Celebrity Big Brother: the best housemates of all time

Who could forget Chantelle Houghton, Pete Burns, George Galloway and Jackie Stallone? They all feature amongst the most memorable contestants of the last ten series...

Jackie Stallone


Everyone remembers the moment when Sylvester Stallone’s mother Jackie entered the Big Brother house in series three with lips so pumped with silicone she literally couldn’t utter her own name. “Jackie?” No, “Brackie”.  Sly’s ex-wife Brigitte Nielsen was the only one to recognise the 83-year-old who entered under the guise of the house’s “Queen Mother” and was greeted by a row of expectant “courtiers”.  The pair – who hadn’t spoken since Nielsen’s divorce – made peace during their time in the house, but Jackie has gone down in CBB history for her memorable appearance and glazed demeanour.

Shilpa Shetty

What do you do when you are stuck in the CBB house, under verbal attack from a team of three bullies? You soldier on and win the thing, that’s what. Bollywood princess Shilpa Shetty did just that when she graced Channel 4’s digs for the fifth series alongside Jade Goody, Jo O’Meara and Danielle O’Hara who were publicly decried for their racist taunting of Shetty. To her credit, the actress upheld her dignity throughout and gained the support of the public who duly voted for her in their masses. Here’s their infamous row over an Oxo cube – yes, really… (warning: Jade lets slip some indecent language in this clip)

Les Dennis

A good friend of Les Dennis might have tipped him off ahead of his CBB appearance that being filmed 24/7 in the midst of a marriage breakdown was perhaps not the best idea. Poor old Les, whose partnership with spouse Amanda Holden was hitting the skids when he took part in series two, did, however, make for excellent viewing. The usually affable presenter was captured on camera sharing his life problems with the chickens in the garden. But his strange behaviour did little to dent his popularity as he was eventually voted into second place by a pitying public, losing out to Take That star Mark Owen.

George Galloway

Nadine Dorries should have taken note of George Galloway’s CBB public humiliation ahead of her ill-advised appearance on last year’s I’m a Celebrity. If she had she’d have learnt the valuable lesson that MPs should never appear on reality television. In perhaps the most infamous moment in Celebrity Big Brother history, series four contestant and Respect Party MP George engaged in a spot of role-play with fellow housemate Rula Lenska. He plays the cat and she plays the owner. There’s ample back stroking and lip licking to be witnessed in the video below – beware, you have been warned…

John McCririck

Long before E.L. James came on the scene, be-whiskered racing pundit John McCririck gave the British public its first look at fifty shades of grey when he spent most of his time in the Big Brother house slobbing around in his enormous (and rather old) y-fronts. As if that wasn’t unappealing enough, he could also be seen spending inordinate amounts of airtime picking his nose and booming out his positively Jurassic political views.  But we were finally granted a reprieve when John was denied his regular supply of Diet Coke by Big Brother, an action that resulted in the Womble-esque windbag embarking on a three-day vow of silence in protest. Result!

Vanessa Feltz

As one of six contestants in the first ever Celebrity Big Brother, poor Vanessa Feltz didn’t fare well… That very first series was all in aid of Comic Relief and Vanessa only lasted four days, but that didn’t stop her losing her cool. Once she’d found out she was nominated for eviction she donned a pair of dark glasses, started shouting obscenities at Big Brother and scrawled words including “incarcerated”, “frustrated” and “disparate” in chalk on the dining room table. See Vanessa mid-breakdown here…

Chantelle Houghton

You’d be forgiven for forgetting she was ever in Big Brother – her media career is currently somewhat overshadowed by sex dungeons and her split from Alex Reid – but Chantelle earns her place in our list for being the first and only winner of Celebrity Big Brother who was in fact not a celebrity. The former promotions girl and Katie Price wannabe entered the 2006 CBB house with the task of convincing her fellow housemates that she was a member of a fictional girl band called Kandy Floss. The deal was that she would be evicted if anyone suspected her – but the bubbly blonde not only convinced her housemates, she went on to win the show. As the nation fell in love with the cheeky Essex girl, she fell for fellow housemate Preston. He may have been in a relationship at the time, but that didn’t stop the public rooting for them. If only it’d worked out, eh?

Michael Barrymore

If ever Celebrity Big Brother killed a career it was Michael Barrymore’s.  Watching the comedian and TV presenter was akin to a slow-motion car crash as he suffered repeated breakdowns in series four. His appearance on the show was initially treated as a comeback, following the discovery of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock who was found drowned in Barrymore’s swimming pool in 2001. But his volatile clashes with Jodie Marsh, Dennis Rodman and George Galloway and famously strange behaviour meant he retreated back into obscurity following his second place finish behind “non-celebrity” Chantelle Houghton. Here he is rowing with Dennis…


Pete Burns

Series four may be best remembered for its blossoming romance between Chantelle and Preston, but it also gave us Pete Burns – the plump-lipped, bleach-haired, straight-talking former lead singer of eighties band Dead Or Alive. He proceeded to let rip at fellow housemates Jodie Marsh and Traci Bingham, before spinning the police Right Round by claiming his coat was made from gorilla fur – a statement investigated by the Met while he was in the house. Here he is unleashing his unsavoury verbal repertoire on poor Traci…



Love or hate them, you can’t deny John and Edward make for entertaining telly – and these spiky-haired tuneless ex-X Factor contestants were made for the Big Brother house. From getting vajazzled by Amy Childs to styling Tara Reid’s hair via being taught how to shave and dressing up as babies, the eccentric twins’ time in the house was a string of brilliant BB moments. The identical Irish boys brightened up series eight, coming in third behind My Big Fat Gypsy wedding star Paddy Doherty and Kerry Katona.