There were bad production decisions from the start. It was on earlier than usual, starting in May rather than June, and they didn’t really make much effort promoting it considering it was on at a different time. There was more promotion about the upcoming summer series of Celebrity Big Brother!
Then there was the decision to leak out the line-up before launch night. They do that in Celebrity Big Brother, but the reason that gets people interested is because they are celebrities, however low down the fame list they may be. When it’s the civilian version nobody going in will have any significant pre-existing fanbase. In fact, the main reason people watch launch night is to see who is going in. Launch night itself was on a Tuesday. Monday might be the most unpopular day of the week, but Tuesday is the least significant day. Apologies to Norse god Tiw, Roman god Mars and “full of grace” people such as myself who were born on a Tuesday, but it’s true. Indeed, this year ended up with the lowest rated launch night ever.
The theme this year was “Timebomb”, with a logo that looked like it was made of scrap metal from Tik Tok from Return to Oz and the Terminator. It wasn’t even a new theme, they had a time travel task in BB8, and they did the “returning housemates” thing during BB10‘s birthday week. But, like all these Big Brother themes, after the first week it is just becomes a way of repackaging the same old twists anyway. “Fake eviction and revealing the diary room nominations- because it’s Secrets and Lies this year” ” – “Fake eviction and revealing the diary room nominations – because it’s a Twisted Fairytale”, “,”Fake eviction and revealing the diary room nominations – because it’s a Timebomb!”
The launch night twist wasn’t too bad actually, with 5 housemates all given a Timebomb which contained a gift or a curse. Jack had 3 immunity passes, Nick had to nominate face to face all series, Jade had luxury shopping for a week, Adjoa had nothing, and the aptly named Simon Gross had instant eviction. However, all of this ended up as pointless. Jade’s “luxury shopping” was cashed in at the first opportunity and mainly amounted to fast food and supermarket champagne. The show contrived ways for Jack to use up his immunity passes as quick as possible. Nick’s face to face nomination curse was redundant, because most of the time everyone else nominated face to face too or they showed the nominations on screen afterwards. And they bought Simon back, but let’s put that off till later.
Adjoa got nothing on launch night, and got nothing throughout her short stay, becoming the first proper evictee. She was like a squawking, demented parrot, with “pussy” being the word she repeated a lot, (and as I’m sure you’re all aware, she wasn’t talking about cats). As one of the more interesting housemates, she shouldn’t have been evicted so early, but I don’t think she was ever going to be “the new Makosi”, as much as viewers wanted her to be.
They had a lot of “normal people” in there with ordinary jobs, and I get the impression that the producers wanted a “happy house” with “nice people” at first in response to viewer complaints for previous series. However, what viewers say they want in theory and what they do in practice aren’t always the same thing. The show was boring, filled with blubbering about having to nominate and half-hearted showmances. Ratings plummeted.
While the producers had to do something, the “4 in 4 out” twist was desperate and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Things looked like they were starting to get interesting too, and they even got some drama they didn’t want with Aaron flashing another contestant, Joel, and having to be removed from the house. I didn’t like Aaron, I found him annoying, shallow and a bit thick, but I never would have predicted he’d end up exiting the show that way.
4 in, 4 out might not have been so vexing if all the housemates had been up in a vote to save, but it was housemates whose only crime was to not get nominated. This was clearly only thought up at the last minute because of how it unfolded who would be up for the public vote. First they did that stupid “only 2 nominations and you’re up” thing they do whenever they feel like it, then they announced they were swapping it round so that those who only got 1 or 0 nominations would be up. Had they just gone with normal nominations and those with the most nominations going up, it would have been a Jade vs. Eileen head to head. I think that would have been more interesting to be honest, as they had an intense rivalry at the time. I guess the twist kept them both in longer, but as they were both the next two proper evictees it wasn’t worth it really. If the show wanted to protect ‘big characters’ then they shouldn’t keep using “vote to evict” in the civilian series, which frankly is an outdated system.
