Big Brother 19

Big Brother 19, the last ever. (Probably). Wipe a tear from the enormous Big Brother eye.

It was announced that Channel 5 were axing the show (along with the celebrity version) a few hours before launch night. It wasn’t a surprise, given that it had been speculated for ages, not to mention the way Channel 5 controller Ben Frow was constantly slagging the franchise off, and the initial details from the series: launch night on a Friday, no Saturday shows at all, the episodes that were shown were at 10pm. But it still made launch night quite poignant.

The series itself turned 18 this year, and there was a feeling of it going full circle. The first Channel 5 series also launched in autumn, but even more so, there was talk of this series going back to its “social experiment” roots, and references in the house design to the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which the franchise is (very,very,very) loosely based on.

The new eye logo was a bit of an eyesore. It looked a bit like an eye that had suffered an alkali burn!

Fast food worker Ellis, who entered wearing what looked like a tartan tea towel as a skirt, celebrated her 20th birthday on launch night, danced on the table, got into a showmance with Lewis G, and was then removed from the house after the discovery of some racist tweets she made. All that in the space of one day! Which unfortunately makes her notable, as she holds the record for the shortest stay for a BB/CBB UK housemate ever!

The key difference in this series was Big Coin, which was a currency within the house. In the first week, the three housemates with the fewest Big Coins would be up for eviction.

I liked how the Big Coins were released from the ceiling on launch night, and the housemates began trying to collect as much as they could! There was also the Killer
Coin, which when stuck to housemates would result in a loss of 20% of their Big Coin total. That was quite funny too, seeing them chasing after each other and running away from it.

A whole team was put together to win Big Coin based on a general knowledge quiz – and only Tomasz managed to win anything!

The Blood Money ceremony scenery was filled with candles and weird cult imagery, and the housemates had to wear capes and find coins in a vat of gungey fake blood, and these coins would give housemates a chance to affect the coin totals of the others.

Anamélia said she wanted to choose herself to be able double her coin total! When Big Brother told her she couldn’t, she gave it to Tomasz. Lewis G had a coin which would bankrupt another housemate. He chose Anamélia, and he was pretty nasty about it too, he seemed to be really twisting the knife about the fact she had no coins now. Tomasz had a coin which would give another housemate 100 coins, and he gave to Anamélia, which was both a charitable thing to do and was returning a favour.

The Mining Task saw the housemates split into miners and managers. The miners had to dig for gold nuggets and gems for the benefit of the managers, who stayed in an office. A scroll in the mine advised the miners to keep the gems for themselves, and give the cheaper nuggets to the managers. When the miners went to the Diary Room to weigh the gold and gems, they were invited to exchange gold and gems for bags of gold (i.e, more Big Coins).

Tomasz was very into making a deal in the black market, understandable as he had a low Big Coin total. Cameron looked like he was going to squeal to the managers about the scroll in exchange for being made Miner Of The Day, but the managers didn’t trust him, and found out about it themselves anyway. Brooke and Sian were both too honest for their own good, as Brooke admitted to the managers that she had a diamond when they asked her, and Sian turned down the offer to exchange gold and gems for gold coins. This could have been a fatal move on Sian’s part, as it meant she was in the bottom 3 housemates who had the lowest Big Coin total by the end of the week, and therefore up for eviction.

The set designs on this task for the mine and the black market were both great, very detailed and eye catching, and honestly I think it was one of the best Big Brother tasks ever! It also featured ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet on the soundtrack, the most famous previous use of that in Big Brother is in series 7 with the Golden Ticket winning housemate Susie.

One final twist was that Zoe had picked bed number 13 as her’s, and ironically it turned out to be the “lucky bed”. She was given the power to swap Big Coin totals with any other housemate, and she decided to swap with second place Lewis G.

Anamélia still had the lowest Big Coin total by the end of the week, so she was up for eviction, and was voted her out by the viewers. She was a bit of a drama queen, and she could be very exhausting. However, the way she was targeted by a lot of the house wasn’t pleasant to watch. Some of the girls started bitching about her, Kay told her about it, and when she confronted them they said they were talking to her now about what their issues were, Anamélia responded “Yeah, after a whole meeting about how awful I am!”. She had a point.

But the worst was Lewis G, who kept childishly singing her name at her, including when she was trying to sleep, and targeting her like a playground bully picking on the most unpopular kid.

