The Radio Times logo

While Celebrity Big Brother may no longer be with us, season 17 will live on forever

From Gemma Collins' tantrums to the confusion around David Bowie's death, CBB series 17 will forever be embedded in the British zeitgeist, says Lauren Morris.

Gemma Collins - Celebrity Big Brother
Published: Friday, 12th June 2020 at 7:29 pm

The Big Brother franchise turns 20 this year, and while both Big Brother and its Celebrity spin-off have been off our screens for two years, the two shows have provided us with some of the most talked about TV moments in history.


From Nikki Graham's 'who is she?' rant about fellow housemate Susie Verrico during Big Brother 7, to queen of clean Kim Woodburn calling Jamie O'Hara a "chicken-livered s**t" on Celebrity Big Brother's 17th series – these moments of TV gold are what drew in big audiences, with over ten million people watching Big Brother at its peak in 2002.

While the Big Brother franchise is no more, one series of its Celebrity edition will live on forever, both in our hearts and on the internet – series 17.

Series 17 may not have been the most dramatic series and it certainly wasn't the most controversial – CBB series five took that title –but it's line-up of the reality TV titans starred in some of the funniest and quotable moments in Big Brother and TV history. The 2016 series featured a smorgasbord of D-listers, from Geordie Shore's Scotty T and TOWIE's Gemma Collins, to producer David Gest and X Factor finalist Christopher Malone, all of whom were big personalities bound to cause drama.

One of the series best moments by far, when it comes to hilarious yet dark misunderstandings, involved US reality star Tiffany Polland and Angie Bowie, the ex-wife of late legendary musician David Bowie. In a scene described by Big Brother's first winner Craig Phillip as "TV gold", Angie confided in Tiffany after being informed of David Bowie's death, telling her that 'David's dead'. However, Tiffany wrongly believes that it is housemate David Gest who has passed and the house descends into panic and hysteria as a result.

The seven-minute scene, which has been viewed almost three million times on YouTube, plays out like a modern-day comedy of errors and is still cited as one of the reality franchise's most awkward moments, despite the tragic event which caused it.

If Tiffany Pollard's misunderstanding isn't enough to declare CBB 17 as the most superior series, lest we forget Megan McKenna's meltdown over mashed potato. During a challenge which required the housemates to eat gruel for dinner, the TOWIE star loses it and starts demanding for real food from Big Brother. "It's not even real f***ing potato, it's s**t!" she shouts whilst banging on the diary room door.

The pièce de résistance of the whole series however, has to be Gemma Collins. The reality star, who was evicted after day 29, was the highlight of series 17, constantly delivering meme-able quotes, bickering with the other housemates and acting like a total, utter diva.

From her performance of Big Spender alongside EastEnder's Danniella Westbrook, to her tantrum over taking part in challenges, the GC's outbursts are still quoted four years later – "I don't want to play anymore games, I'm all game'd out" has become the rallying cry of lockdown for many. Gemma Collins provided us with quotes for every occasion during her time in the Big Brother House – "I'm claustrophobic Darren!", "Get that fire exit door, I'm off" and "You're obsessed with me, and I love it," are just a few soundbites that she blessed us with on series 17.

With all of these iconic moments still floating throughout the Twitter-sphere as everyday memes, series 17 is sure to outlive Big Brother and go down as one of the best seasons in British television history.


Big Brother: Best Shows Ever airs on E4 from Sunday, 14th June at 9pm. To find out what else is on, check out our TV Guide.


Sponsored content