Whoop-whoop! Whoop-whoop! Yes, Celebrity Big Brother is back and every year those whoops seem to get a little more half-hearted as the celebrities become a little less recognisable. And yet, the biggest names have often been some of the least entertaining and I think this year’s mix of reality stars, glamour models and panto regulars could actually end up being kind of fun.
So in no particular order, here are some very early impressions of the new housemates…
Madonna. Cher. Biggins. Yes, the professional pantomime dame is now so well established that he’s entered the elite group of artists known by just a single power name. Always good value, Biggins seems a genuinely lovely guy, but he’s been playing the game for decades and will have no compunction about telling anyone who sounds off where to go. Of course, he has form in this area, having been crowned Queen – sorry, King – of the Jungle in 2007 for being his big beautiful self on I’m a Celebrity. He’s going to be great to watch and has to be an early favourite.
Stephen Bear hails from MTV’s slutty dating show Ex on the Beach – sort of a cut price Love Island (yes, really) whose only purpose seems to be grooming H-list celebs for shows like CBB. He clearly sees Biggins as a role model as he insists on calling himself simply Bear. He swaggered his way into the house on a carpet of F-bombs and at times looked mere inches from stage-diving into the crowd. On the surface he’s a bit of a dick but I couldn’t help thinking he might actually be pretty good value if he calms down a bit. I also couldn’t help thinking how entertaining it would be if they put a real bear into the house…
I was about to say that Marnie Simpson from Geordie Shore seemed really sweet but then I remembered she told us in the VT that she had “the nicest vagina in Newcastle” or something. I have no idea what the competition’s like but that was clearly a big enough claim to fame to get her on Celebrity Big Brother, so watch this space (or don’t).
Despite them living at other ends of the country, it sounds as if Marnie has some recent history with TOWIE’s Lewis Bloor. She certainly seemed eager to say hello when he arrived in the house and I felt a bit sorry for her as she kept waving at him from three rows back while he introduced himself to everyone else. Lewis is the one who looked like James Bond if he shopped at George at Asda, by the way. Despite his reputation as a bragging womaniser on the Essex reality show, he seemed nervous going in and was most concerned with waving to his mum in the crowd. Maybe he’s sweet at heart too.
Chloe Khan looks quite different from the days when she was the colour of David Dickinson’s armpit, wailing her way through a disastrous X Factor audition – these days she kind of gives the impression of an inflatable lilo with a couple of slow punctures. Seems nice though. Well, she did say something about hating ugly people. But other than that, seems really nice. Still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the moment when Renee Graziano, the former wife of a Mob boss, finds out Ms Khan sometimes goes by the name Chloe Mafia. Could be the first time we’ve ever had a horse’s head in one of the Big Brother beds.
Speaking of alter egos, if I told you there was a character on Celebrity Big Brother going by the name of Heavy D, you’d probably assume he was a US rapper. You probably wouldn’t assume he was famous for bidding for old tat in abandoned storage containers. But that’s why you need this guide. Storage Hunters’ Colin Newell, aka Heavy D, also has another, sort-of-superhero, persona – the Boominator. Like Spider-Man in his early years, the Boominator makes his own costumes – on launch night he was wearing a day-glo suit decorated with ice-cream cones – but while I really like his special power of being able to say the word “BOOM!” a lot, I don’t think he’s quite ready to join the X-Men.
Talking of ex men, Anthea Turner’s ex Grant Bovey seemed like a brainwashed religious zealot who’d finally been invited into the presence of his cult leader, saying with a glazed look “I’m about to go into the Big Brother house. Not many people get to do that” (missing the fact that the last series ended two days ago and this is already the second celebrity one this year).
Former Apprentice runner-up Saira Khan was known for her love of the spoken word even before she joined Loose Women, and she admits she has no filter, so together with pioneering Page 3 girl Sam Fox and Marnie “Vagina” Simpson I think she’ll help ensure this is a vintage year for candid sex talk, even by Big Brother’s high standards.
Aubrey O’Day, meanwhile, will fill the role of dishing the dirt on US celebs we sort-of-care-about-but-not-really – namely, Sean “Puffy” “Puff Daddy” “P Diddy” Combs, who turned her into a pop star in reality show Making the Band but then kicked her out when things got nasty.
Flaccid local radio “shock jock” James Whale will probably be this year’s Ken Morley, so the sound of Big Brother calling him into the Diary Room could become quite familiar.
And also inserted into the house for your viewing pleasure we have Ricky “Fatboy from EastEnders” Norwood, former X factor contestant Katie Waissel and Frankie Grande, half-brother of US singer Ariana, who dresses and sounds not unlike Willy Wonka but who has a rep for being kind of bitchy (not unlike Willy Wonka).
Phew! So there you have it, a whirlwind tour of this year’s Celebrity Big Brother housemates. Do with it what you will…