Celebrity Big Brother 2014: If Kellie Maloney wants privacy, where better than the house?
View from the sofa: Celebrity Big Brother, Channel 5
For all the carefully worded messages of support for Kellie Maloney after she announced that the ex-boxing promoter formerly known as Frank wanted to become a woman, it took Audley Harrison, once an adversary, to express the nation’s true feelings.
“Fucking hell, Frank!” the heavyweight boxer said as he clapped eyes on Maloney dressed in a blond wig and aunt-at-a-funeral frock, on the opening night of Celebrity Big Brother. “What, do I got to call you Kellie now?”
Kellie answered in a gruff voice that was for all intents and purposes Frank’s: “You do if you want to get paid for your next fight.”
Harrison let out a few more F-bombs of surprise, then congratulated Maloney for her bravery with a “hats off to you, man,” before underlining the absoluteness of the decision to go public as Kellie by adding: “Wow... go hard or go home.”
The exchange was TV gold for many reasons. One, for Harrison being so, erm, frank in saying what many of us thought when we saw what was, biologically speaking, a bloke in a wig and a dress on the front of the Sunday Mirror a couple of weeks ago.
Two, because of Harrison’s bright red pimp suit, which he admitted he bought 10 years ago (it looked it).
And three, because it appeared to confirm that the 42-year-old Olympic champion from 2000 is still yet to hang up his gloves.
Kellie, meanwhile, sat down on her first day in the CBB house lamenting the way in which the nation had found out about her being a transsexual. She would have loved a bit of privacy, she said.
In a sense, she had achieved her wish: her builder-in-high-heels walk as she stomped into the house had been watched by barely four per cent of the population.
The tumbleweed audiences are hardly surprising. Aside from the sporting celebs in Harrison and Maloney, the barrel has been well and truly scraped. Of course, there is Gary Busey, the actor who featured in the seminal surf movie Big Wednesday and the not-so seminal surf movie Point Break, but the others are a mystery. A French woman known as Frenchy? James Jordan? Perhaps we just need to watch more soft porn and Strictly Come Dancing.
And aside from the casual voyeurism of watching an ageing transsexual find her way in the world, the show is, as usual, largely filled with bickering and contrived, alcohol-fuelled scenarios designed to create more tension.
Such as Jordan’s dumb idea to taunt Harrison about a fight when he was sparked out in just over a minute. The boxer, to his credit, laughed along – up to a point. So Jordan carried on. And Harrison snapped. “It’s a joke, you talking about 79 seconds, but when you get to a certain level that is being disrespectful,” he said. “I told you nicely but leave it alone. I told you to stop.”
Again, the boxer was on the money. So may Harrison win Celebrity Big Brother, for his plain-speaking, truth-bearing mouth. Not because he is one of the few contestants we actually recognise.
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