THE COUCH POTATO: Day one: guess who the 'celebrities' are on Big Brother
IT ALMOST certainly passed you by, but the civilian version of Big Brother ended its latest run on Monday.
And on Wednesday night, with great fanfare, Channel 5 launched another civilian version of Big Brother.
At least, that’s what I presumed from the line-up entering the house, jam-packed not so much with Z-listers as no-listers.
Ashley McKenzie. Danica Thrall.
Jasmine Lennard. Rhian Sugden.
Prince Lorenzo Borghese. That’s right. THE Prince Lorenzo Borghese.
So it came as quite a surprise when Brian “I like it” Dowling confirmed that the TV listings magazine boffins had not made a clerical error in the evening’s schedule: “This is Celebrity Big Brother.”
An outlandish claim, surely? But no. The correct title was confirmed within moments, when that oh-sorare CBB beast appeared, an actual famous person – Corrie legend Julie Goodyear, the Goodyear Blimp, who’d come as a cross between WWE superstar Ric Flair and John Lowe in a wig, wearing a T-shirt with Bet Lynch’s catchphrase: “Get it? Got it? Good.”
And by the time Harry Hill’s figure of fun, EastEnder Cheryl Fergison, joined her for the opening night’s predictable, worn-out secret mission (which fooled nobody, of course), all was going well – until the pair were defeated by the well-nigh impossible task of working out how to insert an earpiece.
“Which way are we supposed to shove it? There’s a spike at the end.
There’s a prick.”
There’s 13 of them by my reckoning, Julie, so let’s take a look at who’ll be clogging up our screens for the next three-and-a-half weeks.
Because, as Goodyear said: “I’ve never been in the celebrity world in my life.”
And she’s not about to start now, sharing a house with the likes of Olympic judo first round flop Ashley McKenzie, who narrator Marcus Bentley revealed “got expelled from school three times”.
Which, if nothing else, proves that the school expulsion system is poorly marshalled.
But don’t for a moment think he’s the most unknown of the bunch.
There’s “the star of Channel 4 documentary Sex, Lies and Rinsing Guys, Danica”, the phenomenally average-looking Samantha Brick. Model Jasmine Lennard’s claim to fame is dating Simon Cowell –, a claim that, presumably for legal reasons, she wasn’t allowed to make in her pre-entrance VT. And there’s a slimy Italian prince bloke who played the Gavin Henson role in The Bachelor USA (Lorenzo’s oil slick).
We have “reality sensation” Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino, who boasted: “You can hate on me all you want to, but what could you possibly say to somebody who looks like Rambo with their shirt off?”
Put your shirt on, would be my response, sunshine.
He’s from MTV’s Jersey Shore – which had to be explained to Vernon Kay sex-text bimbo Rhian Sugden as the “American version of Geordie Shore”. Which had her asking him: “Is it as bad?” Which was almost as brilliant as Julian Clary inquiring: “You’re called The Situation? There’s a mystery.
What’s your function?”
There’ll be time, I’m sure, for Coleen Nolan, MC Harvey, from So Solid Crew, and Martin Kemp to shine or, hopefully, spectacularly forget they’re on television.
But the initial signs are that this series could be brilliant for two reasons – “renowned homosexual”
Clary and battleaxe Goodyear.
Clary in particular had a cracking first night, correcting Brick’s pronunciation of “Magaluf”, answering Prince Lorenzo’s question: “Are you married?” with a straight face, so to speak, and addressing Dowling as Davina.
He could well be the saviour of CBB10. I have high hopes for this series.
Get it? Got it? Good.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulike awards go to:
- Eddie Butler’s beautifully written, beautifully edited Olympics 2012: A Golden Games.
- Who Do You Think You Are? with Samantha Womack.
- BBC2’s life-affirming Paralympics drama The Best of Men.
- The return of Jimmy McGovern’s superb Accused, with Sean Bean as the best-looking woman on the small screen since Roger Taylor in the I Want To Break Free music video.
- The Celebrity MasterChef contestants finally cooking somewhere their inedible food can fit in, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – to donate it for research purposes, possibly.
- Jake Humphrey claiming the title TV Maths Wizard of the Week, after Team GB’s final gold of the Olympics: “Looking at the medal table, that’s 16 silvers for Team GB, 19 bronze and 29 gold, which counts up to 29.”
- And Channel 4’s excellent documentary Escape From Colditz, in which a team of engineers tested whether a plot by British officers to fly to freedom by building a glider made from bed sheets and floorboards, catapulted off the roof by a falling bathtub full of cement, which was abandoned only because of the liberation of Europe, would have worked by “following the original plans to the letter”.
Amazingly, it did. In fact the only bits that weren’t followed to the letter were not using floorboards, ditching the runway-made- from-tables idea, putting extra steel in the bathtub of cement for necessary additional weight, using two pulleys instead of one for the required take-off acceleration, remote-controlling the glider, and getting scrap metal from the local DIY superstore to reduce the friction with the