Raise a cheer for the return of Celebrity Big Brother. The nation needs an inconsequential, low rent guilty secret to divert it in a summer, which so far has been denied a traditional silly season.
Riots and plunging stock markets are only the latest setbacks turning 2011 into a year to forget. So thank goodness CBB has been revived on Richard Desmond’s newly acquired Channel 5 - after Channel 4 dumped the show as old hat.
A new house – with plenty of scope for eye candy housemates to flash the flesh in both swimming pool and sauna – a new presenter in Brian Dowling but the same old D-List selection of celebrities.
Fittingly the introductions to the new dawn opened with Kerry Katona and ended with the Jedward twins.
Despite the rumours no Charlie Sheen, no Mike Tyson, no Pamela Anderson. The nearest CBB got to a Baywatch Pammy was Pamela Bach, once married to David Hasslehoff.
I expect other guests (Katona’s mother?) will drop by in the three week life of the show. Given the current celebrity list not even live humping in the Diary Room will keep audience ratings anywhere near the 5 million-plus achieved last night.
The most intriguing housemate is the statuesque Sally Bercow, wife of John, Speaker of the House of Commons, who if nothing else in her taste in men gives encouragement to us short arses.
She is giving the bulk of her £150,000 fee to her charity Ambitious About Autism . The rest she is splitting between herself, her agent, and publicist Max Clifford. I doubt if Bercow will win CBB – that honour will probably go to The Only Way Is Essex ex-babe Amy Childs – but I expect her to seriously embarrass her husband before she leaves the house.
The appointment of Clifford suggests she has given up hope of a Commons seat on the Labour benches and is looking for more media work. CBB gives her a platform on which to perform and an opportunity to fall flat on her face.
Jokingly Bercow said once some saw her as the Carla Bruni of British politics. While it is true Bruni has a colourful past – famous lovers, nude modelling, etc – she has conducted herself with decorum since marrying Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president.
I agree Bercow is not her husband’s chattel and should be free to express herself as she wishes. But at the same time she is only in the public eye because of her husband.
Even if this were not so, as a wife and mother she should know there are some boundaries you shouldn’t cross. Talking about your sex life in public, as she has done, being only one instance of too much information.