With over a decade of Big Brother footage, it can seem like we’ve seen every crazy shenanigan under the sun. However, if you take the highly charged atmosphere of the Big Brother house and fill it with celebrities, many of whom are eccentrics to start with, then there’s always something new and shocking to see.
As the contestants of Celebrity Big Brother 2012 settle in, we take a look back at some of the most surreal moments to have been broadcast from this reality TV show that eclipses all others in providing jaw-dropping spectacle.
Jack Dee Climbs the Walls (Literally) (2001)
The very first series of Celebrity Big Brother was only a week-long affair where housemates were voted off on a daily basis. Despite the much reduced time frame, comedian Jack Dee still felt the need to pull a Steve McQueen and go for a great escape.
Having successfully broken out of the house for an hour, he returned in order to avoid “spoiling it for everyone”, not to mention the fact that there was a hefty amount of charity money on the line.
Vanessa Feltz Melts Under the Pressure (2001)
Looking for all the world like a cross between …. Pete Doherty, Vanessa Feltz seemed to lose the plot entirely during the very first season, scrawling obscenities on the dining room table.
Les Dennis Plays Dr Dolittle with the Chickens (2002)
Troubled Family Fortunes host Les Dennis was going through a tough time in 2002 following his split with wife Amanda Holden. He managed to find some solace in striking up a friendship with blonde bombshell Melinda Messenger as well as a more eccentric friendship with the Big Brother house chickens!
Jackie Stallone’s Regal Entrance (2005)
Even in the bizarre world of Celebrity Big Brother, the surprise entrance of much-operated Jackie Stallone as a medieval queen was enough to make everyone’s jaw drop simultaneously. Nobody’s jaw dropped further than contestant Brigitte Nielsen’s, as she had previously been married to Jackie’s son, Sylvester Stallone.
Pete Burns Flaming War with Jodie Marsh (2006)
“You’re insincere to the point of nausea.” Bold words from former band frontman Pete Burns flung in the face of glamour model Jodie Marsh. The catcalling persisted almost throughout the duration of the contestants’ time together in the house.
George Galloway Acts Like a Cat (2006)
It’s not every day you get to see a 57-year-old ex-Labour MP get down on his hands and knees and act like a cat. Lapping milk from the hands of a fellow housemate was a particular low point in the proceedings that served to encourage huge amounts of scorn and derision to be heaped on George Galloway’s rather confused head after he left the Celebrity Big Brother house.
Shilpa Shetty Gets Racially Hounded (2007)
Perhaps Celebrity Big Brother’s most controversial moments occurred in the 2007 series when Bollywood superstar Shilpa Shetty was subjected to an inordinate amount of scorn and derision from fellow housemates Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O’Meara.
Things took a nastier turn from basic bitchiness to borderline racism as the complaints against the trio of tormentors flooded in from the viewing public. UK media regulator Ofcom received no less than 44,500 complaints of alleged racist remarks and behaviour against the eventual winner, Shilpa.
Vinnie Jones Breaks Down in Tears (2010)
Tough type Vinnie Jones put his acting talents to good use by convincing fellow housemates that he had on occasion enjoyed a spot of cross-dressing and that he had emotionally broken down at the dinner table because they all meant so much to him.
This might have all been a task dreamt up by Big Brother, but it still provided a hilariously surreal sight of the hard man of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels getting overly emotional.
Tara Reid and Lucien Laviscount Food Fight (2011)
What started as a treat turned into something far more feisty. Contestants Tara Reid and Lucien Laviscount enjoyed a candlelit dinner for two complete with their favourite dishes and a small bottle of champagne.
The bubbles clearly went to Lucien’s head as he burst out with an unfortunate joke that backfired, leaving Tara severely unimpressed. This slice of American Pie didn’t take it lying down though, as she started throwing food and drink instead of insults!
Jedward Make a Toast Tower (2011)
Twin brothers John and Edward Grimes have never seemed to be the most stable of individuals during their television exploits, but Celebrity Big Brother was a veritable playground for their eccentricities to shine.
Why make toast when you can make a toast tower? With surprisingly impressive structural integrity, the leaning tower became a brief but brilliant addition to the house’s ornamentation.