The main thing Anamélia seems to be remembered for is her alter-ego “Talia”, who did a floor show for Lewis G. Anamélia’s final action was to donate her Big Coins to Tomasz, so I guess she returened the favour to him too, as he donated them to her in the first place!

The second week saw the start of the viewer poll playing a role in nominations. As well as the two or more with the most votes put up by the housemates, viewers could vote for their favourite housemate on a poll, and the housemate with the fewest votes would join the nominees. One good thing was that Big Brother didn’t tell the housemates about this, so it made them all more paranoid and suspicious of each other when someone popular in the house was up due to the viewer poll!

Another thing which started this week was the Gamechanger, where the nominated housemates, the housemate with the most Big Coins and two others of their choosing would have a chance to save one nominee from facing eviction. The first Gamechanger was the Dice Dash, which had a lot of rules as to when you could collect certain items, and all of the housemates seemed confused about that, and as some swapped pieces with each other and nobody (not even the producers it seemed!) had a clue what happened during the first attempt, so they had to run the task again, and several of them ended up disqualified on the second attempt!

I LOVED the Count Your Chickens task! The chickens were quite an iconic part of the early Big Brother series, and in this housemates had to count every chicken they saw which were scattered around the house, including toy ones, stickers and ones which appeared on the TV screens.

Sian summed up what was going on in the house during this task: “Akeem’s counting all t’chickens for the tenth time [and] Kay’s crying because there’s pictures of chickens everywhere”.

Lewis G and Zoe had to be covered in molasses and chicken seed, while some real chickens were unleashed!

There was “Chick Flick”, a film of chickens, with some turkeys in as well.

Tomasz sang ‘I’m Like A Bird’ by Nelly Furtado to an audience of real chickens.

Cameron claimed to be scared of chickens, just before being greeted by someone in a chicken costume outside the Diary Room.

‘Crazy Chick’ by Charlotte Church was played on the soundtrack.

The Lucky Egg vending machine, filled with plastic eggs with fluffy toy chicks inside. They had to count them, too.

When the garden filled with people dressed as chickens, Cian quipped that it was “A Hen Party”. By a long way the best chicken pun in a task absolutely stuffed with them.

Lewis G continued his mission to be annoying into week 2, where he shoved a load of raw mince into a pan with some salad. Yeah, topbantz!1!1! all right. Big Brother called him to the Diary Room to tell him off as what he did was cross contamination and risked food poisoning.

With Anamélia gone, Lewis G moved onto another target, his namesake Lewis F. He kept taunting him because, well, he was called Lewis as well and “there’s only room for one Lewis”. He took some of Lewis F’s food while he was eating it. Lewis F said the reason he didn’t react to it was because that would be what Lewis G wanted, but Akeem made a point that needed saying : nobody should HAVE to just put up with being treated like that. Kenaley also had a great moment when she was one of few people to call out Lewis G on how selfish he was being.

Anyway, the eviction did indeed end up as the battle of Lewises, with Lewis F vs. Lewis G, with the latter going.

Despite all the talk of what a big character he was, Lewis G was one of the most one-dimensional housemates of the lot. He was like a Kevin Bishop/Lee Nelson sketch show character that they didn’t think was funny enough to actually include on their shows. There are no worse Big Brother series than when all the screentime is given to nothing but the repetitive antics of an obnoixous wind up merchant. “Wind-up merchant” is probably the most bizarre of all the Big Brother Get Out Of Jail Free cards. Apparently it’s OK to antagonise, plague and upset people if… you’re deliberately going out of your way to do that. Frankly, “wind-up merchants” are just playground bullies with good P.R.

The next exit wasn’t an eviction, but a walkout, Kay. It had been coming along for a while, she’d said she wanted to go several times. While the way she kept blubbing over things like being around people eating meat was a little irritating, Kay seemed another easy target for the house. She put it quite well. “The herd will turn on the one who stands out, even if you tell them the shepherd is here to take them to the slaughter”.

She and Cameron never got on, but to be fair to Kay she was more prepared to say it to his face than he was. She also stood up for herself better. One time he was being snidey about her being a vegan and that it took up some of the shopping budget, to which she pointed out that as she was a vegan it meant that there was a lot she didn’t eat, such as cheese, milk, meat and eggs, she wouldn’t be taking any of those, so that would mean a greater share for the other housemates. She also stated that the only person who had actually wasted food was Lewis G, and Cameron seemed to think that was hilarious.