Anyway, the housemates that went because of this twist included twins Amy & Sally. The only twins in Big Brother to not make the final! On the good/evil spectrum of Big Brother blonde twin sisters, with good being Sam &Amanda from BB8 and evil being Karissa & Kristina from CBB9, Amy & Sally were in the bland middle of the road. I quite liked them though, despite the fact that barely anyone else did. As host Emma Willis put it, they did nothing wrong, they were just pretty girls who stood up for themselves. I found them funny calling themselves “the egg police” when they didn’t want to use their eggs to make a big cake, and some of the stuff they said like “We’re ladies, not tramps!”.
The only well-handled part of “4 in, 4 out” was Harriet and Kieran’s eviction, via getting into a booth which spun them round, and out came their replacements in Harry Amelia and Marc respectively.
Harriet, a gobby caff worker, was one of the most popular housemates at first, then she became very unpopular. I’m not sure how this happened, mainly because I never particularly cared for her from the start. She seemed to lose her temper and/or burst into tears over… well, nothing really. Kieran had a sort of “philosophical bartender” role, appearing in other people’s storylines to give advice. He seemed a decent enough guy, but never likely to be a big character.
The big loss from 4 in, 4 out was Sarah. She’d been the queen bee in the house, and was a very promising housemate. It’s a shame she was sacrificed for some ridiculous last minute twist. I quite liked how she left though. Downing her glass of champagne as her surprise eviction was announced and saying “They’re going to boo me, the bastards!” as she heard the crowd through the doors.
In theory the original cast on launch night should be the A list, so replacing them with newbies who they didn’t consider worth putting in on day 1 didn’t bode well. They turned out to be generic newbies. A wind-up merchant (Marc), a glamour model (Harry) and someone who’d auditioned for reality TV singing contests (Sam). There was even a time when you could just swap names from last year’s newbies.
Zoe Sam singing a song to soundtrack Biannca’s Harry’s lapdance.
Then they bought Simon back, which nobody was asking for, but they could do as he wasn’t evicted via a public vote. He had a second chance to prove there was more to him than just screeching “SHOWBIZ!!!”, but it turned out he was completely hollow. A selfish, bitter husk who would keep getting housemates together saying that he wanted to quit, when he clearly no intention of doing so. He bawled loudly, but as Chloe noted one time “And not one tear was shed”. He was a waste of space with nothing whatsoever to offer but an annoying catchphrase. If anything he became more one dimensional as the weeks went on and disappeared into the background until his eviction. A whole task designed around him “Showbiz or Nobiz”, ended up not even making the highlights show, which shows how irrelevant he’d become at that point.
Former horror movie actress Eileen was quite fun, and it really sucks that her entire Big Brother stay was filled with the others nominating her because of her age. At 51 she was the oldest person in the house, and she was pleased when Simon returned thinking she may have someone who wouldn’t dismiss her because of that. But Simon nominated her because of her age, when he was only a couple of years younger than her, then had the audacity to whinge about other housemates judging him because of his age. Eileen deserved a better series, but she had her moments, like a task where she had to act out different emotions which in her own words drove her “doolally”. She was a voice of reason and saw through a lot of the bullshit and crocodile tears. She had one of the most positive crowd receptions, leaving to ‘Come On Eileen’ by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, and her eviction interview was the best of the series.
Marc was like a puppet made up of leather from a psychiatrist’s couch, joke chattery teeth, and several overinflated balloons. Like all wind-up merchant Big Brother housemates he was called “a legend”, “TV gold”, “saviour of all reality TV”, “the show would be axed without him” and similar hyperbolic shite, and also like all wind-up merchant housemates, he lost his novelty after a couple of weeks. The problem with them is, intentionally annoying is still annoying. He was obnoxious and repetitive, deliberately splashing people from the pool and provoking people by shouting insults at them, being rude to them and saying “It’s just banter”. He must have said “brown nosing” about a thousand times. Per episode. When he wasn’t doing that, he did stuff like walk around naked with a tinfoil mask and penis enlarger. As Nick put it “#airtime”. But it was enough to get Marc voted for a fake eviction in a secret room (seriously Big Brother producers, can’t you go one series without doing that?).
