The worst thing that could happen in the Celebrity Big Brother
house, according to Brian Dowling, is another Shilpa Shetty/Jade
Goody style face-off. Closely behind the top spot on the
Must-Never-Happen list is a toe-sucking orgy in the lavish house
bedroom initiated by The Duchess of York. Her Royal Naffness may or
may not be a guest in the house on Big Brother whatever-
number-it-is this year. Brian says he doesn't know but the word at
today's press launch was that most of those who have been, er,
'rumoured' are pretty likely to be gracing the house with their
presence. That list includes a bunch of people I've heard of but
have no idea why. People like Tara Reid. Oh and Kerry Katona. I
texted my girlfriend to ask her to remind me why she was famous and
this is was her reply: 'She's famous for dating the wrong men and
taking drugs babe.'
Why are you even reading about Big Brother? Wasn't it supposed
to die along with the Ultimate version that appeared on our TV
screens last year on C4? Richard Desmond didn't think so. He loved
it so much, he bought the rights and now he'll be channelling it
through every media portal he owns for the next goodness knows how
Anyway, on to the interesting stuff.
The BB house is located at Elstree studios. That's one of Steven
Spielberg's favourite English locations, film fans. I can't
guarantee that what we'll be seeing from BB will be quite as epic
as, say Godfathers but that depends on whether Jane Bercow and Her
Royal Naffness decide to raise the Sapphic bar currently and rather
improbably set by George Galloway. I'm not going to spell it out
for you. Actually that would probably have Brian Dowling running to
BB Alpha-And-Omega Davina for advice; a service that she has
already kindly agreed to supply.
'Davina's told me just to have fun and not worry too much,' says
the trim and suavely-groomed presenter.
Will he be drinking to stay awake someone asks him?
'No, the last time I did that I was drinking whiskey and I fell
asleep on my date's shoulder,' he laughs.
I decide to chat to Brian Belo from BB7 or 8. He can't remember.
Brian hasn't had to do a proper day's work since his last
appearance BB. He just gets invited by nightclubs and
party-organisers to go and get drunk with members of the public.
Sometimes corporate businesses invite him to take part in a staff
bonding day. I want to work for one of those companies. Actually I
think I want to be Brian. Or builder Craig Philips who won the
first ever BB and who showed me a nice photo of the listed Georgian
building he's currently living in and renovating in Liverpool.
Eventually, after watching and talking to a surprisingly nice young
man from ZOO magazine who's eating some Ukrainian meatballs, we
head up to the house and wander around the diary room (see
It looks much as you'd expect: like a selection of Ikea room
installations except the fixtures and fittings aren't labelled
'GARKASKD' or 'BRAG' and there's no one here apart from a bunch of
nosy journos. It has the air of Ikea on a weekday just after
closing time. There's a fancy gym (for the celebrities - it will be
removed for the civilian batch of house mates, we're told) and a
bath in the centre of the washroom area that will be perfect for
any exhibitionists in the house. The swimming pool outdoors is
Lilliputian but I wouldn't say no if it was the only water feature
I could afford in my back garden. It's all a bit surreal, as no
doubt the next few weeks will be for its residents.
The celebrity version of Big Brother starts on Channel 5
this week, with the launch episode airing at 21.00 on Thursday 18