One night there was an argument with Lewis F about a prank he was thinking of playing on Cameron. The argument led to Kay requesting to sleep in the spare room, and the night after Lewis F wanted to go over the argument again. And again. And again. Kay decided to walk out that night. It wasn’t much of a shock, and she most likely would have been evicted on that Friday anyway, but I have to say that while she was the least favourite housemate on launch night, she grew on me during her stay.

Cian had a mixed week, giving good advice to Tomasz (that his game playing would ultimately be painting a huge target on his back) and to Lewis F and Cameron (when
they were both going round and round about what Kay might be saying on the outside, Cian told them how pointless ruminating over it was, as they wouldn’t know until they left the house anyway). But he also had an unrequited crush on Cameron, which led to Lewis F having a go at him.

The shopping task was Big Brother airlines Flight To China – they had to be stuck in the task room designed like inside an aeroplane for 5 hours having to learn Mandarin, with a toy baby crying. Obviously, the housemates got annoyed.

Of course they didn’t really travel to China, but the house was redecorated, all the signs were replaced with Mandarin, and Big Brother communicated to them only in Mandarin.

Akeem had been the richest housemate in terms of Big Coins in first couple of weeks. This led to him being some kind of unofficial house leader, spontaneously calling house meetings about how they’d spend the shopping budget and how the food and drink would be rationed. Which I think led to other housemates turning against him. Tomasz’s vendetta against Akeem was a bit weird, and looked even worse with Tomasz massaging Akeem, doing a lapdance for him and keeping saying how much he fancied him. It also saw the very unexpected alliance of Tomasz and Isaac.

Isaac wanted to be the alpha male of the house from the start, which might be why he had such a problem with Akeem having the most Big Coins. Isaac was the top of the Big Coin league after evicted Lewis G donated his Big Coins to him… but Isaac’s time at the top only lasted a couple of days, as the housemates had a task where they could redistribute Big Coins, and as Isaac had the most the housemates took a lot from him, meaning Isaac was no longer even in the top 3! Isaac had a lot of arrogance, and he did come over as slightly intimidating at times. By the time he left he had become pretty irrelevant to the house dynamic too. He left his Big Coins to Tomasz, and as Isaac had inherited all of Lewis G’s, this meant that at this time Tomasz had all the evicted housemates’ Big Coins!

After Isaac had gone, Tomasz then did a massive reverse ferret and had Akeem as his new main ally! He kept calling Akeem “daddy” for the rest of the series, which was a bit annoying to be honest, but it was better than what was going on before.

New housemates entered, Isabella and Hussain, and they didn’t exactly get off to a great start. Brooke and Sian didn’t look keen on Isabella at first sight (it turned out Isabella and Brooke were in the same audition), and Hussain was cringeworthy, entering saying “the king as arrived”.

Cameron came out as gay after that week’s round of nominations. He had in effect come out to Big Brother/the viewers some weeks earlier, and to Lewis F. The other housemates had mostly guessed too. But all credit to the housemates, the show and the spin-off Big Brother’s Bit On The Side for being sensitive about it and not declaring it for Cameron until he chose to come out himself. It was one of the key moments of this series. Cian and Brooke both cried, as I’m sure they have been there themselves in some way or another. There was a gay group hug with Cameron, Brooke, Cian and Tomasz. Then Lewis F used some Big Coins to buy Cameron a party.

Big Brother told the housemates they had to pick one of Hussain or Isabella to get some Big Coins. They chose Isabella, basically because they disliked her less. But they didn’t tell them who they chose would have to ‘steal’ Big Coins from one of them. As Tomasz had the most, Isabella chose him, taking him to 3rd on the leaderboard, which meant all the planning Tomasz had done for who he was going to choose in the Gamechanger was a waste of time!

Lewis F thought Hussain had nicked some of his vegetarian sausages and went on a rant about it. Turned out they were in the freezer all along. He won the Gamechanger that week, which was an elaborate game of dominos. He also had an incredibly pointless raging argument with Akeem in the hot tub. I did like that when asked whether she was Team Akeem or Team Lewis F, Zoe said “I’m Team don’t-give-a-fuck”.

