I must admit I’m not a big fan of Big Brother (celebrity or otherwise), and haven’t watched the programme for a number of years. But, for a reason I cannot readily explain, I tuned in at the start of this series – and I’m hooked!
I’m sure that every year, the show’s producers trawl the murky depths of the River Celebrity to dredge up as many lesser or fading lights, foreign unknowns, and girls implanted with the obligatory silicone who will hopefully perform for the nation’s pleasure (and career revival). It’s certainly not for the “experience”, even if some play the social experiment card. These people don’t want to “find themselves”; what they want to find is an envelope on the mat carrying a fat pay cheque, and hopefully some subsequent offers of relatively gainful employment.
The hope is that within this cross-section are strong, opinionated, abrasive personalities that can cause some kind of conflict, so I suppose it’s pat on the back time for the class of 2015.
So far, in amongst the arguments, insults, examples of most “-isms” you can think of, and occasionally quite disturbing behaviour, one housemate has quit, there have been two expulsions and two evictions. In channel terms, that sum equals TV gold.
For those who haven’t been watching, the show has essentially revolved around the acid-tongued Katie Hopkins and the American celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. A couple of weeks ago, I would have struggled to say one nice thing about Ms Hopkins, who seemed to have taken “outspoken” to a whole new level. If she wanted to be gain public notoriety to the point of being reviled, she did a pretty good job; if she wanted to attract media attention and presumably keep her bank manager happy, then mission surely accomplished.
But… (and it’s one of those big buts), I’ve found myself actually liking her.
I know; I can’t quite believe it either.
Yes, she’s been every bit as forthright as you’d expect, and ruffled plenty of feathers in the process, but she’s shown a vulnerable side that I tried not to find endearing, but failed.
The hour-long daily update is, of course, cleverly edited and does not really capture the boredom that must exist in an environment devoid of the distractions we take for granted, but it’s a process can dismantle even the strongest personality, and much as it can be relatively entertaining at face value, it also makes for some dark, and uncomfortable viewing at times.
Which brings me to Perez Hilton.
I can’t say I’d heard of him, but irrespective of how he may/may not act in “the real world”, his antics in the house have suggested someone with very real issues and a mental state that I will politely describe as “fragile”. He might be playing a game, but every now and then (more often than not in the diary room), the mask falls and the size of the pretence becomes more obvious. He is antagonistic, divisive, and rude… hardly the greatest qualities. Amazingly, he has found an ally in presenter Nadia Sawahla, whose own character has been all but obscured by Hilton’s constant need for attention, and (as a couple of other housemates have clearly realised) I wonder quite what would happen if she was to be evicted before him?
The British public – or at least those who vote on shows like this – are not stupid. They know what makes “good” television and it would be no surprise if the popular vote led to Hilton being left exposed. Those who vote for Ms Sawahla are essentially the viewing equivalent of baying wolves, but I accept that sitting and watching the consequences really doesn’t make me any better…
Elsewhere in the house, Michelle Visage (didn’t know her either), seems a likeable and wise lady who may well get to the final; and Katie Price, another who comes under the “love to hate” banner, comes across as a genuine and generous young woman. Of the male celebrities, Calum Best (if you don’t know him, you’ll have heard of his Dad) now appears to have a level-headed maturity, and it’s to Keith Chegwin’s credit that he has steered clear of most of the confrontation. The rest are arguably just making up the numbers, but that presumably won’t stop the postman from delivering their cheque…
There’s probably another couple of weeks to go before the “winner” (and I use the term advisedly) is crowned. I’ve no idea what will happen over the days that follow, but two things I can say for certain: it’ll be explosive… and I’ll be watching!