The Time Bunker began weeks of utter chaos. Marc was joined by ”Legendary” Time Warp housemates from the past. BB7‘s Nikki Grahame, BB8 winner Brian Belo and last year’s winner Helen Wood. Gina Rio from BB14 was rumoured to have been asked, but dropped out.
They watched from the bunker, and did the usual spying, bitching and trolling the main housemates that happens with secret room twists. There was a clear divide from the start though. Helen and Marc teamed up as supervillians wanting to strategically destroy the housemates, while Brian and Nikki giggled childishly to each other.
After a long couple of days discussing who they were going to nominate, they went back in nominating Harry, leading to some really unpleasant scenes of Harry being left alone when the legend housemates came in, all the current housemates leaving her behind with only Brian going to talk to her. This was in an hour long live show and their live entrance which came right at the last ten minutes, the show itself padded out with interviews from ex-housemates. Not only that, there was no live feed afterwards. I’m not one of those people who constantly moans about there being no live feed, but if ever there was ever a time to use it, it was for a twist like this.
The show improved a bit when the Time Warp housemates were in the mix. Helen dominated the whole house again for the second year in a row. Often, she made good points, like that this is simply a gameshow, and not life and death. (“It’s not the Battle of fucking Hastings, it’s Big Brother“). But any fair points she made ended up being lost because of the aggressive way she delivered them. She was so full of fury and on the attack all the time, and came across as extremely intimidating. Despite my irrational like for her (she was my favourite last year), she shocked me with how vindictive and spiteful she was this time.
Brian Belo has to be one the biggest Big Brother superfans ever, but his appearance in this series saw him becoming disillusioned. I think he went in wanting to enjoy himself again, but he ended up getting very angry and upset several times. He disliked the domineering way Helen and Marc acted, seeing Helen as “the horrible cheerleader” and Marc as “the meathead jock”.
Nikki Grahame was, well, Nikki Grahame. She was in her own bubble. See any of her previous appearances on Big Brother. This was her sixth! In BB7, she was evicted and voted back in for the final week. She made guest appearances in CBB6 and BB10, was a contestant in Ultimate Big Brother, finishing runner up, and now this. In total, she’s spent over 100 days in the Big Brother house. She might as well move in permanently and start paying rent at this point. She is an entertaining housemate, but there is a feeling of “White-Dwarf Starlet” about her these days.
They repackaged the Ignore The Obvious/Remote Control/For Whom The Bell Tolls Task again, this time as Time Warp Machine Time Freeze, where housemates had to stay frozen in time and events from their past would come in. Joel’s mum went in. Pete Bennet from BB7 reuniting with his ex Nikki was quite fun. Big Brother’s Bit On The Side host Rylan came in with two psychotherapists. It was sweet of them to say nice things about Chloe and to reassure a shaking Nick that he was liked I guess, but it was yet another way of telling the housemates information about the outside.
Then a load of ex-housemates entered and had a party for a few minutes. Victor from BB5 gave advice to Danny, Marc and Jack. This led to an argument about Victor involving Helen and Danny, which caused Danny to throw pizza boxes in anger.
After a very drawn-out process of who the Time Warp housemates would nominate, the eventual evictee was Jade. She wasn’t a terrible housemate, but like Marc she was a typical overrated internet fave, in her case she fitted that “spoilt try-hard bitchy princess” type . Supremely vain, pretentious and conceited, doing a stupid baby voice as her main gimmick. That and a spinning roulette wheel of potential showmances which never actually went anywhere, Nick, Cristian, Danny and finally Brian Belo. She returned for a guest appearance in the final week, and seemed to be trying to reignite the Nick showmance, though whether she was or not, Nick responded “I’ve never had a friend like you, you’re like my sister”, so it probably won’t happen.