There was also the Doers and Thinkers task, where some housemates were dressed in science boffin white coats, and other were dressed as builders with hard hats. But it was pretty much just a repackaging of the usual tasks (electroshock, line-up in the order of…, eat gross things and puke in a bucket etc).

Kenaley was evicted, not managing to win the Gamechanger task this time. She had won the first two weeks of Gamechanger tasks. Technically, she won it three times, as on the second week Isaac was given a last-minute extra life, and Kenaley ended up winning that Gamechanger twice! With her long, talon-like pink painted nails, hoop earings big enough for dolphins to jump through, and her various fabulous outfits, Kenaley had a presence when she had screentime, though it was quite rare for her to have screentime. She was very fair-minded with who she gave her Big Coins to, as she gave them to Hussain on the grounds that he was the only one who didn’t have any.

The Piggy Bank Robbery task was another great one. Each housemate had piggy banks, and had a pick a bag with coins and redistribute the coins to all the other piggy banks, which would affect the totals. Red coins would take 50 Big Coins away, green coins would add 50. There were some where there was only one coin that would have greater consequences. The gold coin would add 500 Big Coins, while the black coin, a.k.a the Bank Breaker, would take away 500. Then there was the blue coin, the Secret Steal, which meant whoever used that would steal all the coins, good and bad, from that housemate’s piggy bank.

Brooke got the Bank Breaker, and used it on Tomasz (though, you know, she felt GUILTY about it!). He also got a load of red coins, which meant that he ended up with 0 Big Coins, after having over 1000 at the start of the week! Isabella got the Gold coin (courtesy of Hussain), and she also got the Secret Steal, which she used on Akeem. But the one who ended up doing the best out of it was Cameron, who having got nine green coins ended up at the top of the leaderboard.

The housemates could then bid for The Mystery Box. Many bid nothing at all, as they didn’t know what it was. Hussein bid all his Big Coins, and the Mystery Box was The Absolute Power Nomination, where one housemate was guaranteed to face the public vote. Hussain picked Lewis F.

The show put on a poll on the app/website asking viewers whether it should stay at Vote To Evict or switch to Vote To Save for the rest of the series, just a day after it was confirmed that Lewis F would definitely be facing eviction that week. “Interesting”, as Lewis F himself would say. Anyway, the result was keeping it at Vote To Evict.

Lewis F dived into the pool, and of course Cameron followed him and did exactly the same. After several rule breaks and nominations discussions, Big Brother replaced all the food with basic rations, cold water showers and no electrical appliances. Even a hamper that the housemates won in a task was just basic rations! Though they did also get a puzzle piece. Eventually they had to write poems to get the house back to normal.

Isabella was nominated due to the viewer poll (she guessed this, voiced it the original housemates who weren’t supposed to know about it, and got fined Big Coins by Big Brother because of this). But she saved herself by winning the Gamechanger. She also found time to do that Red Dwarf face upside down eyeballs on chin Vindaloonian Empire alien thing.

There were several arguments between Hussain and Isabella. Basically, Isabella fancied Lewis F, but he didn’t fancy her, while Hussain fancied Isabella, but she didn’t fancy him. Hussain was also annoyed about Isabella going to “the opposition”/”the other side”, probably referring to the fact that he and Isabella were late entrants who should stick with each other and not attempt to join with the originals. But Hussain came over really badly, it was almost as if he thought he owned Isabella or something. She’s her own person, it’s her choice who she hangs around with and who she is or isn’t attracted to!

The Mystery Box issue started a night of arguments too. Big Brother told Hussain he couldn’t tell the others that he bought it, so all the speculation meant they didn’t trust each other. It led to, well not exactly another Fight Night, but it came close!

Lewis F said Hussain had told him that Isabella was slagging him off. Isabella stated this was, at best, an exaggeration. Isabella and Hussain later went to “clear the air”, and it dissolved into another argument, among other things Isabella thought they should “build bridges”, while Hussain thought “the bridges are already burned!”. I agreed with Akeem that it all seemed very petty.

