Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Honking Box: Big Brother's Best Housemates

Having got the villains out of the way, we’re now rounding up the 10 Greatest Big Brother Housemates of all time. Worryingly, the choice of baddies far outweighed the good guys – but presumably, that’s what makes for such compelling viewing (well, most years, at least), and if nothing else, makes these particular BB heroes all the more heroic.

Spare a thought for those almost-instantaneous evictees who never got a chance to shine – the likes of Anouska, Beinazir, Sophia, Jonathan and Rachael. We’ll assume Bonneh did all she was ever going to do during her brief stay.

Honourable mention must go to Shabby, Alison Hammond, Hira and her cupcake, the occasionally-brilliant-but-mostly-irritating Science, Monkety Tonkety, and the clear winner of Big Brother 11, Josie. But let’s focus on those who made the list...

10. Darren Ramsay (BB1)
He may not be as memorable as some of his fellow housemates, but Darren’s stint in the first series was a pleasure to watch. The youngest housemate but the only one with kids of his own, he freely hopped between immaturity and levelheadedness, making for a mix of hilarity, conflict and sincerity. And let’s not forget Darren’s ongoing antics with Marjorie the Chicken, which was some much needed comic relief in a pretty intense series.

9. Narinder Kaur (BB2)A surprise early evictee from the second series, Narinder’s bluntness, her one-liners and her penchant for an argument were the ingredients for a great value housemate. Pairing herself with the tiresome Brian Dowling might not have been Narinder’s greatest move on paper, but their chemistry, their exchanges and their renditions of Proud Mary made them quite the double act.

8. Eugene Sully (BB6)
Out-tickling Jon Tickle himself is BB6 runner-up Eugene. His uncontainable glee at recounting tales of his truly nerdtacular antics (for instance, the camera in Tupperware recording the cycle of a dishwaster FROM THE INSIDE) was strangely endearing, often verging on the hilarious (another round of “Sister can clear that up”, anyone?). The geek shall inherit the Earth, and this man shall be king.

7. Lesley Brain (BB8)
A lone beacon of class and intelligence amidst a cacophony of squawking, mirror-fixated harpies, it was a travesty to see W.I. member Lesley walk just 11 days into the series. Her razor-sharp commentary was clearly lost on her largely comatose contemporaries, but provided at least a few episodes’ worth of refined, amusing genius.

6. Helen Adams (BB2)
She was the blueprint for the Endearingly Stupid Housemate mould later used to induct Jade Goody, Brian Belo and um... Shanessa the rough stripper, but Helen Adams was in a class of her own. Charmingly naive, funny without even trying, and one half of a genuinely touching Big Brother romance, we blinking love Helen, we do.

5. Sam Pepper (BB11)
Arguably a contender for the Worst Housemates list as well, Sam Pepper stepped in at the last minute to become resident irritant, practical joker, Josie-nemesis and all-round archetypal Little Shit. At a time when the house energy was seriously flagging, Sam Pepper – for he must be addressed by his full name – spoke his mind, stirred up several hundred gallons of shit, and injected some much-needed hilarity.

4. Makosi Musambasi (BB6)
Prior to her shark-jumping Jacuzzi moment and ensuing pregnancy fake-out, Makosi was on the way to becoming the greatest housemate in the show’s history. Makosi found herself – purely by chance – taking on a disproportionately high number of secrets tasks, but boy, did she rise to it. Unique, candid, compelling and deliciously devious: Makosi, we raise a glass of Cherry Tango to you.

3. Marcus Akin (BB10)
While hypno-siren Noirin Kelly was the focus of Big Brother 10 with her abilities to spellbind her fellow housemates, the true star of the show was Marcus. The irrepressible dark horse entertained, irritated, disgusted and captivated viewers with his quick wit, his foul mouth, and his aptitude for shooting down his more idiotic contemporaries (hello, Sree) with cider-swilling finesse.

2. Anna Nolan (BB1)
While Craig Phillips was by no means an undeserving winner, his runner-up Anna Nolan was by far a more worthy champion. The Irish ex-nun – because all Anna Nolan blurb MUST reference this – was a lovable mix of human, humourous, hilarious and honest, which we’ll pretend has a hard ‘H’ for alliterative purposes. No discernible quirks, no desire for attention, no falseness – just a jolly nice housemate with a brain between her ears.

1. Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace (BB7)
And it’ll come as no surprise to regular readers that the greatest housemate in Big Brother history is the teeth-kissing, self-knowing, Sezer-bashing, Grace-hating, Nikki-narking, one-time Ghetto Princess herself, Aisleyne. Her post-BB profile, in which she rubs shoulders with Charlie Brooker, obviously underlines her aceness, but it’s her time in the house which truly demonstrates what a brilliant character she was. From her entrance wrapped up as a present, to her ongoing rows with Nikki, to her fake eviction and her stint in the House Next Door, to her Sophie’s Choice moment, to Machiavelli-gate, to her eventual bronze medal, Aisleyne was amusing, genuine, and comprehensively entertaining.

...Of course, this is all subject to change – as the late Jade Goody found out the hard way, a return to the Big Brother house can be absolutely catastrophic. Ultimate Big Brother kicks off tonight following Josie’s inevitable win, where Davina will be joined by BB1 mentalist Nichola Holt for a 2010 remix of her hit single, The Game. Maybe.

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