Shednotes 11: On Celebrity Big Brother 2014

In the interests of broadening The Shed’s cultural knowledge, and because there was nothing much else on for a bit, our tv panel watched most of the latest series of Celebrity Big Brother – intrigued by a line-up which included boxer Audley Harrison; the former boxing promoter Frank Maloney, lately relaunched as Kellie, a tranny you wouldn’t want to meet in an alley; George Gilbey, only son of Linda and Pete of Clacton, on Gogglebox; White Dee from Benefits Street; James Jordan, a strutting bantam recently dropped from the professional team of Strictly Come Dancing; and Gary Busey, an actor best known for his portrayals of a shambling nutter.
Busey is a Texas boay who has become, through Hollywood, a couple of marriages, a bad motorbike accident and cancer, an odd mix of lunk and luvvie, given to spitting in the sink and coining cosmic wisdom. Every now and then, he looked for a flash like the part he normally played – a dangerous yokel who would tear your head off if teased any further. And there were deserving candidates all around. But then he would shake his head, remind himself of the civilised behaviour lessons he has been struggling to take in for 70 years and turn his snarl into a brilliant Hollywood smile. He ended up champion of the latest trial by flat-share, with Audley Harrison his runner-up.
Both of them were traps for the other contestants. The Shed and the general public found the eccentric actor’s struggle to be loved rather engaging and the boxer, who was kind to him, a rare example of real man and proper gent. And their rivals paid for their failure to appreciate either of them properly .
First to be evicted was Leslie Jordan, a snarky little queen, less than five foot tall, who went down well playing a part close to his real personage in the tv series Will & Grace. At first, he went down well playing it again but Busey’s shambling sloppiness and other common behaviour in The House sent him over the top once too often. “My people still love me,” he told the Big Brother camera mournfully, as it became clear that the British public no longer did. But probably he has never shrieked at them like he did at us.
Kellie Maloney, who looked like the late telly tec Taggart in drag, also started off a favourite but blew it by getting quite unreasonably upset at Audley Harrison’s mild confession of some difficulty in accepting that the geezer who once managed Lennox Lewis had become, in the blink of an eye, a blonde poppet entitled to hang around the girls’ bath.
Brummie Dee stood a chance of coming through on the strength of her salt of the earth saltiness but got flattered into joining the wrong side and paid the price for going all prima donna over the slightest of slights from Harrison and Busey.
Gogglebox George, sweetly gormless but sharp enough to be amusing, got overwhelmed by the opportunities for flirting and went down for being a two-timing but ultimately ineffectual rat, along with a handful of other reality tv faces and an Irish singer who had apparently had the lines of various neuroses ironed out of her brow with Botox but still oozed suppressed tragedy.
That left dancer James, a poisonous mix of impregnable vanity and back-stabbing ambition, to lead the last of the fight against the turning of the tide. The nation’s prayers went unanswered when he more or less challenged Harrison to a punch-up and his impersonation of a straight-talking laddo fooled enough people to get him through to the final three. But to his obvious amazement, he got the biggest boo of the lot when he came out of The House to meet the crowd. They must have loved it over at Strictly.

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