Hussain then later said Lewis F had no backbone and was a coward, then Zoe decided to get involved, shouting and going towards Hussain, with Cian trying to get between
them and then hold Zoe back. Zoe was called into the Diary Room, and Cian ended up crying and having to be hugged by Cameron. Big Brother asked Hussain to go to the
bedroom. Meanwhile, Lewis F just sat there looking smug. To be fair, “looking smug” was pretty much Lewis F’s default setting. But Hussain did actually make a good point. Zoe ended up getting involved in a battle which had nothing to do with her, and Lewis F let her. Potentially, she could have been kicked out of the house altogether, and it’s pretty certain Lewis F wouldn’t have put his neck on the line for Zoe if someone had been arguing with her. Even Zoe herself thought this was a good point when Hussain said it to her the next morning!

In any case, Hussain was out in the eviction. He was an archetypal straight-in-and-out late entrant who causes a stir for a week or two and is voted out at the first opportunity. He was the “honour” of being the first evicted housemate who had no Big Coins to donate. He really thought he had a shot at winning the whole thing too!

To add to his rather humiliating end, he was only the opening act for his own eviction night! The big event was the Big Brother Week In A Day twist, where the housemates would nominate, play a Gamechanger and then there’d be an eviction. The problem with this though was that there wouldn’t be enough time for a public vote, especially when the show wasn’t live. It was broadcast at 10pm, but all the crowd had to be out early as the house is in a residential area.

Now, they could have done something like let all the non-nominated housemates decide, but I guess that would have been too fair. Anyway, what they actually did was give Cameron automatic immunity on the grounds that he had the most Big Coins. He didn’t have to actually part with any Big Coins like people before had done, he was just given immunity.

The three nominated housemates were Akeem, Isabella and Lewis F. After the Gamechanger, an unlocking padlocks and pressing a buzzer task, Lewis F won, and charmingly flipped the bird with both hands to anyone who nominated him. Akeem had been nominated about the same amount of times Lewis F had, but Akeem didn’t react to it in such a rude, petulant way. Besides, Lewis F was never in any danger of going even if he hadn’t won the Gamechanger, as it turned out Cameron, and Cameron alone, would have
the power of deciding which remaining nominee would be evicted. He agonised over it for a bit, but he chose Isabella.

Which meant both of the late entrants were out in the same night! Isabella perhaps has more grounds to be annoyed about it, both with her eviction (which both she and Cameron said was a very unfair one), and the fact that she had been making more of an effort to integrate with the house and would have lasted at least another week without the twist. She wasn’t a terrible housemate, but if there’s one good thing about it then at least it nipped the looming showmance between her and Lewis F in the bud.

Brooke gave Cameron a haircut. Lewis F didn’t like it, and typically went on and on and on and on about how much he hated it.

First thing in the morning the garden was showered in orange bouncy balls, which represented Big Coins so the housemates went to gather as many as they could. Tomasz
found a golden one, which represented 100 Big Coins. This was very good news for Tomasz, as at that point his Big Coin balance was zero!

They had two puzzle pieces in the storeroom when the shopping was collected, and the final piece of the puzzle was in that weeks Big Coin auction. With a starting price of 50 Big Coins, that was valued higher than immunity, so the housemates felt it was clearly worth having! It started a bidding war, which Akeem won in the end.

With the final puzzle piece slotted in, the jigsaw pieces lit up in bright colours, with a deep voice saying that they had completed the Mind Game, and now Akeem had “the Power of Knowledge”. Though Brooke noted the immediate effect of Akeem’s purchase was “he’s bought fairy lights for the house!”.

“The Power of Knowledge” didn’t really amount to much though. Akeem was given advance knowledge that it would be positive nominations that week, but the housemates
were told that when it came to nominations anyway. Then Akeem was told that he had no positive nominations, and was in fact the only housemate not to recieve any! He got to ask a question to the outside world, but it could only be one which had a Yes or No answer, which limited what he could ask a bit. He eventually asked if people thought he deserved to make the final. (They voted Yes, if you’re wondering). Then he got a visit from the outside world, who Big Brother told him he could ask any information he wanted. It turned out to be his dog, Miska! Akeem seemed overjoyed with getting to see her, but overall The Power of Knowledge didn’t seem like it was worth all those Big Coins.

That said, at least the puzzle pieces for the Mind Game in the garden were something which turned out to have relevance. So often in Big Brother there have been aspects of the house design which on launch night they implied would be important later, but then they just forgot about.

