Celebrity Big Brother launch

From slip ups to disasters: The launch night return of Celebrity Big Brother was a car crash

It should have been iconic, but it was a mess

There is actually very little I wanted more in the world than for Big Brother to return, and last year I got my wish. It is unquestionably the best reality show of all time, with the most iconic moments – so when we endured the drought of it being off air it was a miserable time for all involved. The ITV relaunch in 2023 was a huge success – I had a blast with that series. The housemates were well cast and the nation was once again hooked. It was only natural that Celebrity Big Brother would return in 2024, and all eyes were on last night’s launch night to see if the magic still sparkled. Considering that CBB was the reason Big Brother stayed afloat and relevant in the 2010s, the bar was high for delivery. And whilst the show might still find its legs over the next few weeks and give us some good TV, the car crash that was launch night left us all feeling shortchanged.

I suppose the biggest anticlimax is the housemates themselves. With a brand new reboot of a much loved show, you’d think ITV would prioritise some bigger names than people who some until four days ago didn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Gary Goldsmith is a celebrity apparently because he’s Kate Middleton’s uncle. I wish them well and they seem nice, but Marisha and Zeze – not a clue. The biggest names are of course Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne, reunited from their days on The X Factor. This would probably be met with more joy if those days of TV were looked back on with more reverence, rather than shame and cringe at how people were treated in the 2000s – which Louis and Sharon seem to care very little about under the guise of “honesty”.

Quite trauma actually

Sharon Osbourne isn’t even a full housemate – she is merely “a lodger”. Poor AJ and Will tried to frame this as a big first for the show, like a fun new novelty – but we’re all a bit too clever to be fooled. This is more of a debate over the presumably eye-watering fee Osbourne wanted to be a part of the show. Nonetheless, there is something quite entrancing about watching Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh in a secret room talk about what kind of food they can make. “I can do baked potatoes,” Mrs O says at one point.

Whilst there is an evil to these two, the real terror comes from wondering what car crash they’re going to make next. Louis Walsh enters and says to AJ and Will on live TV that “Mrs O will look after me”, even though he’s not meant to know she’s in there. He also recites what I can only assume is the little leaked press job description written for each rumoured housemate as they walk through the gaudy doors. You can practically feel the sweat running down the producers brows as they wonder what they’ve actually let themselves in for with these two liabilities.

Whether it’s Celebrity Big Brother or not, the nature of launch night shows is always a bit rough. A lot of wheels are having to turn to keep a launch night afloat, and Will and AJ do their best to keep it steered in the right direction but it often veers off the tracks. Still, there’s a lot of potential fun that looms. A live stream last night showed us Fern Britton and Ekin-Su talking about “the meaning of life” on the sofa at 1am. All hope is not yet lost.

For all the latest reality TV news and gossip like this Celebrity Big Brother launch night rundown, and for all the best memes and quizzes, like The Holy Church of Love Island on Facebook.  

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