The most interesting week overall was week 7. While it was desperate keeping the Legend Housemates in for an extra week, and including Marc in there so he’d have yet another week of immunity, it turned out to be a good week. It began with “tag nominations”, where the nominated housemate would choose another to face the public vote, who would choose another, and so on. This started with Jade, after her eviction interview. Admittedly, it could have been executed better (nearly the whole house was up), but it was one of the better nomination twists this year. Then there was Nick’s 20th birthday. Nikki made up a song for him and Harry composed a rap. Then they both painted a picture of him, soundtracked by ‘Left Bank Two’, the The Gallery music from Take Hart. For me, Harry did the better song, Nikki did the better painting.
The best episode of the series was day 42. Big Brother had confiscated the housemates pillows and duvets, and when they were returned via the storeroom the housemates jumped into the pile and had a pillow fight which morphed into a food fight, with chickpeas, rice and cooking oil thrown around, along with toilet roll and washing powder, while outside the door Nick and Harry were kissing. They later had a bath together, only for Jack to get in with them! Nikki started freaking out during the food fight, and had to go to the Diary Room to calm down. Some of the others jumped into the pool, ignoring Big Brother saying that it was out of bounds. Then they all sang ‘Rule Britannia’ at the end.
It was great to have a fun episode for once, but this unified time in the house didn’t last. A day later, after a massive argument which saw Helen say some horrible things to Brian, with Marc egging her on, it was the final straw for Brian, and he jumped over the wall. Both Helen and Marc got formal warnings.
There was the Year In A Day task, which was one of the best. The housemates were woken up to ‘Happy New Year’, Big Ben’s chimes and champagne. This was followed by a Valentine’s Day speed dating task with heart-shaped chocolate boxes and roses. Then Nick dressed up as the Easter Bunny, which was sort of adorable. For Halloween, some of the housemates were dressed in fancy dress costumes. Nikki was a mummy, Helen was a skeleton and Jack was Dracula. The task saw them blindfolded and sticking their heads in a box with stuff hanging from strings and having to guess what it was. Nikki got chocolate, Jack got strawberries, and Helen got squid.
If any task could have taken up a whole highlights show it probably should have been this, but I guess they wanted to skip to the grand finale, Christmas. The garden was very nicely set up, full of snow, tinsel, Xmas jumpers, reindeer and snowmen. There were presents everywhere, and jumping out of a big red present was Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace from BB7, wearing a sexy Santa outfit.
Aisleyne had been due to go in this series earlier, because of her rivalry with Helen outside of the house, but it was postponed at the last minute. It was probably a good thing, as this task was a good way for her to enter. It also mirrored her initial entrance in the house in BB7, where she came in as a present for the house.
In this Christmas task, presents were dropped down a chimney with luxury shopping or basic rations, and Aisleyne had to decide who would get what. She just dropped Helen’s present beneath her and said “Basic rations for a basic bitch”.
Helen was clearly put out that a new queen bee had arrived. Nikki with her fellow BB7 housemate in got a lot more bold, during an argument where Helen called her a Z-lister she replied “If I’m on the Z-list that makes you unclassified!”. Helen, again, may have a had a fair point when she said that both Nikki and Aisleyne were playing up to the cameras, but once again it ended up being lost in her delivery. When conversation turned to Brian, things got really tense, Aisleyne dragged Nikki into the Diary Room, and Helen started shouting, crying, picking up a glass and throwing it. It must have been bad for the other housemates having to live with that sort of tension. Both Nikki and Helen left at the end of the week, and it is notable that the atmosphere in the house got a lot less toxic almost immediately after Helen had gone.
To top off a good week, SHOWBIZ! ended getting a long overdue eviction.