The Final Gamechanger saw the housemates having to run on balancing beams and raise flags with numbers on, and if they fell they’d have to start over again. It was against the clock. Brooke and Sian got by far the highest total – and the exact same number! So they had to run again in a tie breaker, which Sian won. Uniquely, this time the Gamechanger winner had the chance to save two people, and Sian chose to save herself and Brooke, which was fair, considering that they were the two which lasted the longest, and they both got enough positive nominations to not face eviction in the first place, but were added due to the viewer poll. It was refreshing to see such fairness after Isabella’s eviction!

Lewis F, Cian and Zoe ended up being shackled together as punishment for discussing nominations, all of which nicely led into the shopping task.

It was a nod to BB7′s brilliant Prison task, and while it wasn’t as good as then, it did lead to an excellent episode.

The wardens were the top 3 in the Big Coin leagues (Zoe, Sian and Cameron), and the rest were inmates. The inmates were able to communicate with “Dirty Dave”, the prison top dog in “the next cell”, and he asked them to get some stuff for him from the warden’s office. A duck ornament, some sweets, his 1992 ping-pong champion trophy, and hooch. They also had a secret TV screen where they could listen in to the wardens, notably when they were doing reports on the inmates, so they could hear them having a go at them!

Cian ran away to distract the wardens while Akeem got some of the requested items. This was perhaps a little too obvious, with the wardens becoming suspicious. The plans got a bit cleverer later, with Akeem and Lewis F staging an argument to get the wardens away from the office and into the bathroom, while Brooke got some items.

Sian really took to her role! She listened in from outside the Diary Room, and correctly guessed the prisoners were on a task as they were all whispering! The prisoners were tipped off about this, so they started making some noise. Cameron and Zoe both came into check it out, then left immediately. Brooke said that they were trying to catch them out and would come straight back in, and she was right, so the prisoners got more rowdy like they were just messing about. It fooled Cameron and Zoe though!

Sian also found the hooch Dirty Dave had hidden before the prisoners did, and confiscated it. The prisoners managed to get it from the office, but Sian was certainly the most competent of the wardens. Unlike Cameron, who Lewis F tickled to get his keys from him – not only did Cameron give up straight away, he gave Lewis F his phone as well!

The key allowed the prisoners to let themselves out any time they wanted. Akeem and Cian got out, and wrecked the wardens’ office. Cian hid behind a plant, and later hid behind a couch while Zoe was sat on it having a smoke!

Cameron came to the cell after hearing the noise. The other housemates tried the old “use pillows under a quilt to make it look like someone is sleeping” trick to explain why Akeem and Cian weren’t there, but it didn’t work, so they let Cameron in on the secret that they had a TV. They managed to win the shopping task though!

However, there was an unexpected shock before the week was out, and not one planned by producers either. Lewis F was removed from the house! They never showed the incident which caused him to be removed, and we might never know for sure, but given what has been suggested about it (not least by Lewis F himself), perhaps he said or did something so offensive that it’s understandable that Channel 5 will have felt that he had to go immediately, and also that they didn’t want to broadcast it, but it also meant that it couldn’t help but be a massive elephant in the room.

Lewis F came into the show saying he was a reformed, health and fitness obsessed, celibate vegan. Although he wasn’t really vegan. He called himself a “flexigenarian”, basically he eats meat when it suits him. He was intense, took himself far too seriously, was paranoid, negative, pretentious, self-righteous and sanctimonious. But he was generically handsome, and apparently for some viewers and the producers that made all the difference.

There was also his annoying catchphrase “Interesting. Very interesting”. I guess there’s an argument that he might have been interesting in the early weeks, but he certainly got very draining to watch, and the mood of the house improved a lot after he was gone.

There was also an eviction on the same day, and Tomasz was evicted. He was a good housemate! Tomasz talked about discrimination he faced, homophobia while serving
compulsory military service in Poland, and that while in the UK he was able to express himself more, he still encountered prejudice just from being an immigrant. But he wasn’t bitter about any of that, which I think a lot of people would be. He was quite funny and entertaining. He always brought out his “shade fan” during nominations. He was so open about playing the game, which made a nice change, especially in this series where gameplay was more important.

Tomasz’s extremely loud snoring was a topic in the first week, but after Big Brother got him to see a doctor he was diagnosed with sleep apnea! Part of his treatment was wearing a plastic mask at night. He made a joke of it, by doing a Darth Vader impression!

He probably deserved to be a finalist really, but hey.

The final week they just opened the lines to vote for the winner, with the bottom 2 going out in a double eviction, which was probably the best thing to do really.

