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.
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”
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”
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?”
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.”
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?”
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?”
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”
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.”
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.”
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?”
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?”
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!”
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.”
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.”
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?”
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?”