Before we head into Celebrity Big Brother, let’s look at the regular version. I say regular, that implies it is for regular people. People off the street, plucked from obscurity in the elusive chase for fame. Those days have long since passed. Now it is a junkyard for people on the fringes, of those on the fringes, of fleeting fame. Failed “reality” TV stars that try to make it on an original reality TV pioneer.
The problem is, Big Brother is now a modern reality TV show. It feels part scripted with “contestants” too aware of the medium. Craig from Season 1 had no idea what being in the house meant. The players of 2016 haven’t got a game plan to win, they have a career path that are attempting to manipulate with TV time.
Emma Willis is the face of this charade but her stewardship is equal to Davina’s from the original and light years ahead of Brian Dowling’s failed effort. Like Davina McCall, she appears to love the show and is absorbed in the characters. She adds warmth and familiarity. But as good as she is, if the show failed in between her live shows, nobody would enjoy her.
This year the feel of the entrants made it worth sticking around. Despite being an ensemble of people already used to media exposure, the balance of fame-seeking and genuine personalities shone through.
Welsh girl Lateysha Grace sums this up best. She came across as a slapper on MTV’s The Valleys. Acting the promiscuous tart she took offence to being labelled as in the house. And rightly so. Judging her on her views and actions in BBUK, she was down-to-earth and lovely.
So why knowingly play a role using her real name, for just five minutes of fame?
It undermines her true self.
Her only cracks came when she was tactically booted. As a single parent, she felt her reason for winning had greater validity. Lateysha still needs to learn one important lesson: Life owes you nothing.
Her axe wielder was eventual winner Jason. His presence, made the belief the whole thing could be rigged gain credibility. In an early “twist” there were two houses. The Others occupied a secret home alongside the main one. Jason spent days going on about an ex he couldn’t possibly do the Big Brother experience with. Guess what, she was part of The Others and soon joined the main cast.
A similar plot occurred with geezer Chelsea and kiss-and-tell Jayne.
This wasn’t real people showing the diversity of the British public. It was pure, pre-ordained, entertainment.
But it survived the cynicism – just.
Other standouts were Jackson. He had more voices than tattoos; came from the street (but was actually a model); fell in love with a posh bird he made out was a fairy tale dream. Being BBUK, she complied and the fairy tale came true.
That’s when Georgina wasn’t dictating to Jackson. But her harshness was a defensive mechanism. In a house of frauds, she displayed true emotions. I hope for her sake, Jackson proves himself to be genuine.
Proving BBUK can always provide a disillusioned, despicable human, we met Laura Carter. A woman who described herself as “an established actress” before entering the house. If that’s true, I’m Barry Norman.
She’ll be remembered for sleeping with Marco Pierre White’s immature, overactive son. Pretending she is vulnerable but savvy. Pretending she had a long lost love. Pretending she wasn’t selfish or self-centred when she embodies both those evils.
Andy was the “intelligent” addition. Proving that repeatedly saying something, doesn’t make it true. Pretty fun watching him not know how many make a baker’s dozen. In the kingdom of the blind…
He got engaged on the show, when during a task, his boyfriend entered the house for an overnight stay. While it provided a touching moment, it shows how far the show has fallen from the original social experiment. A founding rule was: No contact with the outside world.
Now they get news updates and Tweets read to them and hands in marriage.
Ryan had a love affair with fan-favourite and runner-up, Hughie. The former was a scouser playing for the cameras. The latter an intriguing Irishman, that came in, broke taboos and stereotypes, and allowed a heart of gold to shine through.
He was easy to disagree with, at times. But “real” people show all sides and all shades. It’s proof the makers of Big Brother can go back to basics and bring in the general public. Real is more explosive, more engaging.
Big Brother shouldn’t be a retraining school for failed reality stars. It should be relevant. Right now IMDb don’t even add new series to their page.
Go back to basics, BBUK or face extinction.