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Big Brother

Nicola Mostyn wonders whether Sylvia has ever watched the show

Published on June 23rd 2008.

Big Brother

So Alex has gone. I am loathe to credit the baying Big Brother audience with sophisticated levels of judgement, but they knew from day one she was a wrong-un. They booed her as she went in and, within a matter of days she’d justified every heckle with her bullying and all round evil behaviour. After repeated warnings, things finally came to a head on Friday when Alex indirectly threatened fellow housemate Rex with the full might of her gangster posse.

“After repeated warnings, things finally came to a head on Friday when Alex indirectly threatened fellow housemate Rex with the full might of her gangster posse.”

I don’t know what was worse, listening to Alex’s cringable attempts at intimidation, or watching her scarily convincing reaction in the diary room as she claimed that, far from issuing threats, she meant that she was going to find the housemates’ families and give them a big hug. Pow, pow, pow indeed.

With Alex gone, the fracas has to find a new place to settle. Happily, there are no shortage of irritants.

There’s Luke: a DVD commentary you can’t turn off, in the voice of George Formby.

Then there’s two headed beast, Lisa and Mario (Lima), the couple you absolutely wouldn’t want to get trapped next door to on an all-inclusive holiday.

“I manage people for a living,” says Mario, at every available opportunity. “I’ll just facilitate, not manage,” he says of the opening of a can of beans.

“We met on ebay, I bought a crystal ball off him,” said Lisa, as though it was the most natural thing in the world. Lisa is like a dead-eyed footballer’s wife, though, being with Mario, I’d probably develop that thousand yard stare too. The pair are clearly made for each other, though, which means we have to endure them licking each other’s tongues, squeezing each others pores and, recently, Mario sponging down Lisa’s buttocks like she was a Vauxhall Nova. Somebody please make it stop.

Then there’s Mikey. You knew something was different about Mikey when he entered the house in a poncho. True enough, he’s not quite like the other housemates. He’s blind. At least this means he’s spared the sight of Lima’s nauseating pawings.


Alas, he isn’t spared their sympathy, which borders on, and then tips over into, insulting. “His life must be a living hell at the best of times,” said Lisa sensitively, whilst her beefcake partner allocated the thirty-something radio producer a triangle in the musical task.

Actually, Mikey stands out in the house not because he’s sightless, not even because of that eerie haircut, but because he’s a bit of a curmudgeon. And that voice. Forget endurance karaoke, get everyone in a booth listening to Mikey speak. I give them five minutes, tops, before they start poking out their brains with unravelled coat hangers.


Actually, that could easily happen anyway, since there’s more than a whiff of Lord of the Flies about Big Brother, with hysterical behaviour very quickly becoming the norm. Think we humans are a sophisticated species? One look at the housemates when they win food/hear music/are handed a bucket of diluted alcopops rapidly puts paid to such grandiose illusions, as they’re sent into a frothing, frottaging, eye-rolling frenzy. And what was that silent dancing last week all about? Gave me nightmares, that did.

Speaking of silence, or lack thereof, Sylvia has been keeping Mikey awake with her big gob. “I’ve come in here so I can do what I want,” she ranted, having apparently missed the entire point of the Big Brother house.

“The bores are taking over,” complained Dennis, of whom I haven’t yet formed a strong opinion except to say that the way he had his socks rolled part-way off in his audition tape made me feel violated. Anyone else feel that? Just me? Okay then.

Then there’s Dale - don’t hate me because I’m beautiful – Howard, in tears on Friday night at the thought of being evicted for being such a hottie. He wasn’t evicted, of course. Just ousted from his position as house eye-candy as Stuart from Manchester strolled through the door all (alleged) eyeliner, facial hair and sensitive single dad-dom, destined - or so Big Brother producers sincerely hope - to challenge Dale’s budding romance with Geordie Jennifer.

If Dale was stunned, the girls were agog. “I’ve just come out of the toilet,” said the “obnoxiously happy” Rachel as she shook his hand, clearly having read the wrong books on how to chat up men.

“We’ve got a man!” chanted Sylvia, which must have made the other guys - let’s call them half-men – feel wonderful. And after Dale heroically smashed that piece of wood the size of a crisp-bread, too.

It’s around now that the house will begin cracking up. The conspiracy theories have already started. The alpha males are bristling. And Sylvia is falling hard for Stuart, to the point where she’s starting to doubt her relationship with her boyfriend on the outside world.

Erm, hello Sylvia, have you never seen the show? Can I just bring your attention to Chantelle and Preston? Nicky and Pete? Ziggy and Chanelle? Don’t you realise that, after a few weeks in the house, you’d develop a crush on a pepper grinder? No. You don’t. Because you’re an idiot.

A final word has to go to Kat. While the other housemates are all variations on arseholes we’ve met in our lives, Kathreya is like nobody I’ve ever seen before. It’s like she’s been created with CGI.

I’m hoping she has a dark side. If she does, chances are it will emerge when she finds out the housemates have been hiding cookies. Don’t make her hungry. You won’t like her when she’s hungry.

