Big Brother: There's no place to hide in the World Cup for attention-seekers

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The Independent Online

"Home at last", may seem a strange thing to say when entering the Big Brother house for the first time, but then if you're a gay, black, fox-hunting Tory nowhere may have seemed quite so much like home before.

At 40 years old, Derek, the first to lumber down the steps of the revamped establishment, is obviously going to be the father of the house. Lesley, a 19-year-old sales co-ordinator from Huddersfield and the next to join Derek, is clearly the baby, and just as clearly doomed unless the other contestants have strong parental feelings.

Derek's first words to Lesley, a one-woman hen weekend dressed in a PVC nurse's uniform, were: "You're asking for attention dressed like that."

Asking for attention? Asking for attention?, The first night of Big Brother 6 was like a World Cup for attention-seekers. Kemal from Liverpool came robed as a belly-dancer; Mary, who claims to have been abducted by aliens seven times and has the startled look to prove it, came dressed as a witch; and Roberto, a Liverpudlian of Italian extraction (what a painful week he must have had) chose to go through his 70s disco moves for the waiting rent-a-mob. (Interestingly the mob reacted badly to the more chronic attention-seekers).

What was perhaps inevitable was the way the entrants' bravado turned to uncertainty as they passed into the house but before they opened the door into the inner sanctum (a door several expected to open for them; the youth of today, eh? ). In fact "white witch" Mary stood there transfixed like someone expecting her eighth alien abduction. But most bizarre were the video shorts of their auditions. Several of the inmates began in repose, their eyes bursting open like mad ventriloquist dolls when the cameras started rolling.

This year's batch of lab rats have nowhere to hide. The décor may still be 2002 Habitat, complete with Damien Hirst spot duvet covers, but now the walls are all transparent - presumably to prevent a repeat of Stuart and Michelle's discreet, beneath the tablecloth coupling from last year.

Sam from Surrey, who had a boob job at 18, said she didn't mind where she was filmed "except perhaps on the toilet". She won't be happy with the new arrangements, then.

Sam did a fine unintentional Vicky Pollard impersonation, and while Craig, a malevolent hairdresser from Norfolk (this year's Nasty Nick?) was essaying the only gay in the village, he's not the only gay in the Big Brother house.

Two camp homosexual men, two feisty bisexual women, a white witch, a male belly dancer and an ex-paratrooper - it's a rich stew. But who is going to be the dumpling?

Maybe cockney geezer Maxwell, or the instantly tiresome ladette Saskia. My personal favourite was "Science", a bright spark from Leeds with a hilarious sub-Ali G patter.

"I'm fighting for the man who sells Big Issue", rapped Science, before adding: "If he's not smoking drugs."

Of course even the bright can implode in eleven weeks in this twisted, manipulative environment. If Davina McCall sounded sarcastic when she mentioned the £100,000 top prize, then it should be remembered that she purportedly pockets £158,000 for each Friday night eviction show. Presumably she's being paid by the decibel.

Last night, however, Davina was at her droll best. In fact she's become so indivisible from the whole Big Brother experience that it would be impossible to imagine the show without her.

Unlucky for us

* THE PSYCHIC

Londoner Mary, 30, is the daughter of a former priest and former nun, who claims to have been abducted by aliens seven times. She is a white witch.

* THE BITCH

Lesley, 19, a single sales co-ordinator and dance student from Huddersfield, she thinks people will find her irritating because she can be "more two faced than anyone you'll ever meet".

* THE TORY

Derek, 40, gay speechwriter from south London. He became the first and only black master of foxhounds in 1999.

* THE PAGE 3 GIRL

Sam, 23, a single marketing student from Cheam in Surrey who has not told her family she has had breast enhancement and likes both men and women.

* THE PURITAN

Makosi, a 24-year-old cardiac nurse from High Wycombe born in Zimbabwe, hates swearing.

* THE LIAR

Craig, a 20-year-old single hairdresser from Norfolk. Reckons he is the best liar in the world.

* THE DIVA

Kemal, 19, a belly dancer and student who was born in Turkey but lives in Liverpool.

* THE MUMMY'S BOY

Anthony, a 23-year-old Seventies dancer from Consett, near Newcastle, who is interested in "fashion and birds".

* THE BRAT

Vanessa, 19, a business studies student and former table dancer who admits to being "childish and spoilt".

* THE MUSICIAN

Science, a 22-year-old entrepreneur from Leeds who thinks he is "pimped out, outspoken and larger than life".

* THE HUNK

Roberto, a 32-year-old Italian-born teacher living in Liverpool, was in the final of Italy's Most Handsome Man competition.

* THE LAD

Maxwell, a 24-year-old maintenance engineer from north London, who says he will be the "man's man" of the house.

* THE LADETTE

Saskia, 23, a London promotions worker, who loves rugby and football.

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