Aisleyne stayed on for a bit longer, and was a bit of a car crash it has to be said. She got into a showmance with Danny, claiming she fancied him from watching the show on TV, ended up crying in the Diary Room and attempting to break out of the house via the fire exit when he didn’t fancy her as much, and got drunk and snogged Chloe, Harry and Sam.
Marc and Aisleyne argued about their respective appearances on Judge Rinder. I found this a bit tiresome really. Marc and Aisleyne, two reality TV “veterans” hurling Twitter troll-esque insults at each other in person. That said, one of the funniest lines of the series was Aisleyne saying to Marc ; “I’ve got a Wikipedia page and you haven’t”. I quite enjoyed Aisleyne as a housemate again this time, but it did tarnish her BB7 appearance a bit. Like many a Big Brother contestant before her (Nikki for example), she went back in and became a parody of herself. Aisleyne this time was kind of like those bad movie sequels to an amazing film that happen years after the first.
This week was also a hotel task, where yet more ex-housemates came in, some from the Celebrity series, and the current housemates had to serve them. These included Charley Uchea (seems much nicer than when she was in BB8), Dexter Koh (didn’t really do anything), Jasmine Leonard (extended her stay as there was a showmance with Cristian, and that was his only real storyline this whole series! Then she went straight into Danny’s bed after Cristian went to another bedroom). James Jordan (Chloe mentioned his cringey “the dancing world’s answer to Brad Pitt” quote). I think my favourite hotel guest was actually horse racing betting pundit John McCririck! I agreed with a lot of what he said, that as nasty as Helen can be, what you see is what you get. Marc was playing up to the cameras, and I’d imagine the Big Brother house is stressful enough without someone going out of their way to upset them for shits and giggles. Marc was like the playground bully who goads others and plays the victim if he gets anything back.
The best bit about this task for me was when they failed, the housemates trashed the hotel set and threw all the props in the pool with Harry, still soaking from being in the pool, laid over the path of the sliding door so it couldn’t be shut.
The originals were accused of grouping together and labelled a “clique”, but frankly even if that’s true, I don’t blame them. They were screwed over in their own series. They were always going to dislike the newcomers because of the way they were introduced – replacing housemates they had already bonded with. The first week with the new housemates in they were immune but would get to choose which originals would be up. Then there was the fake eviction, then the Time Warp Housemates came in and they had near enough ultimate power, again deciding who would face the public vote. Both Helen and Marc acted like they owned the place. Then the producers decided to keep them in an extra week, making Marc immune from eviction for the fourth week in a row. Then Aisleyne came in upstaging them more, and finally they had be servants to more ex-housemates. They’d become extras in their own series. The conclusion of this chapter of the show was normal nominations (plus Aisleyne nominating face to face) which saw Marc getting nominated and evicted.
For the final couple of weeks, which for me were among the best of the series, there was Cash Bomb. As Harry noted, humans are selfish bastards, especially when money is involved. The initial prize fund was set at £150,000, the highest ever. This week saw it going up and down, through punishments, deals and tasks. Joel paid £25,000 for a pizza, which turned out to be a tiny frozen pizza. To top it off, it ended up getting burnt in the oven anyway!
The housemates decided to break into the camera runs, running around laughing and banging on the mirrors. They made a game of who could last longest before security rounded them up, which was Cristian, who won by hiding. They ended up having to pack their suitcases and having them confiscated, but this was one of the best parts of the series, refreshingly fun.
Jack tried to get a suit, the scores for a Plymouth Argyle match and some Um Bongo from the prize fund, partly as a joke, but it backfired as the others didn’t find it amusing, so he withdrew his offer to Big Brother. Nick paid £5,000 to swap his nomination place with Chloe, so he would be guaranteed a place in the final. Chloe and Sam both took £5,000 for themselves rather than adding it to the prize fund. As Chloe had spent most of the week insisting all the money was for the winner and they should do what they could to increase it she faced a bit of a backlash from that, but ultimately nobody really had an issue with her taking the money per se.
