-i-osa”

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Next to arrive was ex-Eastender, John Patridge, who burst out like a cross between David Walliams and James Bond. Despite his casual sexism and regrettable tooth-to-gum ratio, I’m interested to see how he acts.

Do Say: “You’d make a good Bond..”
Don’t Say: “..if you sorted those Panto villain eyebrows out”

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Another ex-Eastender, this time Daniella Westbrook, was next out looking like a negative image Betty Boop. “I’m best known for playing Sam Mitchell in Eastenders,” she said, before vaguely adding, “but I’m also known for causing quite a lot of chaos in the papers.”

This makes it sound like she took a piss in a wastepaper bin at The Guardian’s Xmas party. In actuality, Daniella is best know for LITERALLY having snorting (part of) her face off. Some reconstructive rhinoplasty and  a bit of rehab later and she’s ready to battle for the public’s affections

Do Say: “I like your barnet fair”
Don’t Say: “Fancy some Boutrous Boutrous Gali?”

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Next in was Christopher Maloney, formerly of X Factor and also Daniella Westbrook’s inner circle. Until he sold a story to the papers, apparently (oooo!). You may remember him for his hilarious and humiliating Andy Bernard-eque breakdown on the X Factor stage in 2012. Or any of his epic crying on-camera crying sessions, really. Was chased into the house by a crowdchanting either”crier” or “who are ya?”

Do Say: “Your nan would be proud.”
Don’t Say: “Your nan says lay off the Lidl brand Orang-U-Tan.”

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Next in was THE BEST REALITY TV STAR OF ALL TIME. That’s no hyperbole folks; Tiffany ‘New York’ Pollard was a contestant on MTV “dating” show The Flavor of Love with Flava Flav and was so outrageous she earned her own reality show, ‘I Love New York’ (which inadvertently spawned another show called I Love Money, but that’s another story). She’s hilarious, she sassy and she will snatch a bitch’s wig off without a second thought. Y’all’s on notice: HBIC (Head Bitch In Charge) is back.

Do Say: “What was Flav really like?”
Don’t Say: “What was gonorrhoea really like?”

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Nineties love rat/ third-rate Cliff Richard impersonator Darren Day was next in. Despite a laughably affected Ray Winstone-esque growl, this Darren seems less annoying than the one who was in Joseph (and Anna Friel). Without all the Nuts magazine carry on, he could be a surprisingly popular housemate.

Do Say: “You seem hard – look at all those tattoos!”
Don’t Say: “Did they let you keep the Technicolour dream coat?”

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The next housemate was a generic reality type (from the utterly pointless Ex On The Beach), Megan McKenna, complete with Twitter feud (with Ellie Goulding) and utter lack of self awareness. Sweary and skanky – I’m already bored.

Do Say: Something about her tan.
Don’t Say: “Ellie Goulding has more Twitter followers than you”

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And on to our first blatantly despicable housemate: former boxer, one-time UKIP (I know) candidate and out-and-proud homophobe Winston McKenzie (continuing the Eastenders theme by channelling Patrick Truman). Said he would cope with the presence of a “homosexual” in the house by “standing against a brick wall all of the time.” Rightly booed.

Do Say: “I love the work of the Westboro Baptist Church, don’t you?”
Don’t Say: “You look like Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bell Air‘s grandfather.”

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Next in was David Gest, a man as charming as he is ludicrous-looking. Whenever I think of him I am reminded of Elton John’s quip ahead of Gest’s ill-fated marriage to Liza Minelli. When a journalist asked what John would get Minelli as a wedding gift, he replied “A straight husband.”

Do Say: “OMG, you definitely don’t look ridiculous.”
Don’t Say: “Your hair looks like a dandelion that someone blew most of the spores off.”

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Another generic entrant in the form of Scotty T from Geordie Shore. At least, I think he’s from Geordie Shore – his unintelligible chattering made comprehension difficult. Muscles, no talent, and with that incomprehensible accent, distinctly Rab C Nesbitt-ish. I hate him already.

Do Say: “‘Turbo Dick’ is a great nickname!”
Don’t Say: “Do they call you ‘Turbo Dick’ because you’re such a massive bell end?”

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Next in was Russian ballroom dancer/ alleged home-wrecker Kristina Rihanoff from Strictly Come Dancing. It’s clear that she wants to dispel the public perception of her as a “Siberian siren” and to get the exposure so cruelly denied to an affair-having dancer on the BBC’s highest-rated programme.

Do Say: “What’s a Pasodoble?”
Don’t Say: “What’s adultery?”

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Next to arrive was Jonthan Chebon. Never heard of him? Me neither. This is where ‘Celebrity-adjacent Big Brother’ would be a more apt title. He is apparently a BFF of Kim Kardashian. Yay.

Do Say: “Maintaining a friendship with a celebrity is a talent in itself!” 