Akeem claimed he’d never heard of Oprah Winfrey, which seemed just as disingenuous as Brian Belo’s infamous “Who’s this Shakespeare geezer then?” moment in BB8. Cian’s
reaction was the best. “Do you live in the outside world, or have you been here the whole time?”.

Cameron had a task where he had to make Sunday dinner, which he managed, surprisingly, considering his earlier cooking where he accidentally made “scrambled sausage” – sausage that ended up looking more like scrambled eggs!

In the final Big Coin auction they got to bid for a camera, a souvenir from the house (Zoe joked she was going to ask for the swimming pool!) and letters from home. But only three out of the six would get a letter. Sian won the auction for the letters, and chose herself, Zoe and Cameron, on the grounds that both she and Zoe were mothers and that Cameron had come out in the show. Fair enough I suppose, though I couldn’t blame Brooke for being a little annoyed. As she put it, she was essentially punished because “I already came out and I didn’t reproduce before I came here”.

It’s very rare that you would get an episode of Big Brother broadcast on Halloween night, as it is usually on in the summer, but they had one this time. And as it was the last ever series, why not go the whole hog?

The producers made an effort with the decoration, turning it into “Hell’s Tree House”, number 13 of course. They woke up the housemates with ‘Ghostbusters’ by Ray Parker Jnr. They provided the housemates with costumes. Akeem was a cowboy, Brooke was a zombie cheerleader, Cameron was Dracula, Cian was an evil clown, Sian was a nurse covered in blood, and Zoe was a witch.

The task was to fill Trick Or Treat buckets with sweets hidden in the task rooms, and the set designs for the task rooms looked fantastic! One was a haunted house which had a green ghost girl and a creepy doll chasing the housemates around. The housemates had to find sweets in dishes which had fake eyeballs and real maggots, and under a cloche was a real moving head! (That old “cut a hole under a table and stick your head in from underneath” trick).

The other set was a graveyard which had a werewolf and zombies coming out from underground! The zombies came into the main house. (Cian was kind enough to hold the
door open to let the zombies into the garden!). The zombies began banging on the glass doors of the house from the garden, just like in the end of Dead Set, Charlie Brooker’s Big Brother spoof zombie miniseries, very fitting really, as the last episode of Dead Set was broadcast on Halloween night 10 YEARS AGO! Bloody hell, that’s flown by!

Cameron and Cian had to go ghost hunting in the camera runs. Makes a change from that tradition of the housemates breaking into them and running around I suppose. They encountered a knife wielding psycho killer who smashed a window!

From the housemates point of view, all of that was on the 30th of October rather than Halloween, but on midnight, when it was to become Halloween, they were given a
party, which played ‘Disturbia’ by Rihanna at the end. The best episode of the series, imo.

The next episode saw a fed up, passive aggressive Big Brother announcer telling the housemates that “the batteries are in the same place they have been for the past 47 days” and telling them she’d “managed to get up on time every day, maybe you should try it!”. Then the housemates overheard the Big Brother announcers have a conversation saying they were going to just bugger off and leave them to it. This all set up a re-enacting of Big Brother Celebrity Hijack. Kim Woodburn was the first hijacker, getting them to clean the house, but she ordered Sian to have a rest as she had done more of her fair share of cleaning throughout the series. (I have to say in the Channel 5 era the house always seemed to look filthy! They should have got them to clean it more often).

After Kim, Josie Gibson took over for a shift, then Nikki Grahame made her obligatory appearance. To be honest, since BB7, the series where she was a proper contestant,
it’s more difficult to think of a series which she definitely hasn’t appeared in!

Another return was Wendy The Washing Machine from CBB22. She got Brooke and Sian to collect Zoe’s overworn dressing gown, Akeem’s Christmas jumper and Cian’s boxer shorts in exchange for some kebabs and two cans of cider. They had to keep the whole task a secret, so they had to pretend they has stashed the cider from earlier and had to cover up the kebab by snacking on onions. Well, it’s not unheard of, Miriam Margolyes likes to snack on onions after all!

Brooke and Sian were the two who got the fewest votes to win and were evicted a couple of days before the final. I was a little disappointed, as I liked them both.

