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Interview: Rylan teases new series of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’

By Will Stroude

cbb rylan

While the civilian series of Big Brother continue to rattle on with an ever-more vacuous roster of part-time models, the show’s biannual celebrity cousin has gone from strength to strength on Channel 5.

With less than a month to go until the new series and rumours rife about who’ll be heading in the infamous Elstree compound, Bit On the Side presenter and former champion Rylan Clark has chatted all things CBB, from this year’s ‘twisted fairy tale’ theme to why he found going on the show like being in rehab.

How excited are you for the new series?
I get excited two weeks after I leave the previous series! I’m like, ‘What’s going on next year, when’s the house getting redesigned, who’s going in?” I love it. I’m like a kid. I am the biggest Big Brother fan, so I have got my dream job. I plan my year around Big Brother. The ironic thing is, even before I worked on Big Brother, I used to plan my year around Big Brother as well, which is quite sad, but at least I’m getting paid for it now!

What can you tell us about this year’s theme?
People love a fairy tale to have a happy ending but imagine if it turned into a nightmare. It’s not up to us whether it’s a happy ending or a nightmare, it’s up to them!

You won Celebrity Big Brother two years ago, what advice would you give to any new housemates?
My advice to anyone would be to ask, what do you want from this? Do you want the experience? Are you doing it for money? Are you doing it to start a career or are you doing it to end a career? Are you confident enough in yourself as a person to be under a microscope 24 hours a day? In Big Brother every single inch of that house is covered. So I treated Big Brother as rehab – it was exactly what I needed. I was the most famous man in the country at that point, I needed to be locked up and it was either that or The Priory and I chose Big Brother [laughs]! It was the best decision I have made in my life. A lot of people go in there at the end of their career. I went in there before I even had one.

cbb eye

I meet and interview the housemates before they go in and my piece of advice is just to enjoy it and if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. It is that simple because the last thing we want is to see people moaning all the time. For five minutes it’s funny but for weeks it’s not. Don’t waste that place for someone else. I would hate it if I’m watching Celebrity Big Brother and people are like, ‘I don’t really want to be here’. You have to be invited and if you’re not invited, you’re not going in. Enjoy it, you’ve been chosen.

What’s your best bit of advice to the voting public?
Sometimes the strongest characters are voted out first. That is where the public moan, going, “Oh, we’ve lost the drama”. All I would say to the public is you’re the ones in control, so keep the entertaining characters in the house. Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean you should get rid of them. We like to see the arguments; we like to see the people rubbing people up the wrong way.

What are your favourite CBB moments? 
Obviously, classics like Denise Welch going topless the hot tub! Certainly, the Heidi and Spencer row, as a housemate from that series, I will never forget that! It was on the Friday night in the live show and Heidi and Spencer had just returned to the house. Everyone thought I wouldn’t say anything and I just went off. The credits start running and you see me kick off!

Who are your favourite CBB housemates of all time? 
Heidi and Spencer were great because they gave me a row and I love a row! Loudmouths are great characters, they work for the show, but the ones that I find really work for the show now are the Americans because a lot of them don’t know what they are letting themselves in for. Americans come over and they are genuinely blindsided. Heidi and Spencer did not realise they couldn’t leave. I interviewed Evander Holyfield before he walked in and I said, “How are you going to deal with boredom?” And he said, “I’ll just go to the shop”. He was told he couldn’t but he just thought he could do what he wanted. But you can’t. That’s it. When you’re in, you’re in.

cbb emma and rylan

What qualities make the most entertaining housemate?
For me an entertaining housemate is one of two things and they are both polar opposites. One is someone who goes in there with nothing to lose. The other is someone who has got a lot to lose and tries their hardest not to lose it but the game just catches up with them. No one can keep up an act in there for that long.

What has been your favourite task? 
I love the ‘ignore the obvious’ tasks. So Big Brother will either freeze time and friends and family will come in and you have to ignore them, or once it was called ‘remote control’ where BB pressed pause and everyone’s family walked in and spoke to housemates.  They are the best ones because you’re just like, “Argh! What would you do?”

If you could choose anybody to go into the house, what top three celebs would be on your wish list and why?
If it was my call and money wasn’t an option I would have had Joan Rivers, God bless her. I would love to see Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks and Kate Moss. All the supermodels in there with no make-up, arguments, ripping out each other’s wigs!

Did you ever think two years ago that you’d be hosting Big Brother’s Bit On The Side?
Never in a million years! In my eyes you only go in that house once, and if you watch the night I won, when I go up the stairs and it says, “You are the winner” I turned round and took one last look because you are only in that moment once.

So you’re a genuine fan?
I love it. I’ve even got a diary room chair! When I was a kid I used to stick the Big Brother eye on my suitcase and write my name under it so I could pretend I was on Big Brother. I also worked in a pub when I was 18 and they had a fire escape that looked like the Big Brother stairs and whenever I got tipsy I’d walk up and down thinking I was on the show. It is the easiest thing I have done in my life because someone can bring up something from ten years ago and I know exactly what they are going on about. I could recite it word for word. It’s like I’m doing my dream job, I really am.”

Celebrity Big Brother returns in January on Channel 5.

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