The evictee that week was Harry Amelia, who for me was by far the best housemate this year. She started off mostly walking around topless all the time. On occasion, she sulked like a stroppy teenager going off to their room in a huff, and sometimes looked a bit like Sadako from Ring with her white night dress, long messy hair, and look of vengeance. I felt sorry for her most of the time, she was targeted unfairly by Marc and Helen, and she attracted some irrational hate from some viewers. Most people would feel miserable and like they were being picked on if they were in her position. She felt that nobody listened to her. I thought it was fair enough that she chose to keep to her own company at times too, there’s nothing wrong with that.
She acted like a passive-aggressive psycho girlfriend during her showmance with Nick, but Nick was hardly a perfect boyfriend either, joining in slagging her off to the others and welcoming Nikki’s advances. As always in Big Brother, the woman in the relationship got all the blame. Sometimes Harry did look very crazy however, biting like a dog and doing devil horns with her hands. She could be quite funny, like describing the Big Brother experience as “a fish bowl inside a pressure cooker”, and calling Cristian a “twunt” after he bought her into his nomination of Nick. She was fair-minded enough to go with what she thought was right regardless of her allegiances in the house. I love that against all odds she lasted for six weeks, surviving three evictions in a row. She entered wearing a PVC Alice In Wonderland/Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz costume, and left looking amazing wearing a sparkly red dress.
After Harry’s eviction, the remaining nominees Chloe, Jack and Sam all picked an envelope with money in it. If one was chosen to be evicted by the others, the money on their card would be added to the prize fund. The highest amount was Sam with £15,000, but they probably would have chosen her anyway.
The eviction of Sam meant that the first and last evictions of the year were bookends, both being without a public vote (even though they backtracked on the first one). I thought I’d really like Sam when she entered, she seemed like she’d bring fun, but as it turned out she didn’t bring anything much other than catchphrases which didn’t take off. While she wasn’t a nasty person, she was a bit irritating and vapid. Her eviction was unfair, but then she would probably have only finished 6th place in the final anyway. Still, there’s worse things to be than a people pleaser, and at least she got £5,000 out of being on Big Brother.
There was a choice for housemates to take £23,900 from the prize fund for themselves. Jack pressed it just before Cristian after 1 second, and got it. Jack had to have the suitcase of cash handcuffed to him. He felt guilty over it, but was given the chance to make amends by raising money for the prize fund by not eating (so Big Brother made sure to deliver his favourite foods for the other housemates to eat), sitting a paddling pool of fish guts, having buckets of fish guts dropped over him and having 7 coats of spray tan to add to the 5 he’d had the previous day. He ended up raising more money than he took, and the final prize fund was £116,100.
In the final week there was a big moth, who the housemates named Egbert. They ran around screaming from it when it got into the house, they opened the doors wide to try and let it out.
There were six housemates who made it all the way through from launch night to the final.
In 6th place was Cristian MJC (as he called himself), who was a bit cringeworthy with his ”street” wannabe rapper persona, but it was rarely seen. In fact, he was rarely seen full stop. He got barely any screen time. His personality, or lack of, was compared to various foodstuff. A cornflake (by Marc), Ryvita, toast and malt loaf (by Helen), a baked potato… with no salt (by Jade). Some people found him pretty, but lack of screen time meant he was a bit useless as eye candy too. He seemed to take himself incredibly seriously despite all the above.
5th went to Jedward-haired posh boy Nick. He seemed like he’d be one of the more interesting housemates at first, but he didn’t really do very much. It was hard not to feel some sympathy for him at times, when he quivered like a puppy that had been left out in the rain, but he had a lot of irritating traits. Picking his nose, then licking the finger. Yuck. He also rubbing his hands through his hair a lot of the time. He had several showmances, with Jade, Nikki and Harry but he looked more like a teddy they were cuddling than a boyfriend. He came across as a bit pathetic and wimpy, and siding with whoever he thought would be the most popular. Nick has a vulnerability and a slight sweetness to him which makes him hard to actively dislike, but he ended up as a much weaker character than I thought he was going to be.
