Celebrity Big Brother review: Not even Sharon Osbourne and a Traitor-style twist can revive this dead format

Celebrity Big Brother review: Not even Sharon Osbourne and a Traitor-style twist can revive this dead format

I keep reading that conventional TVs are dying on the back side. Watching Celebrity Big Brother, I realize not only is this true, but it is actually in the process of being buried alive, channel by channel, slab by slab, viewer by viewer. The reality show was revived after six years in cryogenic storage, and rather unsuccessfully. “Live Launch” feels like it still has a hint of rigor mortis in it. The ‘celebrities’ in question, most of whom aren’t even household names in their own kitchens, do their best to look elated and ever so ‘excited’ – that word comes up a lot – but too often they look like Frankenstein’s monster rising from the slab , when they try to prove it.

As the parent Big Brother myself, CBB moved from Channel 4, where it somehow fit in as an innovation, to mainstream ITV, where it somehow feels out of place. I’m afraid it’s going to be a failed organ transplant, rejected by both the host and the audience.

In the interests of ITV, they’ve thrown all their creative energy into this dying format, which unfortunately means they’ve rather lazily robbed two credible stars and some of the structure from another show of theirs. Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne are included to ‘judge’ each other CBB roommates watching them from a separate boudoir as if they were in a voyeuristic version of The X factor. Not content with this feeble attempt at novelty, they also turned Louis and Sharon into secret ‘spies’ roommates – as in the hit BBC show Traitors. Or something like that – shamefully ill thought out. They are asked, after no more than a few minutes of exposure to the housemates, most of whom don’t recognize which contestants they want to put into a “ring of fire” for a public vote. This is all a bit illogical; everyone tries too hard; and it’s a mess.

The Big Brother The house itself, carried over from the original series, has been redone quite richly, albeit flashily, and seems less claustrophobic than the original, which may not be a good thing – the proximity is much more conducive to celebrity rubs. The hosts, AJ Odudu and Will Best, are nice enough, but not yet in Davina McCall’s class. AJ looks like a laugh, and if her crimson costume wasn’t some kind of homage to George Galloway’s classic cat routine with Rula Lenska, then it should have been. Of course, George, by a strange coincidence, re-enters another House, the House of Commons, where he seems likely to be expelled at the first opportunity. Catsuit or not.

And the celebrities? Most of the time, they don’t seem all that compelling, with the notable exception of a boy named David Potts, who is like a young Christopher Biggins, but a little less reserved. Potts turned up in an evening jacket with his budgie smugglers and I have to say he looked like he’d shaved his legs. As he bobbed up and down with the joy of meeting sauce magnate Levi Roots, Potts’ “fruits and vegetables” dangled out front, as Sharon notes, barely raising an eyebrow. Well, she’s seen an awful lot in her day, hasn’t she?

After his genital gaffe, the judges took an instant dislike to Potts, which may actually be of his own making (although he really should get a pair of jockey shorts if he’s going to get into the habit of rummaging around without his pants on). Lacking any searing insights, Sharon and Lewis also formed the opinion that dancer Nikita Kuzmin was “pretty”; exIsland of love the winner Ekin-Su Cücülogu is “on everything”; Fern Britton is a “professional”; Marisha Wallace is a Broadway and West End singer; and Colson Smith has “big ears” – brief observations but no particular added value.

They don’t have much idea who Gary Goldsmith is, but he very well does. He grandly presents himself as “the uncle of the next Queen of England,” and indeed he is. No doubt Goldsmith is there to give us some royal gossip, but all he’ll say so far about Kate is that she can watch the show “on a nice couch in a nice house… or behind the couch.” I don’t think I’m watching Uncle Gary CBB will be a very effective way for HRH to recover from her tummy tuck. It certainly doesn’t reflect very well on ITV or the rest of us.

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