Big Brother, Channel 4, 9pm

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19 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

KellyJune 23rd 2008.

This is the first series of BB I've ever watched, and I am not entirely ashamed to say that I am completely hooked. Even though most of them are idiots, it's still interesting to see how humans interact (or don't) when confined to a few rooms with minimal entertainment. I think the point of the show is actually rather sinister, and can very well be compared to Lord of the Flies. Personally, I'd strangle Sylvia and exchange her for some earplug tokens.

little nellJune 23rd 2008.

Wayne - O'Leary could pull in viewers and that's what mass market tv is about

alJune 23rd 2008.

Absolutely brilliant roundup!! Couldn't agree more! Please please, more of the same! For the first time in a while they've got it right at big brother. My favourite bit was after five of the house mates had had to sing "total eclipse of the heart" on loop for 24 hours, they then cashed in one of their hard earned record tockens and the song big brother put on for them????......Total eclipse of the heart! Genius!

little nellJune 23rd 2008.

And BBLB and BB'sBM have both taken a dive since the departures of Dermot O'Leary and Russell Brand. This season's sorry procession of would-be replacements only serve to highlight the strengfth of the much mourned originals.

WayneJune 23rd 2008.

Little Nell, are you mad. Dermot O'Leary was good? Excuse me, what has he ever done that deserves praise. Brand is fabulous, got real talent, all Dermot can do is mouth platitudes. He's the reason why the West is going to the dogs. Him. Just him alone. Or rather anybody who thinks that being asinine is better than having substance.

Mark McBreartyJune 23rd 2008.

Heh Jinkie, totally agree with you.. This is complete durge TV and should just be taken off air. Please folks, less of this mind numbing rubbish.

JinkiesJune 23rd 2008.

Lol Lo-Lo, no need to take my comments so personally. We all need something to do whilst whiling away hours in an office don't we? Thanks for agreeing with the Esher simile though, but I wonder if you'd tell animal rights protesters to shut up and just avoid the subject that riles them for the same reason? Nah didn't think so. Regardless, I'm pretty sure comment threads around the world would be dull dull dull dull if people only commented on articles to agree with whatever was written. It'd make everything bland, like your comment. Lucky last time I looked there was plenty more to Confidential than people that like Big bother, so I think i'll keep looking at the site. Toodle pip :)

AlJune 23rd 2008.

Nicola: great article :)little nell: you're right, BB1 was the only genuine reality show because they didn't think anyone was watching, but that innocence can never be recaptured so we have to settle for the attention whoring bitch-fest it's turned into. I don't care who wants to get on who - can watch that in any bar on any Saturday night. It's far more interesting to watch people adapt to others and be changed by the experience. Luke FTW!

squirrelitoJune 23rd 2008.

Brilliant piece Nicola with some genuine laugh-out-loud observations. This year's incarnation of BB is the most barking ever. Great, great fun.

little nellJune 23rd 2008.

Big Brother1 was television perfection. It has now reached a point where Endemol have taken their beautifully simple idea and complicated it out of all recognition.

Lo-LoJune 23rd 2008.

Dear Jinkies,Mentioning Escher does not take away the fact that you've clearly read an article on, and then taken the time to comment on, something 'a bit sad'. Stop looking at sites on the Internet you don't even like and go and do something real.

SharonJune 23rd 2008.

Is Nicola Mostyn now the best writer on TV in the North of England? This is a superb piece.

wombatJune 23rd 2008.

As per the recent exposé on BBLB: Luke really is Frank Sidebottom's love child!Checkout the voice on www.youtube.com/watch?v=liPgBCT7kKsTime… to 'fess up' Mr Sievey!

CharlotteJune 23rd 2008.

I agree with Nicola, Sylvia must not know there is about 60 cameras watching her and 600000 people watching them .....

GezzabelleJune 23rd 2008.

Oh my god! Its like you've gone into my brain and taken the thoughts out of there and published them on Manchester Confidential! Totally agree with everything you've said on here. I am loving Big Bro this year because they are all such a bunch of idiots!

little n ellJune 23rd 2008.

Luke is a reincarnation of Kenneth Williams doomed to imitate George Formby

little nellJune 23rd 2008.

And then again Wayne, you are obviously not a woman or, come to that, a gay man. Yes, dear little Dermot may be all the things you say but he is also something else - he is HOT

JinkiesJune 23rd 2008.

Yawn. Bigbrother has got to be the lowest form of television, it's like being sucked into a particularly horrific Escher painting, with people sat around doing nothing with their lives watching other people sat around doing nothing with their lives talking about the people outside doing nothing with their lives. I used to really hate the show, these days I can't seem to conjur up enough interest to be annoyed any more. Now I just find the people that are into it a bit sad. Go outside, do something real.

JazzfunksoulJune 23rd 2008.

Well said Jinkies. Couldn't agree more. Tho I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with the Escher analogy. I've always kinda liked the idea of travelling into one of his paintings...

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