Jack claimed to have the nickname “Pie Face”. I think you’ll find Dennis The Menace’s mate claimed that nickname years before you were born, Jack. In a Big Brother “time twist”, Jack was voted the winner at the end of the first week. Except he wasn’t, it was just that he was voted the viewer’s favourite housemate at that point, and was given the chance to take the prize money and a car or stay in the house. He chose the latter, but seemed to regret it, becoming grumpy and peevish. He faced a backlash, but that was just as predictable a bandwagon as the one which initially made him a favourite. I never quite got the hardcore hatedom I saw for him in some quarters. Some of it was simply people who wanted an excuse to make nasty comments about him for being overweight and for working in McDonalds, which says more about them really. That said, I do think Jack was in fast food team leader mode a lot of the time, getting angry about spilt drinks and rationing how much ketchup to use. I thought Jack was a bit rubbish as a housemate for a lot of the series, but I found him funnier in the last couple of weeks. Talking to a plastic crocodile, being given umpteen spray tans to raise money, and this exchange with Sam. She said they should raise their glasses and make a toast, Jack replied “Let’s actually make toast.” So was predicted to be the winner at the start, but ended up 4th with £23,9oo, so not too bad.
Bronze third place went to Danny. He was in a powerful position for most of the series, but it was kind of by default. In the context of the Big Brother house, he was the Prince Consort to Queen Sarah rather than the King, and after she was gone he just kept the throne. He did have a bit of a vibe that he expects everything handed to him on a plate for little effort on his part. It says a lot that one of his biggest changes from being on the show was, at 29 years old, he learnt how to spell “canoe”. He also said that he thought Isaac Newton was the first man on the moon. He can’t be that ignorant, surely? That said, I have to admit I still fancied him a bit during a lot of the series. Look, I’m not proud of it. Danny’s a bit like a “bad boyfriend choice” I suppose. He seemed like a nice enough guy, he’s good looking, he has lovely eyes, but then you get to know him and realise there’s not much beneath the surface. He’ll probably be mostly remembered for taking his anger out on pizza boxes and throwing a ham sandwich at Marc after he tried to wind him up.
The runner-up, Joel seemed to be acting out future career options during his time in Big Brother. He mentioned ambitions of becoming a politician, and he certainly pontificated. He may also be a TV chat show host, as he had a tendency to interview other housemates rather than chat with them. I can see him as a smarmy salesman too, he’s quite glib and slippery. His main ‘moment’ in the series was doing a slutdrop to ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ by Snoop Dogg, which I never really got all the fuss over, and I definitely got sick of it after Joel’s mum went in, told him how everyone loves it and so he kept repeating it over and over and over and over again. Even he seemed bored of it by the final. His other musical moments were camping it up to Katy Perry or ABBA. It would be an understatement to say he could be very self-righteous, and I was glad when Jack called him out on it once, that it was a bit rich of Joel to take the moral high ground with the prize fund when he paid £25,000 of it for a pizza. Still, an interesting housemate and would have been a different sort of winner.
Doncaster lass Chloe was the winner, a similar result to BB10 Sophie and BB11 Josie, with a finale line-up of a bubbly girl and a bunch of guys, with the girl winning. Chloe was the last girl, and also the last girl from the launch night housemates to even make it past the half-way stage. It’s no surprise she ended as the most popular, as a down-to-earth Yorkshire girl-next-door type. She did overplay the “I’m normal and I’m just like you” card a bit though. She’s only doing this as a last hurrah, then she’ll go back to her normal life, with her normal job, and her normal mortgage then she’ll have her normal wedding and have normal kids and so on. I really liked her though, and I often agreed with her comments on the house goings on. She was about the right mix of funny, feisty and friendly. She ended up with £116,100, already the biggest winner’s prize money ever, with her £5,000 added on top of that. There were loud chants for her to win from the crowd throughout the final, and it was quite nice to see her tearful reaction to being crowned the champion, and the Big Brother voice encouraging her “You can do it, Chloe” as she went up the stairs.
