Channel 4 refer to this new series as ‘the long-awaited return of Celebrity Big Brother’, which is a bit like hearing someone blowing their own imaginary trumpet. Like everyone else who watched the launch show, I did so because there was nothing else on the TV in the post Christmas airwave-breakdown, apart from rubbish like Stuart Little, the rubbish QI Christmas special (for the sixth time) and repeats of Top Gear.
But there it was, as though the rampant xenophobia of the Jade-mistake had never happened. The actual launch show was preceded by a documentary – if you could call it that, rather than a series of repetitive clips you’ve seen before hundreds of times – called Why I Love Celebrity Big Brother. This waste-of-an-hour featured huge names like the bloke who edits the entertainment pages of Star magazine, Mark Frith (who is everywhere at the moment, presumably not having anyone who loves him another to invite him over for Christmas) and Dom Joly. The Dom Joly who has nothing to do with Big Brother and hasn’t really done anything in 15 years. Apart from the QI Christmas special.
And so it was that on the second day of the first month, it was revealed unto the people throughout the launch show that everyone they had been told would probably be on the programme was, indeed, on the programme. And they did weep.
The only real surprise among the crowd was Ulrika who we’d all probably considered above this. Only slightly – but still slightly above it. Latoya Jackson’s presence was less of a shock as her brother had probably already briefed her on how the only problems she might encounter might be the mind-numbingly long periods of time she’d have to spend talking to people she’d never heard of and couldn’t understand on top of the potential for occasional racist outbursts from fellow contestants.
We all knew Verne Troy was going to appear. Even if we hadn’t been aware, nothing is really too much of a surprise any more with this knackered vehicle. It’s nice seeing him buzzing about on his scooter and trying to avoid all the helpful hands the contestants fling in his direction out of a mixture of PR-awareness and a genuine will to assist, but the tone was sullied the moment after he’d entered the house when the camera cut back, as it does so bafflingly frequently, for a link and Davina pronounced him to be ‘so cute’. And thus began the patronising tone he’s set to find himself smeared in right up to his exit interview at the hands of the bird-faced crone.
So, who else? Coolio is being Coolio – that is a faded pop star who still believes he’s relevant, amiably but somewhat tragically. Then there’s some large scouse lady off some show I’ve never seen who continually lectures Latoya Jackson on male repression, seemingly unaware of the Jackson’s history of abuse – despite the fact she keeps telling her about it. We have a confused Terry Christian – too much of a good bloke to be doing this in my eyes. We have Lucy Pinder, who is a topless model with a right wing brain and a corrosively dull voice. (And massive tits, eh lads?)
The list goes on, with Mutya, ex of Sugababes in the mix and clearly having been badly advised into a moronic career choice. Then there’s Tommy Sheridan, the socialist Scot, either feeding his ego or… actually, probably just feeding his ego.
Ben from A1 is the no-mark this year, as inoffensive as kitchen roll and with about as much to say for himself. And finally there’s a girl from Liberty X, who’s just a little bit dizzy, just a little bit orange and just a little bit boring.
So whether you couldn’t care less about the whole palaver or, conversely, if you’re tied up by being equally bemused and entertained by the fact that Coolio (you remember – from the 90s) is flirting with Ulrika (that Y shaped weathergirl, also from the 90s), the fact is it’s on for another 21 days, so steel yourselves or dust off your blinkers.
Tags: 2009, Channel 4, Coolio, Culture, Dom Joly, E4, Entertainment, Latoya Jackson, Lucy Pinder, Mark Frith, Media, Mutya, Reality TV, Television, Terry Christian, Tommy Sheridan, TV, Ulrika, Uncategorized, Verne Troy