As the countdown approaches rapidly for the 17th series of Celebrity Big Brother I’d just like to take a moment to congratulate Channel 5 for the way in which they handled the last series during the summer. Let’s be honest it’s always difficult to keep an idea like Big Brother fresh and interesting for the viewer. And whilst it can be argued that the genre has become stale in recent years the idea of a USA v UK battle throughout the last incantation was a good one. Obviously there were times when we regressed to simple bickering not helped by particularly troublesome housemates like Farrah Abraham and Jenna Jameson but by and large we were able to watch housemates enjoy their time within the house. Apprentice star James Hill emerged victorious in the end and he was a very worthwhile and creditable winner in my opinion. The relationship he developed with American reality TV star Austin Armacost was enjoyable to watch and proved a winner with the voting public.
It is a good example of why I am looking forward to the coming series. Prior to the start of the last series I had never heard of either James or Austin. I’m not a fan of a lot of reality TV or soap operas and I always enter each new series of BB wondering who on earth most of the new housemates are. If the rumoured line up of this new series is to be believed then I expect tonight’s fayre to be more of the same. And that’s great. It doesn’t really matter if we have heard of the housemates or not it doesn’t make their value as contestants in an entertainment show any the less. For me the stand out housemates in the new show are going to be David Gest and Gemma Collins. But for vastly different reasons. Both have endured the trials and tribulations of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Gest was an instrumental and much loved character in his year. He proved to be a funny, entertaining and genuinely likeable man who will provide us with many laughs, tall tales and moments to remember in the coming weeks. For me he’s the early hot favourite to win this series. Paradoxically Gemma Collins lasted about six and a half minutes in the jungle and left under a dark cloud unable to face even the most basic of challenges. This series of BB will prove to be difficult for her and if she shows the same level of steely resolve she managed in the jungle then she will quickly become a target for the ruthless BB public. She must show a bit of determination and backbone to get the public on her side. If she doesn’t then her reality career will be over quicker than you can say vagazzle.
Celebrity Big Brother as we know is largely formulaic and with Gest playing the part of the likeable American we must also have a loud gobby American lady (coining the term lady quite liberally here). This part is likely to be played by US reality star Tiffany Pollard. Nope I’ve never heard of her either but then I’d never heard of Farrah either so we will wait and see if young Tiffers can live up to the job expected of her. The “older” spunky lady this year will be played by Angie Bowie. In her day Angie was a – shall we say – free spirit and will easily be able to keep up with the younger ones when it comes to life experiences. The “actor with a troubled past” part will be played this year by both sexes. Ex Eastender Danniella Westbrook has finally made it onto the show and along with Darren Day we will see how well they have both recovered from the well documented demons. The eye candy parts belong to Kristina Rihanoff and Stephanie Davis for the lads and Jeremy McConnell and Scotty T for the gals. Nope I’d never heard of any of these people either but hey ho. We also have a fair sprinkling of characters who may well provide great entertainment. Whenever I’ve seen Winston McKenzie interviewed he has always seemed like a forthright and no nonsense sort of bloke who won’t allow fellow housemates to get away with too much silly behaviour. Along with more mature housemates like Nancy Dell‘Olio, Jonathan Cheban, Christopher Maloney and John Partridge we have the younger firebrand Megan McKenna.
There are sure to be plenty of tears and tantrums in the coming weeks – the only thing I hope is that we also have our fair share of fun and laughs as well. Arguments will always ensue when you put so many big personalities in a small house together but it would be nice if the makers can allow the nicer side of these reality stars characters to also shine through.
Let the game commence.