So here we are again, ready to welcome a new crowd of inmates into the world's most over-designed borstal. The ratings may be on the decline, but Big Brother is still enough of an audience draw to warrant Channel 5's continued investment in the format. The difference is, the live launch event is now practically the only episode that anyone watches - a chance to see exactly what you won't be missing for the remainder of the summer. If I'm honest, I'm only watching this because it's probably the only broadcast in the last 96 hours not to feature a grimacing octogenarian or any Union Jack bunting.
There's a bit of a dance party opening, with feathered showgirls and a faintly embarrassed Brian Dowling, who certainly looks as though he hasn't been reduced to living on basic rations for the last few weeks. In "less than three months' time, the winner will be crowned." That's right, three months. Brian talks us through the house using the word 'amazing' for every element. He also promises some 'swanky' housemates, but there may be a rogue consonant in that statement.
Hinting at a big twist later in the show, Brian introduces us to Deana, who's an Indian beauty queen and has been coached in how to come across as a supercilious bitch in her introductory video. Haughty air aside, she seems quite articulate and it's nice to see an attractive woman on this show who doesn't look like she drives a pink plastic Corvette. Although she's won immunity for the first week's eviction, she's going to be nominating three housemates live, later on in tonight's show. Thankfully, she seems utterly unfazed by task, and promises to "Get the boring ones out first." Something tells me those three votes may prove somewhat inadequate.
I'm only watching this because it's probably the only broadcast in the last 96 hours not to feature a grimacing octogenarian or any Union Jack bunting.
Arron is a male model, who also describes himself as a 'player' and 'class clown'. There's lots of background footage of him lifting his vest and flicking his hair. Meeting Brian, he admits that he might have come across a little self-obsessed on his video. He'd rather be good looking than rich, and rather be a martial artist than a model. I'd rather be kicked in the head by him than listen to him speak, but then you don't always get what you wish for.
Caroline is quite frightfully posh, and could have been scraped together from the various pieces that have been cut off the cast of Made In Chelsea. She failed her exams, and is currently enjoying her second 'garp' year. There are a lot of sounds coming out of her mouth, but none of them appear to be words.
Shievonne is from London and gets bored quickly. Well, at least we've got something in common. She spent a year as a Playboy bunny and believes that she's still a bunny on the inside. She reckons that she's ultra positive and has fun every day, so it's odds on that she'll be hiding in the bathroom and cutting herself by Friday lunchtime.
Conor knows he looks good, because people tell him he looks good. He has no pubes anywhere on his body and can wrap his cock around his wrist. I'd be more interested if he could wrap it around his throat. He tells Brian he spends most of his time naked, so he's going to be showering in his pants. I'm getting the hang of these interview snippets now.
Lauren is a 'party student' with a mouth that you could park a minivan in. She's the daughter of a potato farmer and has three world championship karate medals. A reformed tomboy, she's probably the least annoying housemate so far, even if she is a little bit like a spare Olsen twin.
Meeting Brian, he admits that he might have come across a little self-obsessed on his video. He'd rather be good looking than rich, and rather be a martial artist than a model. I'd rather be kicked in the head by him than listen to him speak.
Luke is a married 32 year-old chef. Prior to getting hitched he used to be a bit of a ladies' man, but it turns out he also used to be a bit of a lady. He's keen to change people's opinions about transexuals, so let's keep our fingers crossed that he does a better job of it than Nadia.
Adam has a foreskin and a passport. I'm not sure how that works with the retinal scan. Turns out that this is just his way of telling us that he was born in the UK but grew up in Los Angeles. He doesn't know too much about Big Brother, but he's worried about 'rubbing one out, and taking a shit and a shower'. Since he's spent eight months in jail for breaking and entering, I'd have expected that he'd be used to doing all three things at once.
Sara is a Scottish model, meaning that the house is soon going to be full of short-skirted, high maintenance women. She's a big fan of Margaret Thatcher and Meatloaf, which would make for a particularly awkward threesome. She also has a thing for chavvy men, so at least she should be replete in the house.
Scott is almost as posh as Caroline - the main difference being that his airs and graces are as fake as his badly bleached hair. He's spent years cultivating an upper class persona to rebel against his low-end roots; describing his own father as a 'ruffian'. He's never told his family that he's gay, but unless they're profoundly deaf and blind, I can't imagine there'll be too many surprised faces in their front room tonight.
Ashleigh is totes Essex, and describes herself as 'bubbly, nutter, psycho'. I could think of a few other choice words. She keeps swearing, which has got Brian rather nervous. Apparently, they can say 'fuck' as much as they like on the VT, but not on a live broadcast. When she's not cussing like Joe Pesci with a migraine, she's screaming constantly. It's like listening to one of those recordings of an emergency services call about a home invasion, but more disturbing.
Here's the other Luke, another self-confessed 'player' who rattles through all of his best body parts. It's telling that his brain doesn't make the list. True to form, Big Brother seems to have cast two very specific types this year. And they're not 'homely' or 'intellectual'. So far, the only guy in the house who isn't a complete cock, may not even have one.
Benedict is a stripper and porn star, which led to him being sacked as a secondary school teacher. He's actually quite normal, and launches into a staunch defence of people's right to watch porn.
Lydia is a dancer, photographer and, you guessed it, model. She's engaged to Andy Scott-Lee, and is keen to step out of his considerable shadow. Somewhere in Hollywood, Katie Holmes is nodding empathetically. She's decided that she's not going to tell her housemates who her fiance is, which is probably wise, unless Big Brother's lifted the ban on Google in there.
Benedict is a stripper and porn star, which led to him being sacked as a secondary school teacher. He's actually quite normal, and launches into a staunch defence of people's right to watch porn. He promises to 'come down hard' on his housemates. Cue Penfold-levels of eyebrow raising, and Brian hoping that the persistent rain will disguise his growing damp spot.
Remember Teddy Ruxpin? Well, after the cartoon ended, he retrained as a doorman and bailiff, and renamed himself Chris. He's always been very lucky with the ladies, which he puts down to 'something that he sprays on himself.' I guess the women of Luton aren't big on hygiene.
Victoria is an ex-glamour model, who likes attention and gets naughty when she's had a drink. She sounds like Cheryl Baker and looks every day of her forty one years. She enters the house and shouts "This isn't happening, is it?" The glazed expression on my face suggests that it really is.
And finally, we get to that dramatic twist. I've long since given up on my hope that the producers would take a tip from the success of the Hunger Games, and hand out weapons instead of glasses of Cava. Instead, we get to see Deana nominate the three housemates for eviction. She picks Conor because he didn't make enough effort to speak to her, Victoria because she has evil eyes, and Lydia. She doesn't get the chance to give a reason for picking Lydia, because Lydia is playing the aggressive disbelief card. The rest of the group are supportive but insincere, offering up "No-one judges you because no-one knows each other" and "But we love you anyway." Brilliant.
Other articles about previous desperados in the Big Brother house…
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