The worst thing about the tasks this year was there seemed to be an endless, tedious deluge of “what the housemates have said about you behind each other’s back” tasks in order to generate arguments.
There was ‘Back to the ’80s’, which seemed to be for no other reason than Channel 5 were doing an ’80s themed weekend. This task was hyped for weeks, they even designed a new eye logo for it. and all it turned out to be aerobics classes playing ’80s hits, and all the usual ’80s iconography, like Rubik’s cubes and shellsuits. Marc and Sam had to go to “’80s hell”, which was filled with bright clashing colours and old TVs. They had to wind chewed up tape from cassettes, make cheese and pineapple hedgehogs and listen to ‘The Birdie Song’ on an endless loop. The others got an ’80s Heaven party with pina colladas. There have been worse Big Brother tasks over the years, but this was hardly worth weeks and weeks of promotion over.
But some of the tasks were good. There was a great task early on, ‘In The Dark’ where the housemates were sat in bath tubs and the lights were turned off so they couldn’t see anything, and stuff was dropped on them. Teddy bears were dropped on Eileen, and she screamed as she couldn’t tell what they were at first. She later got spaghetti and feathers. Danny had rubber gloves, seaweed and squid. Amy had maggots (“They’re in my knickers you bastards!”), lychees and buttons. She ran around screaming even more when the lights came on and she could see the maggots.
The task continued with The Hole, where the housemates had to spend a night in a creepy room. The real task was for Chloe to persuade three of them to run away in fear. Again it was pitch black and had noises and spotlights on sights such as blood coming out of a toy baby doll’s eyes and a ghost girl breaking out of a mirror and into the room. Some gunk dropped on Jack accompanied by vomit sounds. Chloe tried, secretly joining in the throwing stuff on the wall and claiming she’d seen stuff she hadn’t, but could only persuade Jack to leave.
I liked that they had some fun with the “time” theme, and wished they’d done a bit more of that. They went to the future”, 2050 with robot voices, silver foil, space helmets and blue bananas. Just think, people in past decades thought 2015 would look like that!
Another good episode was Time Reversal Day, where time ran backwards. Morning was night and night was morning, with even the narration and clock graphics corresponding with the task. The housemates were woken up to ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless. The day began with a rave (I love that they played ‘Ride On Time’ by Black Box) and ended with a night time breakfast of croissants and orange juice.
It wasn’t really a task, but in the final week it was quite funny that Jack and Joel had a huge bowl of popcorn, having to lick each piece individually and separate them into salted and sweet.
Big Brother’s Bit On The Side was quite poor this year. Rylan Clark is a good presenter, but, with the exception of eviction nights, this show feels a bit superfluous now. People watch hoping for exclusives from the house, but it’s mostly filler. It’s the equivalent of ordering a ring and it coming in a television-sized cardboard box stuffed with styrofoam and bubblewrap. Even if it was any good, the show was on for 90 MINUTES starting at 11pm on Mondays!
One change I did like this year was that the series Best Bits were in chronological order again rather than shuffled around randomly. I hope that continues.
BB16 has the dishonour of being the least watched civilian series ever, and the only BBUK series to date which has been shortened during its run, finishing a week earlier than planned. It felt like about six different series cut up with blunt scissors and badly sticky-taped together.
A curate’s egg of a series, but trying to find the good bits was like hunting for bits of scrambled egg in a plate full of egg shell. I think it got better towards the end, but overall it suffered from far too much producer interference.