IF THE TV summer of 2014 is remembered for anything, it’ll surely be the flash-in-the-pan fad for imitating royalty.
ITV2 had I Wanna Marry Harry. E4, Almost Royal.
And on Monday night, 14th to enter the house, it was Benefits Street’s White Dee pretending to be the “Duchess of Solihull” for a Celebrity Big Brother secret task.
At least I think it was her.
She’d undergone such a makeover that it looked like Terry Scott and Jimmy Krankie had ruffled a duvet together, 43 years ago, in a B&B somewhere off the M42.
Yes, it’s the customary yawn-some CBB launch night twist, only this time Channel 5 unwittingly let its guard down, exposing the show’s fragile chin, with this fake royal tomfoolery.
You see, it is more plausible for the “21st in line to the throne” to appear on this show than the person playing her – Dee Kelly, a woman well-known only for claiming state handouts.
She’s not alone in being famous for being famous.
Two other housemates fail to register on Wikipedia’s radar – Gogglebox’s George Gilbey (a Ronnie O’Sullivan Spitting Image puppet voiced by Joe Pasquale) and Ricci Guarnaccio who’s no longer in Geordie Shore.
A-listers the lot of them. At least you’d think, judging by the latter’s optimism: “I don’t know if I’d have a relationship in the house. Depends who’s in there. Eva Mendes, Mila Kunis... ”
Yeah, Ricci. Try one-quarter of B*Witched, a Made In Chelsea leech, an ex-Towie limpet, someone called Angelique “Frenchy” Morgan in the obligatory inappropriate older woman role (see also Denise Welch) and Claire King who left Emmerdale 15 years ago.
Other CBB box-tickers are the current affairs casher-in (the admittedly courageous Kellie Maloney), the pumped-up dork with a celebrity girlfriend and a chronic case of over-exuberance (“international model” David McIntosh, from the Alex Reid mould) and the jaded sportsman (Audley Harrison).
Personally I’m looking forward to someone having a go at him after a few too many, just so I can do the “drunk and diss Audley” line. And no, I’m not apologising.
But the one who’s guaranteed to salvage Celeb Big Bro year on year is the American movie star/human wreckage, in this case Gary Busey.
From his bizarre entrance when he babbled on to Emma Willis about three questions he was expecting, that she’d already asked, he’s been pure box office, an irresistible force and, not to put it too bluntly, completely out of his tree.
He’s “died twice”, “been to the other side” (Point Break on ITV4?) and only the other day felt Patrick Swayze’s spirit pass through him on a bench.
Busey told Big Brother: “It’s a lovely blessing to be here with these housemates. This was all set up by the angels. I know that for a fact.”
Which makes you wonder how bad Hell must be.
Within a day he terrified most, offended everyone and had a run-in, antlers first, with fellow alpha-male James Jordan over a gay sex joke that was lost in translation.
Busey is a walking grenade and “the bad boy of ballroom” has no qualms removing the pin.
Keep the pair of them in, I implore you.
If only for Busey’s fondest for acronyms like: “‘Death’ stands for Don’t Expect A Tragedy Here.”
I’ll take your word for it, Gary. CBB 14 looks like being anything but.
BBC3’s astonishing Our World War finale.
Soccer Saturday deity Jeff Stelling.
Mark Evans’ unexpected comparison on Dogs: Their Secret Lives: “After the break we meet Cassie, a Labrador who weighs more than Kylie Minogue.”
Helen Flanagan playing a vain, self-absorbed, flustered, spoiled, “moody little madam” on Holby City. (Must have been a real stretch for her.)
BBC2 quiz Two Tribes’ host Richard Osman, plus a contestant answering: “Who succeeded Bradley Wiggins as winner of the Tour de France?” with: “Chris Packham.”
And Tumble’s sliding doors failure and Amelle Berrabah insisting the slinky move “is definitely the most un-dignifying thing I’ve ever done”. Though Minehead Butlins, with the rest of the Sugababes, is a close second.
The public voting Helen Wood, the vilest housemate in all 15 series, the winner of Big Brother.
ITV feeling the need to air a Judge Rinder trailer during... Judge Rinder.
Lenny Henry ad-libbing an inappropriate, borderline contempt-of-court Cliff Richard joke live on The One Show.
EastEnders stealing its Charlie Cotton mild-mannered janitor, secret identity plot from Hong Kong Phooey.
And the distressing news on Horizon: Should I Eat Meat? that a daily bacon sandwich takes one hour a day off your life. Which, by my calculations, means I died a week last Thursday.