I didn’t end up blogging about Celebrity Big Brother much this year. I’m old and tired and need my bed, just like Ken Russell, it turns out. But I did get my initial reactions to the celebs in, as is tradition. It’s also tradition to see just how accurate my entirely prejudiced first impressions might have been. Read on for the accuracy test.
What I said: Happy, happy joy joy. A Sunday Mirror columnist, who spends most of her time being bitchy. It’s going to be interesting to see how much other commentators can hold off from giving her a right slagging.
In retrospect: They did. She was a bit dull actually. Probably finds it easier being nasty and entertaining in print.
What I said: If you’re a heterosexual male of a certain age, you will remember Cleo Rocos. Otherwise, I’ll just remind you that she was Kenny Everett’s sidekick in the early 80s. Ridiculously well preserved after all these years. A little bit crazy, but in quite an endearing way, so should be entertaining.
In retrospect: Wasn’t that entertaining. Oh well.
What I said: Former Miss Great Britain and Teddy Sheringham’s girlfriend, we have here a genuine WAG, rather than that wannabe Nikki from the last BB proper. But stunningly stupid. A rock would do better in a Turing Test than her. My wife actually let out a gasp of sympathy when she started talking to the other housemates, it was that dismaying.
In retrospect: Ooh, right on the money there, wasn’t I? And a bona fide “mean girl”, too. I wonder how she’ll react when she finds her entire life has fallen to pieces in her absence. Will probably be in Nuts soon as a bit of therapy.
What I said: Sweet merciful Jesus. An actual celebrity and God among men. Still full of charisma after all these years. I’ll be rooting for him, even if he was mean about Katee Sackhoff.
In retrospect: Not quite as charismatic as I’d hoped, but certainly interesting.
What I said: Who? I’m sure cooler kids than I (ie my sister) know who he is, but I haven’t a clue and I like punk rock. Seems a pale shadow of actual punk rockers though and has clearly donated his charisma quotient to Dirk Benedict. He’s best known as Peaches Geldof’s possible boyfriend. Bottom. Of. The. Barrel.
In retrospect: A bit too accurate, here. A complete twat when drunk when a bit dull when not. Legging it in the first couple of days is probably the most interesting thing about him.
What I said: Didn’t recognise him without his blonde hair dye. It’s H from Steps everyone! Seems like quite a nice bloke. Apparently outed himself prior to going into the house to dispel any questions about his sexuality. There were questions?
In retrospect: A nice bloke. That’s really all that needs – or can be – said about him.
What I said: One of the Jackson 5. You have to feel sorry for him though: he’s clearly not spoken to another human being since the early 80s and has the conversational skills of a hardcore hermit. I’m worried he’ll have a minor breakdown within the first four days. He obviously didn’t recognise anyone else, but at least there’s another American for him to talk with. I pity the fool who has to talk to him though…
In retrospect: Sweet, gentle, nowhere near as mental as Michael, but still a bit loopy. Really not great at conversations.
What I said: Didn’t recognise her without the other six members of S Club (7). Seemed quite nice and a lot smarter than Danielle, but I sensed a reservoir of evil, ready to come on tap at a moment’s notice. She and H already knew each other, so at least she’ll have a pal to talk to.
In retrospect: The reservoir of evil emerged!
What I said: Yes. Seriously. Ken Russell. Ken “Lair of the White Worm” Russell. Ken “Amanda Donohoe, painted blue with a narwhale horn strap-on” Russell. Probably going to be this year’s John McCririck. Seems charmingly endearing at the moment though.
In retrospect: And he was indeed charmingly endearing until he left because he couldn’t take being locked up with Jade Goody’s mum.
What I said: Time may have steered clear of Leo Sayer’s face, since he’s almost unchanged since 1976, but they’ve had a go at his vocal folds, because the man can’t sing for toffee any more. Painful to listen to. Once met Cleo at a party.
In retrospect: Not really a great first impression, was it? Turned out to be a bit more mental than was obvious at first, although you would be, too, if you ended up having to stay in a house with a bloke who slept with your wife once.
What I said: Never heard of her, but she’s a superstar in Bollywood, allegedly. Presumably, there are vast numbers of people in Britain who went “Shilpa Shetty!” when she first appeared, but I wasn’t one of them. She’s a black belt in karate so there may be some chances of a Celebrity Death Match. Shilpa v Ken? Now that I’d pay to see.
In retrospect: There were indeed vast numbers of people who knew her and there’s a whole load more now.
So a couple that were right on the money there. Overall, my impressions were they seemed (with a few exceptions) to be quite nice and genial people and that’s pretty much what they turned out to be. Which is why the show was on course to being very, very dull until a certain incident.
Then there was Jade, of course. A mistake to put her back in? Not in ratings terms, but it’s probably a disaster for the show in other terms. Once upon a time, Big Brother just made celebrities; Celebrity Big Brother was about existing celebrities – or ‘celebrities’ if you prefer. When you start to feed on yourself – as they did with Chantelle last year – and try to manufacture celebrities or use your own created celebrities as celebrities, the first part of a Greek tragedy is beginning: hubris. And with hubris come catharsis and nemesis, which is what happened this year.
But since Big Brother is essentially some sort of morality play, since it had “good” beating “evil” by the end, will the ill will the show created among its viewers be lost, as the audience feel they’ve punished the wrongdoers?
I have no idea how much longer Big Brother can go on for. There has to be a law of diminishing returns somewhere and it’s no longer the “must watch” show it once was, but like a lot of reality TV, it is quite addictive and plenty of people will continue to tune in. It’s not bad in and of itself, but as Channel 4/Endemol twist the format, it’s certainly losing a certain something along the way. Will it slowly peter out? Will it just get boring? Will our attention spans and leisure time get so contracted, we don’t have time to commit to reality TV any more? Or will Endemol really screw up and get the show banned?
What do you think?