Big Brother has been winding up journalists this year in a big way.
Each year, interest in the summer series rises to fever pitch with tabloids and bloggers clamouring to find out about the housemates before the first night.
This year, Big Brother did something they’ve never done before: they gave the press unprecedented access to the housemates before the show has even started. But, being Big Brother, they threw in a bunch of red herrings. 70-something redherrings, in fact.
Let me tell you what happened.
I, and a bunch of other print and online journalists rolled up at Elstree Studios yesterday for this press event. “Get to meet and interview the Big Brother 2010 housemates before they go in the house!” What an opportunity! It quickly transpired that Big Bro wasn’t going to make things easy.
For a start, there were somewhere between 79 and 89 potential housemates for us to meet. And two hours to do it in. So how did the sadistic Big Brother publicists manage the event? They divided the journalists into three groups and ran it like a speed dating event. I’m not kidding. One minute to interview each candidate, questions to be shared between about five journalists.
And so, for close to two hours, an unrelenting stream of hopefuls: the totally vapid, the worryingly strange and the deceptively normal teemed past our table, were given a grilling about their personalities. Who were they? Why did they want to be on Big Brother? Would they play the dating game inside the house? How far would they go? Were they looking for fame and fortune?
Worryingly, the majority of answers were boringly typical. Here’s a stock interview with a potential Big Brother housemate:
Weary online hack: So, why d’you want to go on Big Brother then?
Starry-eyed hopeful: Ohhh…I just want to go in there for the experiment, to do something different. (If they’re really in touch with their inner hippy, they’d add that they want to ‘learn more about myself’.)
Hack: Are you hoping for a career in the media afterward then?
Hopeful: No…I just want to go in there and have fun. I’m not looking for a career out of it. (Some gentle prodding usually revealed that said candidate had done modelling work in the past…’I suppose it might help with that…’)
Hack: And if you get in the house, do you have a gameplan to win it?
Hopeful: No (smiles so you can see every last tooth in her head) I’m just going to go in there and be myself and win it with my personality.
Before you sigh and decide to forget about watching Big Brother this summer, let me tell you: there are some real diamond personalities among the vapid famewhores. Seriously. They’ve got nutters, celebrity lookalikes, dwarves, and some sexy as hell girls. They’ve also got some oversexed blokes to drool over the aforementioned honeys.
I’ll have a round-up of my pick of the potential housemates before the night is over, and Unreality Shout and Unreality TV’s Big Brother pages will have all the latest goss and opinion over the coming weeks.
P.S. You think sending the UK’s brightest and best showbiz journalists into speed-interviewing was bad? Last Friday, journalists doing a press tour of the new house were locked in and forced to do a task in which five of them had to eat hot chillies! I have it on good authority that one participant actually vomited! So look out for stains on the BB carpet on Wednesday night!