Big Brother first night

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Ye Gods, what a freak show. Last year was dull, so this year they’ve over-compensated. A good mix of contestants would mostly comprise of interesting but normal people, with a few more abrasive types who would provide the grit in the oyster.

This year they’ve just gone almost entirely for grit.

The start of Big Brother always brings tension in the household here: I love it, Beloved Other Half thinks it’s sick. This year, for the first time, I was actually embarrassed to be watching it. She was in another room, watching Newsnight.

A lot of what they’ve done with the house is appalling – the bathroom arrangements, the forced bed-shares. And the mix of contestants stinks.

But anyway, just as last year here’s Random’s guide to the runners and riders.

Ahmed
Got to admire BB’s class in putting an unashamed homophobe in a house like this. None of the ‘is he – isn’t he’ musings we had last year with Cameron. He’s not the loudest but he’ll be one of the most dogmatic. Could be the first eviction if he’s unlucky, otherwise he’ll survive while the easy targets are picked off first.
Why he’ll cause arguments:
Ahmed’s 44 and been through a lot – he’s likely to reckon age and experience gives him authority and the right to be listened to. Oh, and he’s got to share a bedroom with some very suspect types…
Best hope of winning:
Keeping his mouth shut and becoming a father figure, a bit of calmness among the lunatics.
Chances of winning:
Slim. Very slim.

Daniel
This one’s gone in with an exaggerated sense of his own abilities and is probably even now thinking ‘Jesus fuck, what have I got into?’. That hat screamed “I am an intelligent, creative, unique individual and you couldn’t possibly hope to understand me – but I know all about you already”. It’s going to be fun watching him flounder.
Why he’ll cause arguments:
An innate sense of superiority in a house full of people who also think they’re the dog’s bollocks.
Best hope of winning:
Adapting FAST (like in the next 24 hours) and starting from scratch.
Chances of winning:
Not bad, if he can present himself as the only one who’s not a) mad or b) dumb. One hint of smugness and he’s toast, though.

Emma
Hold onto your hats, it’s the return of Helen. There has to be more to her than just her dumbness, but you wouldn’t guess it from tonight. So maybe there isn’t. That unfortunate accent won’t help but she may just turn into the housemate that everyone loves.
Why she’ll cause arguments:
She’ll frustrate the clever ones.
Best hope of winning:
By being normal. She’s already the fan favourite, according to the BB website.
Chances of winning:
Pretty good.

Jason
No-one could be that narcissistic – could they? It’s possible this may be the most shallow man in Britain, but then it’s also possible this may be the cleverest. If he settles down after this, er, memorable start and starts to behave with some integrity he could go far.
Why he’ll cause arguments:
He’s a prat. Or if he’s not, he acts like one.
Best hope of winning:
Finding the correct balance between showmanship and sincerity.
Chances of winning:
Not good on the face of it, but he could be a dark horse.

Kitten
Davina’s not the only one wondering why Kitten entered BB. She seems to be against everything it stands for, so what’s her game – smashing the system from within? Kitten’s likely to be the firework of the house – explosive and short-lived.
Why she’ll cause arguments:
She’s a walking argument. She’s probably started one already over the sleeping arrangements and another over the bathroom.
Best hope of winning:
It’s a long shot, but she may just do a Jonny Rotten – win support by so obviously not playing along with it.
Chances of winning:
Pretty damn slim. She’s far more likely to walk before the first 72 hours are over.

Marco
And to think, when he entered I thought he was going to be the house weirdo. Marco will put some people’s backs up with his mannerisms but others will love him. He’s got a very good chance of being the safe, sweet one – it didn’t do Brian any harm in BB2, did it?
Why he’ll cause arguments:
He’s loud and he grates… but he’ll also inspire some people to defend him staunchly.
Best hope of winning:
By combining artlessness and comedy value and just a bit of delicious bitchiness.
Chances of winning:
High, I think.

Michelle
Which one was she again? Oh yes, the dull one. She’s likely to be VERY LOUD INDEED in order to show she’s mad and up for it and to not disappear in the crowd. It won’t fool anyone, and she will. Could last a while, though, because there’ll be plenty of others ahead of her in the queue to be nominated.
Why she’ll cause arguments:
Wants to be a glamour model and likes porn? She’s not exactly going to see eye-to-eye with Kitten, is she?
Best hope of winning:
Revealing hidden depths.
Chances of winning:
Well, I don’t know – but I’d be bloody surprised.

Nadia
Let’s ignore the bit about being a post-operative transsexual shall we, because I don’t actually think it’ll have too much effect (unless she shags Jason before telling him). What will be a factor, I think, is the indefinable air of smugness that she carries – she’s a bit too pleased with what she’s become, and it will put people’s backs up.
Why she’ll cause arguments:
Apart from the obvious, she apparently refused to take part in all the exercises during the selection process. Try that during a task and see how popular she is.
Best hope of winning:
Just being one of the girls – sanity among the madness.
Chances of winning:
Middling. Not an obvious favourite, but there are longer shots too.

Shell
Did she actually say the house needed someone nice? Oh, the comedy. But don’t be fooled into thinking she’s a soft touch – these nice middle class History of Art girls often have an iron streak in them. Even on the first programme, she seemed to have teamed up with Marco – nothing like quickly finding allies, eh?
Why she’ll cause arguments:
Who knows, maybe she won’t. But she could equally be like the old joke about women drivers – never been in an accident but seen lots.
Best hope of winning:
Nice guys don’t always come last, even in BB. But she needs to carve out a distinct identity early or be lost in the crowd.
Chances of winning:
Unlikely – will probably be sacrificed in the last few cuts.

Stuart
Was it my imagination, or was he auditioning for ‘most dull man in Britain’? Another one who’s probably now sitting there thinking ‘am I the only normal one here’, he probably fancies his chances right now. His mates call themselves ‘team handsome’ but nothing is a bigger turn-off than being good looking and knowing it.
Why he’ll cause arguments:
Another one who reckons himself – he was head boy at school, damn it – and won’t appreciate being one of the herd.
Best hope of winning:
If he’s the one who loses the first task and never gets his suitcase it’ll similtaneously win him sympathy and give the self-love a knock.
Chances of winning:
Fair to middling. No higher.

Vanessa
Could be a strong candidate – not a shrinking violet but not a lunatic either, not unattractive, but not obviously self-obsessed. Likely to be able to stand up for herself – no-one gets to be national champion at anything by sitting on the sideline. What’s not yet known is how many sharp edges she has.
Why she’ll cause arguments:
Won’t be bossed about by anyone.
Best hope of winning:
By remaining distinctive without overdoing it.
Chances of winning:
High – but more, I think, because at this stage there’s no one obvious winner and she just looks like one of the best of the field.

Victor
Oh dear – another one who thinks he’s where it’s at. Actually, he more than most might be able to mix self-confidence with not antagonising the viewers. But black contestants do very badly in BB eviction votes (Ray Shah excepted, but most people mentally filed him as Irish instead), so he may be an early casualty since he’ll certainly cause a few rows.
Why he’ll cause arguments:
He says he’s like Marmite – love him or hate him – and there’ll be a few who do the latter.
Best hope of winning:
Being lucky in who he’s up against in the early eviction votes and then impressing when it gets quieter.
Chances of winning:
If he can neutralise the race thing then his chances are good. But he’ll do well to do that.

My prediction? I’m going to chance my arm and say Jason (despite the posing pouch, not because of it). Who do I want to win? Kitten, of course.

And last year it was the one I wanted to win who triumphed, not the one who I thought would…

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