Since X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing came to an end, it seems that reality TV fans have been left without a weekly fix. Fear not though as Celebrity Big Brother returns once again. Personally it doesn’t seem like that long ago since Julie Goodyear was alienating the nation while Julian Clary became the champion back in September.
Now though, we have another celebrity instalment, already the fourth on Channel Five, and this year’s build-up seems to be more about who wasn’t going in than who was. Disgraced TV personality Justin Lee Collins was an early rumoured name, as was Katie Price, but both quashed the stories while Meat Loaf didn’t even answer claims that he was doing the show. The most recent rumour was that Lindsey Lohan was taking part in the show as she’d arrived in London, however anyone with a bit of common sense knows that she’d never appear on a reality series like this.
Instead, our first housemate up was a very perturbed looking Frankie Dettori who looked like he’d dressed for a hunt rather than to take part in a reality show. Obviously Frankie isn’t someone who’s that au fait with the celebrity world, however it seems that since his drugs controversy he needs to do something to redeem himself and it seems Big Brother would be that thing…
Obviously the jockey probably had second thoughts when he started chatting to Brian Dowling, who has been hosting the show for eighteen months now, and still really has no idea what he’s doing. A case in point is when Dowling tried to explain to Frankie that he was to take part in a secret task, however Frankie really wasn’t that interested. Frankie’s partner-in-crime for his task was X-Factor 2012’s biggest talking point Rylan Clark, who now seems to be loved by the public who initially saw him as a hate figure and sent him death threats.
The minute the pair met, the night descended into doom as the secret task begun and seemingly dragged on for hours, even though in essence it was a simple idea. Essentially Rylan and Frankie had to choose between two housemates, with one being sent into the house while the other was sent into a crudely-constructed basement which had no food, no hot water and in which the housemates would not get their suitcases. Even though the majority of the audience understood the point of the task, it took Rylan and Frankie a while to grasp what they had to do, and if that wasn’t enough Dowling then repeated it again.
After what seemed like a decade, we finally got to meet our third housemate in prim and proper Paula Hamilton, one of the original British models who made her name when she starred in a 1987 Volkswagen advert. In her VT, Paula appeared absolutely nutty as a fruitcake and so I’m not surprised that she’d previously failed a psych test to appear on the Channel 4 version of the show. Paula is also an ex-girlfriend of Simon Cowell, however it appears as if we need one in every series after Jasmine’s appearance last year. Paula was pitted against Tricia Penrose, who was best known as singing barmaid Gina in Heartbeat and later went on to have no success whatsoever as a singer in her own right. Tricia rightfully admitted in her VT that she’s often criticised for her poor choice of outfit, however I thought she did OK this evening and seemed to win Rylan round as he described her as a ‘right laugh’. Indeed it was this remark from Rylanthat secured Tricia a place in the main house, while Paula was confined to the basement without even her coconut named Boris to keep her company.
Next up we had Ryan ‘Toadie from Neighbours’ Moloney who came across as quite a well-mannered and self-mocking character who could easily laugh at all the stupid stuff he’d done in Neighbours over the years. He was competing for a place in the house with another soap legend in Gillian Taylforth, who most will know for playing Kathy in Eastenders on and off for fifteen years, or if not, probably for that scene in Footballer’s Wives where she did it on the pool table. After ignoring Big Brother’s question of who they thought was more fake, Frankie and Rylan decided to send Toadie down to the basement as they figured he could cope better with the situations. While there was much shrieking and wailing as Gillian and Tricia clapped eyes on each other, it was a different situation down in the basement where Paula mistook Toadie for some sort of show runner, but then she doesn’t strike me as the sort of woman who’d watch Neighbours of a lunchtime.
As the show seemed to have already been on for about three hours at this point, those behind the scenes obviously thought it a good idea to speed things up by bringing two housemates out at once. This may have been because the next two names were so unrecognisable that bringing them out on their own would just get two exclamations of ‘Who’s that then?’ rather than just one. The male eye candy element was provided by former Corrie and Beaver Falls actor Sam Robertson, who was quite honest about his performance in the long-running soap opera and also made the ladies swoon when he appeared on the Big Brother catwalk in a kilt. His sexy female counterpart was token Page 3 Girl Lacey Banghard, which shockingly is her real name, who has a very annoying voice which is sure to wind up some of her housemates the wrong way. I think the majority of the crowd wanted Lacey to suffer in the basement, however Frankie and Rylan decided that Sam appeared more cocky so he was sent down to join Paula and Toadie in the basement, while Gillian and Trisha looked bemused when Lacey joined them in the main house.
Steps’ Claire Richards was next up, and in her VT, she talked about how she considered herself to be the ‘lead singer’ and that she could also be a bit of a nightmare to live with. Claire’s obviously still having some weight issues, but nobody noticed once she was stood by the side of the next housemate who was former footballer Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock. Most of you will know that Razor is a last minute replacement for Jim Davidson who was arrested on sex charges however personally I think Razor will be more of a laugh despite already having seen him on several reality shows including I’m a Celebrity.
It appears as well as if Razor will ruffle a few feather as he and Frankie seem to have a little bit of history as the latter’s vote sent the former down to the basement after Rylan uttered the classic line ‘I’m not being funny but that’s Claire from Steps!’ Our final housemates were The Hills stars Spencer and Heidi, known by fans of the show as Speidi, who will count as one contestant as Jedward did a couple of series back.
Spencer didn’t endear himself to those watching his VT when he said that all of the rumoured housemates looked like freaks, and claimed that he and his wife could easily win the show. After Spencer made himself a hate figure in about a minute, it was an easy decision for Frankie and Rylan to send Speidi to the basement while they themselves joined the four ladies in the main house.
Tonight’s Celebrity Big Brother has to be the first one in which I knew everybody who was going in ahead of time, and so the revelations were sort of an anticlimax. To be fair, the opening night twist was at least a bit different and didn’t involve any of the housemates saying stupid things that were being fed to them through an earpiece. The only issue was that Rylan and Frankie’s decision-making seemed to take forever while Dowling and Big Brother repeated themselves over and over again.
In terms of the housemates, it seems that at least personality wise we’ve got a good mix of crazy (Paula), psychotic (Razor), just plain awful (Spencer), eye candy (Sam and Lacey), simply outrageous (Rylan) and lots of fairly nice ones, who I’m sure will show their true colours as the weeks go on. Personally though I found this two hour show way too long, and at times it was a chore to sit through as the basement element was explained to every single housemate over and over again. I think this series does certainly show promise, but for now at least I’m left with the comforting words that are spray-painted over the basement walls ‘We’re All in this Together’.
What do you think of this year’s Celebrity Big Brother line-up? Who are you favourites to win? Leave Your Comments Below.
And here’s a reminder of the launch night action…