Saturday, January 28, 2006


In the end, the most watchable series of Big Brother ended in the most appropriate way - not only did the victory of Chantelle feel pleasingly British (the triumph of the have-a-go amateur over the well-drilled professional would fit in any Victor comic storyline or Enid Blyton storybook), but also served as a pretty accurate summation of how easily we give the celebrity title to anyone these days: celebrity is pretty much granted to anyone who stands up and says "I'm a celebrity, check me out over here." And it would be a hard heart indeed that couldn't feel some joy at Chantelle asking "are you sure" when told she'd won twenty-five grand for beating those with a slightly higher public profile.

Normally, having an interest in a series of Big Brother leaves you with that feeling you get when you dash on to the dance floor when they play the Kula Shaker song which sounds like the Charlatans at the start: horrified, ashamed, and like you've let everybody down. But the presence of George Galloway - who really, really shouldn't have been there, and who was still trying to brazen it out last night ("my constituents were attacking the press with their umbrellas") - and Pete Burns - who was born to paddle the celebrity shallows leaving a slick of hairdye and putdowns actually gave an interest beyond the prurient; while Barrymore's Poe-style actual secret and actual sense of being on the last throw showed up the Les Dennis and Vanessa Feltz experiences for the Heat-pointing self-obsessions they actually were.

It was even possible to warm to Maggot - in fact, we were watching him last night thinking "why did our heart sink when he appeared on the first programme?" when he mentioned how he hoped that being on the show would sell a few more Goldie Lookin' Chain records. We hope that when Davina asked him what he'd learned about himself during the programme that in his mind he was thinking "I can't actually say 'that my future is no longer in making 2006's answer to Rat Rappin', but it's time to see if there's more than one-fifth of a joke in me." If Chantelle's friends tell her that being on the TV has changed her, that would be a shame. If Maggot's bandmates don't tell him that it has, that would a tragic waste.

Preston, of course, has done pretty alright for himself out of the show - the re-released single is sitting in the Top Ten on the midweeks; the tour dates were pushed with a full-page ad in the NME this week, and it's hard to imagine the magazine would have been trailing an interview with "Preston from the Ordinary Boys" next week quite as enthusiastically as they are one with "Preston from Big Brother"; most astonishingly of all, though, he's become a one-name star. Like Madonna, Morrissey, or... alright, or Bez. But he's done it keeping his dignity almost entirely intact. If not his relationship, to judge by the way his girlfriend was looking at him when he was busily denying there was anything between him and Chantelle.

It's Pete Burns, though, who perhaps has got the most out of his time in the house, although - to judge by the weary response he gave to discovering You Spin Me Round is being released all over again - he might not be entirely sure that his shift from child-scarer through Cruella DeVille to a stand-in Queen Mother might be all he'd hope for. His hug, though, when reunited with his boyfriend was one of the warmest, loveliest, most genuine things we've seen on TV in ages - and that's not a thing you expect to be saying when Celeb Big Brother comes up in the listings guide.

God alone knows how the mess of broken relationships, things spoken that were best left unsaid, cringey cat impersonations and robotic dancing, arrested coats and ghosts of dead swimming pool boys will play out now the Endemol team is no longer around to smooth things over; and we guess we'll never know exactly what Barrymore was doing dressed up as a Frenchman shouting "ong-youngs" while Galloway was trying to read the Communist Manifesto. But for three weeks - briefly - Big Brother did pull itself a little away from the mobile-phone sponsored trip to Bedlam it's allowed itself to become. We couldn't have been more surprised if we'd heard Paris Hilton was trying to get work as a Chantelle Houghton lookalike.

CBB Posts start-to-finish:

Some people go into the Big Brother house
George Galloway gets some sleep
The government gets wrapped up in Pete Burns' coat
Big Brothers stars show a sales bounce
Jodie Marsh's parents complain their girl is being made to look stupid
What's Pete Burns' face worth?
Enter Jimmy Saville
Preston shares tales of his popped cherry
Hertfordshire police arrest Pete Burns' coat
Herts Police concede: it's a monkey, but it's no gorilla


elbuho said...

Glad to see someone else shared my guilty pleasure!

Anonymous said...

Well it's not difficult to become a one-name star when that name is "Preston". When someone becomes a one-name star with a name that is shared by somebody else in the Universe, then I'll be impressed.

Anonymous said...

There was a point last week when there were more Lib Dem leadership candidates coming out of the closet than there were celebs coming of the BB house.

After last night, I fully expect the Lib Dems to rise to teh challenge and have the all the remaining front-bench MPs to meet on Hampstead Heath some time soon.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - what about Prince? It's his real name and shared by quite a few royal people (and dogs but not royal dogs because that would be too confusing).

kim kardashian said...

Thank you, your article is very good

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