COUCH POTATO: Fear and Loathing in the Big Brother house

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OUR weekly web columnist on the highs and lows of the box:

Day 13. A fleeting moment of peace and harmony breaks out in the house.

At which point Lionel Blair declares: “I would never have met Dappy without Celebrity Big Brother.”

But it hasn’t all been bad.

In fact I’m calling it now.

CBB 13 is the greatest of them all, surpassing the George Galloway/Pete Burns/Michael Barrymore glory days of 2006.

The current crop is the most bitchy, back-stabbing, volatile set of individuals it’s ever been my pleasure to watch.

Just when it looks like the series has peaked... wham!

The next night trumps it.

So it was on Thursday when Jim Davidson reached the end of his tether over unremitting snipes from “a very angry and dangerous woman”, Linda Nolan, and detonated the “Frank Carson’s dressing room” IED.


The cryptic, barbed comment about her late husband’s theft conviction hit its mark, and the scenes that followed made the 1883 Krakatoa eruption look like a Roman candle, from Lidl’s bizarre aisle.

Not that we’ve had to rely on the Jim and Linda Show.

That bunch will argue with anyone over anything.

Contraband mascara. Chocolates. Tea-towel wetness. Hob rings.

One row settles and another takes its place, usually involving Luisa Zissman who held court with Jasmine Waltz, before her eviction on Wednesday, in their shared bed like a female version of BB5’s Jungle Cats.

Everyone, bar the two structured reality TV stars, has picked a fight.

It’s produced astonishing lines like: “If you punched my horse, I would stab you.”

Even the most well-intentioned comments backfire, like Liz Jones nominating Jasmine: “I look at her and I literally want to kill myself because she’s just so beautiful.”

Waltz: “You know my father committed suicide?”

The producers have squeezed the celebs’ pressure points at the perfect moments and pummelled their fragile self-esteem.

They’ve provided two of the best ever CBB tasks – Alien Invasion, with Lionel Blair conversing with a UFO via an “intergalactic space trumpet”, and the extraordinary 18-Rated Room.

As Ollie Locke said in genuine disgust watching Lionel Blair writhe around in black PVC and Lee from Blue pole-dancing in skinny latex trunks: “Ohh, that is really heinous. What’s just been seen cannot be unseen.”

Wrong on so many levels. Yet so right for CBB.

Lee Ryan has been the compound’s greatest asset.

Jasmine, his running-tap buddy (and yes, that is a euphemism), said: “I look at him and I see the perfect man.”

I look at him and I see an A-grade toss-chops who never grew up, absolves responsibility for his actions and is capable of deep musings: “You won’t fall in love as many times as you go to Nando’s.”

Then there’s N-Dubz berk Dappy, who’s felt unhappy, crappy, a happy chappy, and, as punishment, made to wear a nappy.

Which was snappy.

He told Big Brother: “I ain’t had an STD in my life. All I’ve had is a urine infection.”

Form an orderly queue, ladies.

Freshest in the memory, though, is the Frank Carson row which ended with Jim Davidson insisting: “I’m not having trial by telly.”

Oh. I think you are, Jimbo. You all are.

For entertaining the public. Guilty as charged.


This week’s Most Deluded Soap Character award goes to...

EastEnders’ Shirley, off to the hairdressers: “These good looks need maintaining.”

Maintaining, ripping out, replacing...


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Moriarty’s “Did you miss me?” post-credits tease on Sherlock.

EastEnders’ Danny Dyer becoming the most unlikely saviour in soap history. (There, I admit it.)

Vertigo sufferer Martin Offiah huffing and puffing, like an asthmatic Phil Mitchell, before a guttural yell of fright as he hurtled from the Splash! platform.

Harry Hill reminding us on The One Show how even the two worst X Factor series (2012 and 2013) could have been rescued by a TV Burp ribbing.

Sky1’s The Kumars knocking Jonathan Ross off the chat show podium.

And Daybreak’s Aled Jones to Antony Costa about Blue bandmate Lee Ryan on Celebrity Big Brother: “Do you think he’s committing career suicide?”

No. That was Eurovision, 2011.


The onions I was chopping got stronger as the week went on.

I was welling up on Monday, coincidentally when Hayley’s friends on Corrie rallied round, and wiping my eyes on Wednesday at the very moment Roy picked up his frail wife.

By Friday the tears rolled, which just happened to be as she said her goodbyes from a wheelchair.

So I’ll probably get a takeaway tomorrow night for her final scenes.

Can’t risk those onions again.


House of Fools. Not only a new show but an apt description of the channel that axed Shooting Stars at its peak.

And yet the very same BBC2 that’s made amends with Vic and Bob’s first sitcom, which immediately allayed my fears they’d replicate their woeful short sketches.

Not a bit. They’ve ripped up the sitcom rulebook, thrown in singing, hired show-stealer Matt Berry and name-checked a TV channel I wish exists, Psychic Cutlery.

It’s very, very funny.

Your move, Mrs Brown’s Boys.


Ski Sunday’s Ed Leigh: “You can see the full Winter Olympics trailer just before Sherlock on BBC1 tonight. It’s not far away and I for one am officially excited.”

Why? It’s only Sherlock. Moriarty’s return or no Moriarty’s return.


Warehouse crooner Bob Blakeley puts his all into Cry Me A River, the mad hands tic-tac version, and Tom Jones suggests turning pro: “You should be singing all over the place.”

Like the other contestants on a much weaker The Voice last night.

All over the place, they were – Jamie Johnson, Mairead Conlon making Purple Rain a monsoon and Jimmy Weston who’s “not living for the paintbrush”.

Everyone but turned to all three, which had me and him saying: “I don’t know what they’re hearing.”

And he told Lewis Clay: “There was a consistent flatness.”

The middle hour of the 80-minute episode, to be precise.


BBC3’s Uncle.

I suggest a trial separation, Auntie.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

C4 kidding itself that Benefits Street isn’t a cleverly edited, skewed docu.

The self-appointed censors who’d ban Benefits Street but wouldn’t be on their high horse if it was named simply James Turner Street.

EastEnders’ Shabnam returning from Pakistan an extremist with a different head, plus the unwelcome addition of Trumpet Sonia’s musical offspring.

The disappointment Gabby Logan was only joking with: “Release the sharks!” on Splash!

Baby Face Brides’ apostrophe abusing caption: “Alan Jackman: Gentlemans’ outfitter.”

And This Morning, a rudderless ship with Dermot O’Leary at the helm, crashing into the rocks when a couple who drink their own urine were invited to down the hatch on daytime TV.

ITV are taking the pee.