Don’t Say:”Who.The.Fuck.Are.You?”

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Next came the sole penitent of the series, Stephanie Davis, forced to prostrate herself before the viewing public after being sacked from her cushy Hollyoaks role for being a party-animal. Young, not to annoying, possibly a winner – if she doesn’t party her way into the public’s bad books that is.

Do Say: “Hollyoaks is the spiritual successor to Brookside.”
Don’t Say: “Hollyoaks is the spiritual successor of Crossroads.”

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Fast forward to the next wannabe Jeremy McConnell Cooke, who was a runner up Mr Ireland 2011 (apparently) and also appeared in some “high fashion modelling shows” across the island too. As someone actual from Ireland, I call ‘bullshit’ on that.

Do Say: “Your neck tattoos are sexy.”
Don’t Say: “Your neck tattoos will guarantee you never get a real job.”

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The penultimate housemate was Angie Bowie, who introduced herself as an author…..and also the ex-wife of David Bowie. Oh, you could almost hear the crowd thinking, that’s who/ what she’s done. She seems curmudgeonly, yet cuddly – only time will tell though.

Do Say: “You’re more than just the ex-wife of David Bowie!”
Don’t Say: “Didn’t you also sleep with Mick Jagger?”

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Last to enter was Nancy Dell’Olio, glamorous former lover of ex-England football manager Sven Goran Erikkson. Also, Nancy has the distinction of being the most highly-paid contestant this year (her fee was rumoured to be just under a million!” Further rumours suggest that del Oliveoil might walk before the first scheduled eviction on Friday. If she doesn’t, she might be in for a nasty surprise; Ulrika Johnson is also rumoured to be entering the BB house. Exciting!

Do Say: Anything in one of the four languages she speaks
Don’t Say: “There’s only this Lidl champagne left – hope that’s okay?”

Celebrity Big Brother airs at 9pm week nights on TV3 (Ireland) and Channel 5 (UK). Follow my live tweets here!

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Film

The Danish Girl/ The Hateful Eight/ Concussion

A stylish biographical drama to salve NYE hangovers, The Danish Girl (January 1) tells the story of Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery.

When artist Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander) asks husband Einar (Eddie Redmayne) to fill in for a female life model for a portrait one day, it awakens something in him. 

Defying the boundaries of 1920’s Copehangen, the couple work together to create a female persona for Einar, Lili, and in doing so, they must explore what this new person means to the future of their relationship.  

There’s something suspiciously emperor’s new clothes about the praise being heaped on The Danish Girl. Film-goers reluctant to seem stupid for finding it boring (it is) or over long (ditto), will no doubt lie and say they liked it for fear of disagreeing with Vanity Fair or whoever.

Though it is undoubtedly beautiful, visually sumptuous fare, it’s also sadly devoid of meaningful content. 

All fur coat and no girdle, you might say.
 
Next this month is The Hateful Eight (January 8), which Quentin Tarantino indignantly shelved (before almost immediately changing his mind) after the script was leaked online last year.

Set in the aftermath of the Civil War era, TH8 opens on bounty hunter John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth (Kurt Russell) – a man known for delivering his quarry alive – as he transports The Prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) through the snowy plains of Wyoming to the gallows. 

Before long they encounter The Bounty Hunter (Samuel L Jackson) and a host of other simplistically titled characters (The Sherrif, The Cow Puncher etc) who may or may not be intending to snatch The Prisoner and claim the bounty on her head for themselves.

I love and loathe Tarantino in equal measure; he makes decent movies then saturates them in tedious pop culture references and bits stolen wholesale from obscure samurai or western films. When it works (Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds) it’s great, when it doesn’t (Kill Bill) it’s as painful as one of his terrible, self-indulgent cameos. But which type is Hateful Eight? There’s only one way to be sure!
 
Ostensibly a sports thriller, Concussion (January 29) is really a frightening look at the “concussion crisis” in the NFL. 

For those unfamiliar with the current state of play in America’s football league, the impact of repeated concussions on the brain is a controversial and hotly debated topic.

When forensic pathologist Dr Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) conducts an autopsy on former NFL player Mike Webster, he discovers neurological degeneration similar to Alzheimer’s disease. So, Omalu names the deterioration chronic trauma encephalopathy (CTE) and publishes his findings in a medical journal.

In a scene straight from real life, a naïve Omalu, eager to inform the League of the risk of brain damage from full-contact football, brings his findings to an NFL doctor, who spells out the real truth. “If 10 percent of mothers in this country would begin to perceive football as a dangerous sport,” he tells Omalu. “That is the end of football.”

Omalu’s attempts to highlight the problem draws fire from the NFL who publicly undermine his findings to protect its business interests, while simultaneously waging a private campaign of intimidation against him. 

A truly fascinating subject – those interested in learning more should seek out the excellent PBS documentary League of Denial.

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