JUST 21 days of isolation can send a person mad.
Yet, somehow, I’ve just about clung to sanity, unlike the increasingly warped and clearly disturbed inhabitants of Channel 5’s secure holding facility Big Brother, which in no time at all has become a house of horrors.
The worst is Wayne Rooney’s one-time squeeze Helen Wood, a scowl personified who’d argue with a broom if she thought it would get the hump. She turns menacing, like David Banner into the Incredible Hulk, at the slightest drop of alcohol.
By day, a mild-mannered former prostitute.
By night? A volatile, aggressive, profanity-spewing crate of Tennent’s Super Lager who’s been formally warned of her behaviour by exasperated producers paying the penalty for one twist too many.
Short of being kicked out, a concrete possibility but not yet a reality at time of going to press, Helen’s in for the whole summer, having benefited from C5’s brainwave of awarding one housemate a guaranteed place in the final.
In the meantime, the daily highlights follow a pattern, with half an hour of sweetness and light preceding the continuity announcer warning of “strong language and tempers flaring”.
I could give an example of Helen’s rants, including the little madam’s threat to “smash someone’s face in,” but I’d run out of asterisks.
So here’s Matthew, the victim of her outburst on Wednesday during a game of Truth or Dare: “She thrives on confrontation, hearing her own voice, overpowering people, dominating arguments. And before you know it she’s shouting in my face, screaming at me, forming sentences that aren’t grammatically correct...”
At which point I would have snapped.
There’s no shortage of villains and morons...
Nodding Churchill dog Winston. Crushing ego Ash. Perma-frown Playboy Bunny Kimberly. Psychic tea-leaves pillock Mark.
Indoors sunglasses-wearer Steven who, until she was evicted, developed Norman Bates fixation tendencies on mother-hen Pauline and vowed on learning somebody had nominated them both: “I will have my time with the person who’s done this. I will dispose of them.”
So don’t take a shower while he’s around.
And ‘Hurricane’ Toya, a ‘TV presenter’ who’d breach New Orleans’s sea defences without a second thought and talks like Marsellus Wallace telling Bruce Willis’s boxer Butch to take a dive in Pulp Fiction, only twice as scary.
The rest are sheep apart from Chris, my favourite from day one, whose way with words is the one bright light.
“Winston is pretty vacant. He’s like an abandoned car.”
“Christopher runs on obsolete software. He’s nearly a functioning human being but something’s not right.”
“It’s like West Side Story in here.” Only with too few flick-knives.
Chris aside, the series is dull and repetitive from the endless rows.
Yet C5 persists with the public version of the show when Celebrity Big Brother is the only format worth making.
BB feeds off lies: “There aren’t enough Danielles in the world.” “I [Toya] am not the kind of person who looks for arguments.” “Helen can’t be that unbalanced, otherwise she wouldn’t be in here.”
The housemates have disconnected from reality, something Jale (pronounced Jale) tried to cling onto on day 11: “Did you sleep alright, Chris? Apart from the 9.45 train from Borehamwood, stopping at Completely Inconsiderate, Hasn’t Got a Clue, No Self-Awareness and Literally Needs to Get a Grip.”
Perfect for a train wreck of a series.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...
Miko the orang-utan forcing Born In The Wild’s Mark Evans into an emergency descent from Borneo’s treetops with the immortal words: “Look at him go! Ah, he’s on the rope. He’s eating it...” “ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!”
ITV’s Tour de France trailer, with music by the awesome Caravan Palace.
Defiant Ian Wright returning to Brazil after his family’s knifepoint robbery: “Of course I’ve got to come back. It’s the World Cup.”
EastEnders’ Alfie and Terry in drag on the stall giving a terrifying glimpse of the female half of Abba after 30 years of steroid abuse.
And BBC Wimbledon’s John McEnroe declaring Grigor Dimitrov’s success is because: “Girlfriend Maria Sharapova’s competitive juices are rubbing off on him.” Well, it would motivate me.
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...
C4 failing to conclude How To Fix A Football Match with: “Put your mortgage on any team facing England’s back four.”
Walford Municipal Baths springing up overnight in EastEnders.
Today At Wimbledon’s John Inverdale spoiling every result.
Good Morning Britain discussing top Christmas toys. (Kindly bugger off until November.)
Gold’s Rik Mayall tribute weekend failing to include The New Statesman.
This Morning’s Phil and Holly sniggering over the name of a “Dr Weiner” after interviewing a bloke whose “hair loss medication shrank my penis”.
And Gary Lineker announcing on Tuesday: “That’s it from us on a day England’s World Cup hopes ended,” five days after England’s World Cup hopes ended.