Brooke, a graphic designer, was very sensible and level headed, and unlike a lot of the other housemates she had a refreshing sense of perspective, that what went on in there mostly wasn’t that big a deal and if someone leaves it’s not as if they’ll never be able to see them ever again! She was very often the voice of reason. I think she was my favourite housemate from this series. She got a chance to convert her Big Coins into pounds sterling in the final task of the series.

Sian, a magician’s assistant and cafe worker from Barnsley, was voted the most popular housemate on first impressions in a viewer poll, but she didn’t keep that initial popularity up. She did a lot of the cooking and cleaning in the house, but as a housemate she was mainly “a coaster” – she coasted along through most of the run, picking up hardly any nominations along the way. I always quite liked her though. She is gorgeous, and I found it funny when she said her pregnancy cravings included ginger biscuits and washing up liquid.

The Final, broadcast on Bonfire Night, started with black and white clips of every series of Big Brother, soundtracked with ‘Praise You’ by Fatboy Slim, then there was a montage of all the winners.

Channel 5 couldn’t even be bothered to do anything special for the final, in fact it was the shortest final they had ever done. Host Emma Willis noted that “Time is definitely not on our side”. They had to go straight in with getting the finalists out, and 3rd and 4th place had to come out together! Apparently there was only 1% difference in the vote between them, but still.

Cian was a chirpy Irish gay guy and very likeable and bubbly, and seemed relatively sensible, he tried to defuse confrontations and tended to give good advice to others. I expected him to do a little better in the final really!

Zoe, on the other hand, could be a bit sour. She had moments where she was funny, like when she randomly wanted to buy a cabbage. But she also had moments of being very jealous and petty. Cian and Zoe had a close friendship in the early weeks, but then Isabella entered and Zoe massively turned on Cian just because he started hanging around with Isabella. But I guess Cian and Zoe made up by the end.

2nd place Akeem, from Rhondda Valley in Wales, seemed nice enough, and came across as a fairly ordinary bloke. I’m… not sure there’s much more to say about him that I haven’t already, but he was fine as a runner-up.

Winner Cameron is, at 19, the youngest ever Big Brother winner. In fact, he was only nine months old when the first series started! It is fitting that he won the final series, especially as he is a superfan. He also had one of the biggest moments of the series with his coming out on the show. A lot was said about him being more like an old man, but to be honest I always thought he was came across as very stereotypically teenage – sulky and melodramatic. But, whatever his flaws, he was a decent winner for this series.

The final was very emotional, from Cameron, Emma and BBOTS presenter Rylan Clark-Neal. Emma thanked the production team, the previous presenters, the housemates and
viewers past and present, and said that Big Brother would “hopefully find a new home”. The last words were “Big Brother will get back to you” to an empty Diary Room chair, just like at the end of Ultimate Big Brother, the last series on Channel 4.

A few highlights to finish off:

It was refreshing that wasn’t so much of house divide this time around. There were attempts at one with a group calling themselves The Misfits, not to be confused with
the rock band of the same name. “The Misfits” here were a group of Zoe, Tomasz, Cian and maybe Cameron? But it never really amounted to much. I suppose being in a group didn’t matter so much this year. Usually the house power dynamic is to do with numbers of people, so they can bloc vote when it comes to nominations. OK, they can’t technically discuss nominations, but you can probably make the assumption that everyone in the same group is in alliance and they are going to vote for the people they are bitching about. But this year, the house power dynamic was determined by who had the most Big Coins, so perhaps that made this series more individualistic?

The last ever Big Brother’s Bit On The Side began with ‘Goodbye’ by the Spice Girls and ended with ‘Never Forget’ by Take That, and I do get a bit nostalgic about those two ’90s “leavers party” pop anthems.

Emma suggesting to Rylan that they go on holiday in January, as they won’t be doing Celebrity Big Brother like usual.

That nice moment when Brooke, Cameron, Cian and Tomasz were all in a room together, and noted that they were all LGBT, and therefore 4 out of the top 7 in this series were LGBT!

Big Brother 19 was a very good one! In fact, all three Big Brothers in 2018 were good! BB19 was certainly one of the very best Channel 5 ones. I actually seemed well planned compared to most of the others. It had a good cast, and some excellent tasks. The Big Coin twist worked brilliantly too. While there may have been a few dodgy bits here and there, BB19 was a lot better than BB11 (the last civilian series on Channel 4), so if this really is the end of the line for Big Brother UK, at least it finished with a good one.

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