With the ultimate reality show returning to Channel 5 tonight (June 5), I take a look back at the most memorable contestants from series past. Spoiler: It’s not good news for Justine from BB4.
25. Caroline O’Shea (Big Brother 1)
Ahh, Big Brother 1, a time of innocence, a time when Big Brother could truly lay claim to being “a social experiment”. A social experiment that involved people getting naked, covering themselves in clay and throwing themselves against the house walls. Such fun! The inaugural series boasts many highlights (Tom’s red shorts, anyone?) but a real underrated gem was Caroline, aka ‘Caggy’. The Cagster. With a ridiculous laugh that resembled a pneumatic drill on the run and a questionable fashion taste, Caggy had all the makings of a Big Brother legend. Sadly, the public disagreed and when she came up against Tom in the nominations in week four, Caggy left the building.
24. Luke Marsden (Big Brother 9)
A largely uneventful series, Big Brother 9 can lay claim to bringing us house hotties Dale Howard and Stuart Pilkington, as well as the most unlikely of showmances. BB superfan Luke (think the clever gremlin from Gremlins 2) got more than two eyes’ full when he hooked up with fellow contestant Bex ‘your nipples are showing’ Shiner. Now a professional motormouth, Luke can often be found serving up shade on Big Brother’s Bit on the Side.
23. Helen Adams (Big Brother 2)
The nation fell in love with ditsy Welsh hairdresser Helen, most famous for her skill of closing her eyes and then opening them again. Her showmance with fellow housemate Paul went the distance, lasting an impressive five years after the show ended. An early favourite to get the boot with the bookies, Helen wound up finishing second to Brian Dowling.
22. Dan Neal (Big Brother 14)
BB14’s Dan was a triple threat – likeable, intelligent and ripped to high heaven. A former police officer who worked on the Jimmy Savile investigation, Detective Dan put all of his talents to use in the house. ALL OF THEM.
21. Anna Nolan (Big Brother 1)
Irish gay ex-nun Anna – never short for conversation at a party – was BB’s original fans’ favourite. Her dry wit and cheeky banter propelled her all the way to the final, where she lost to winner Craig in one of the tightest ever BB votes. She went on to become bessies with host Davina McCall and front her own BBC Three documentary series.
20. Josie Gibson (Big Brother 11)
The last winner of a traditional BB series in the Channel 4 era, bubbly Bristolian Josie won the nation’s hearts when she fell for strapping, arrogant Aussie JJ. A short-lived showmance followed after the series ended but Josie went on to forge a successful career writing for women’s mags and producing keep-fit DVDs.
19. Brian Belo (Big Brother 8)
BB8 winner Brian won over the nation with his – how shall we put this? – “naivety”. It’s an art-form that’s since been perfected by Joey Essex on TOWIE, a show that Brian is actually credited with helping to create.
18. Aaron Allard-Morgan (Big Brother 12)
Somerset’s finest, Aaron charmed the nation on his way to the Big Brother 12 crown in 2011. Dashing, polite and cerebral, he was so very English, notably declaring: “I’m not some bed-hopping maniac, I like pasta.” Three years on, his showmance with his “poppet” Faye is still going strong.
17. Rodrigo Lopes (Big Brother 10)
Brazilian cutie and Attitude fave Rodrigo became one half of Big Brother’s first gay showmance with fellow housemate Charlie, but it was his admiration for the Queen that provided the best moment of BB10. In perhaps one of its cruellest ever pranks, Big Brother actually managed to convince Rodrigo that he was meeting Lizzie, even making him sing the national anthem to her – before revealing that he had, in fact, been hanging out with an impersonator.
16. Federico Martone (Big Brother 4)
The only housemate worth mentioning from the dullest ever series of BB, outspoken Glaswegian Fed did his best to liven things up by calling women from Newcastle “slags”. Offended viewers took the first opportunity to boot him out and Fed was sadly forced to leave the building in week four. His post-eviction interview got host Davina McCall into trouble when her line of questioning took a bizarre turn and she asked whether he had a small penis.
15. Charley Uchea (Big Brother 8)
Lapdancer-turned-‘It’ girl Charley was loathed by the public and her housemates alike – so much so that when she was eventually evicted, it was with one of the highest percentages of the vote in BB history. Her frequent confrontations often involved Posh Spice wannabe Chanelle, whom she correctly labelled “a Posh Spice wannabe”. I could go into more detail about why Charley was TV gold, but then again pictures speak a thousand words.
14. Derek Laud (Big Brother 6)
Political adviser Derek stood out like a sore thumb in the BB6 house. Worlds apart from his fellow contestants, he provided a constant source of entertainment with his amusing put-downs and anecdotes. On one particularly uneventful day he claimed that he could see monkeys on the roof of the house and encouraged the other housemates to look for them. He also formed an unlikely friendship with big-breasted 19-year-old Lesley.
13. Lea Walker (Big Brother 7)
A cougar before being a cougar was even a thing, Lea entered the house boasting that she had the biggest boobs in Britain, a whopping size 30M. A former porn star, Lea – or ‘Dolly’ as she later became known – regaled her fellow inmates with anecdotes of her XXX past, most notably making the horrific admission that she had once done something unmentionable with an electric whisk.
12. Narinder Kaur (Big Brother 2)
Leicester export Narinder was a source of friction early on in BB2, gossiping frivolously about the other housemates, particularly Helen. She quickly became bosom buddies with eventual winner Brian but was evicted in week four when she was nominated against Helen’s lover Paul. Still a fan favourite, Narinder can be seen as a regular guest on spin-off show Bit on the Side.
11. Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace (Big Brother 7)
Model Aisleyne arrived a few weeks late to the Big Brother 7 party and wasted no time in stirring the pot, clashing most notably with Nikki and Grace. It was these clashes that turned the Camden girl into a kind of fierce, feisty anti-hero, and she soared in popularity as the series went on, eventually finishing third.
10. Victor Ebuwa (Big Brother 5)
The Slickmeister, Victor basked in his own glory as the arrogant, outspoken, alpha male of the house. His witty put-downs and (mostly) knowing rants provided the fuel for much of the entertainment and drama in the house. Vic was a key antagonist in the infamous ‘fight night’ that led to the live feed being suspended and police being called into the house. Also famously had “the sniffles”.
9.‘Nasty’ Nick Bateman (Big Brother 1)
The original reality TV villain, Nasty Nick had the country in uproar when he attempted to mastermind nominations during the first series. His crimes? Telling fellow housemates how to vote and – get this – WRITING NAMES ON PIECES OF PAPER. Outrageous. Nick’s comeuppance finally came on day 35 when everyman Craig confronted him in the most talked-about TV moment since Den handed Angie the divorce papers.
8. Makosi Musambasi (Big Brother 6)
Zimbabwean stunner Makosi probably described herself better than we ever could: “I eat sex, I sleep sex and I shit sex. That’s Makosi.” Staying true to her mission statement, Makosi went on to have an apparent hot tub shag with eventual winner Anthony. But her post-coital reaction said it all – confiding in a fellow housemate about what happened, she turned on cue to the camera and declared in her best Alexis Carrington: “I could be pregnant.” What a GIRL.
7. Michelle Bass (Big Brother 5)
Geordie gal Michelle entered the house knowing what she wanted and she wasn’t afraid to get it. Her pursuit of Stuart (aka “chicken Stu”) reached its climax when she dragged the poor lad, caveman-style, for a quick bonk under the kitchen table. But aspiring singer Michelle’s most memorable moment was undoubtedly her touching rendition of Pie Jesu, a performance that actually led to her getting a record deal after leaving this show. For those who missed it, here’s Michelle Bass’s Must Be The Music:
6. Jade Goody (Big Brother 3)
The tragic journey of Big Brother’s most notorious contestant began in 2002. Initially deeply unpopular with the public, Jade went from villain to hero (via a PJ-BJ) over the course of the series, eventually finishing in fourth place. Her star rose further after the show ended and she enjoyed huge success with a variety of TV shows and advertising deals, but it was an ill-judged decision to appear on a later series of Celebrity Big Brother that proved her undoing. Jade’s unsavoury comments about fellow housemate Shilpa Shetty led to a race row that made headlines around the world. A year later, during a redemption appearance on the Indian version of Big Brother hosted by Shetty, Jade was informed that she had cervical cancer. She died on March 22, 2009 at the age of 27.
5. Gina Rio (Big Brother 14)
Last year’s series of BB provided a housemate who managed to stir the pot better than any other contestant had ever managed before. Once dubbed “the most spoiled girl in Britain”, London socialite Gina was totally shame-free when it came to bashing her fellow housemates, casually labelling them “disgusting” and “cocksuckers”. A viewers’ favourite, Gina made it all the way to the final, winding up in third place.
4. Craig Coates (Big Brother 6)
One of the most underrated Big Brother contestants ever, camp crimper Craig provided television gold during Big Brother 6. After falling in love with a straight man (eventual winner Anthony), Craig became his biggest defender, branding the potentially-impregnated Makosi “a f*cking bitch”. Threw a massive strop after being told that he resembled Moors murderer Myra Hindley while wearing a wig for a task.
3. Nadia Almada (Big Brother 5)
Portuguese chain-smoker Nadia holds the distinction of being the show’s first ever transsexual winner and one of the feistiest ever housemates. Her frequent confrontations (mostly with the Slickman), tempered with her infectious laugh, endeared her to the public and she romped to victory with a landslide 74% of the vote. Her stock was somewhat sullied during her appearance on the Ultimate Big Brother series when she had a number of angry confrontations with fellow contestants, but she is still regarded as one of the best ever BB housemates.
2. Brian Dowling (Big Brother 2)
Well, no Big Brother list could be complete without Brian, could it? From the moment he entered the house back in 2001, there was only ever going to be one winner. His sharp wit and well, sass, immediately made him a firm favourite with the public and he stormed his way to victory, in the process becoming the first gay winner of a Big Brother series anywhere in the world. The only housemate with the distinction of winning the show twice, not to mention a stint actually hosting it, our Brian is consistently voted the ultimate BB housemate.
1. Nikki Grahame (Big Brother 7)
But my best ever housemate – controversy klaxon at the ready – has to go to the queen of histrionics, Big Brother 7’s Nikki Grahame. No other contestant has pulled off the temper tantrum quite like Nikki, who famously questioned a fellow contestant’s life worth (“who is she?”), passive-aggressively defended her own territory (“This is Nikki’s bed. This is NIKKI’S bed.”) and made it quite clear when she disliked someone (“I’m going to find it very difficult to be pleasant to it, I don’t want to even look at it.”) Angry Nikki, we salute you.
Follow Neil Wilkes on Twitter @neothecat.