Celebrity Big Brother is back on! Yeah, I know. I thought it had finished years ago as well but apparently not. This is the 20th series and obviously they are struggling with the celebrities. The Big Brother franchise (as everyone seems to refer to everything these days. There’s the Star Wars franchise, the Bond franchise, the French Fries franchise (McDonalds in other words)) is now on Channel 5. American giants Viacom won the franchise to run Channel 5 a few years ago and poached the Big Brother franchise from Channel 4, who had actually become a bit disillusioned with the franchise and had decided not to renew the franchise with the franchise owner Endemol so actually it was less poached, more sloppy seconds. (Still with me? Good.)
Big Brother had a bit of a rollercoaster ride on Channel 4. It began in 2000 as a “social experiment”. In reality (as it was a reality TV show) viewers were just waiting to see if people had sex in the house (which eventually they did in series 5). The stars of series 1 were a scouse builder, an Irish nun and a bloke who got into trouble for writing stuff down. It started with most people being cynical but ended as must watch TV. In series 2 we discovered what the main reason for the show was; to find future TV presenters. Brian Dowling came out of series 2 (well I think he was out anyway, but he came to our attention) and Alison Hammond in series 3. Series 3 also gave us the ultimate BB housemate in the form of Jade Goody. Simple enough that you always felt intellectually superior to her, but engaging enough that you really cared for her. (But not enough to make her the winner, that went to Katie thingy. You know, she went on to do that thing. No? Google her.) Series 4 was forgettable; series 5 introduced us to psycho Geordie Michelle (who seduced “Chicken Stu” under the dining table); Kinga did unmentionable things with a wine bottle in series 6 and series 7 bought us Tourette’s Pete and drama queen Nikki Graham. Series 8 was won by Brian (who was effectively a male Jade) and then…well who knows. The nation fell out of love with the series and viewing figures dropped, Channel 4 fell out of love with and dropped it. By the time Channel 5 bought it, it was too late. It no longer makes tabloid headlines (other than in the Daily Star which is owned by Channel 5’s former owner) and this year it was won, by….errrr…a human?
Celebrity Big Brother on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. Who can forget the Vanessa Feltz meltdown in series 1; Who can forget the Les Dennis meltdown in series 2; Who can forget the John McCirick meltdown in series 3; Who can forget the George Galloway meltdown in series 4… you get the idea. Even if the main series of BB has lost its shine on Channel 5, CBB still has the potential for celebs to embarrass themselves. So this week we saw enter the Big Brother house; some Americans I have never heard of; some Brits I have half heard of, but don’t much care for, Barry from EastEnders and Derek Acorah. I guarantee you, these are the ones to watch. The headline in (surprise, surprise) in the Daily Star this morning was “Celebrity Big Brother house ‘haunted’ as Derek Acorah ‘attracts ghosts of dead housemates“. But it’s Barry (real name Shaun, but nobody calls him that) who has the Goody factor. Simple enough that you all always felt intellectually superior to him, but engaging enough that you really cared for him. Come on Barry! You have a franchise to save!