Return of the Tickle

After some 21 days without the infamous Jon Tickle, C4/Endemol employed their last emergency measure to bring their show back from what has been a painfully slow death. Last Friday evening was perhaps one of the most bizarre and exciting moments in BB history. Seeing the most popular BB housemate retrace his steps back up the famous staircase was truly memorable. With the entire crowd screaming and cheering Jon back into the house, for the first time in weeks the nation was feeling excited about Big Brother.


Jon arrives to save the sinking ship HMS-BB4

In my most recent article I probably sounded more negative about the show than I have at any time in the last 10 weeks. It was looking as though the last two weeks of BB4 would be utterly dire. Since Fed and Jon were booted from the house, the following 3 weeks were arguably dull and made for some  truly dreadful viewing. However things were to take a most unexpected turn. Last Friday evening (Day 50) the rumours were getting to the point where we knew something significant was going to happen. With an extended eviction interview show, it seemed likely that C4/Endemol would pull yet another gimmick out of their 'back to basics' hat. But what would the latest 'twist' be ? Would it be an Australian BB housemate, a celebrity guest housemate, or perhaps even an ex-UK:BB housemate would be returning for a few days?

Later that night our suspicions were fully justified. In a last ditch effort to improve the entertainment value of BB4, the producers decided to call upon an ex-contestant whom they had fought so hard to have evicted from the House. It was perhaps the most ironic thing I have ever seen on television.

In a way it is sad that Jon is now indirectly helping a number of the C4 production team keep their jobs - the same people who had turned against him. Yet Jon had his reasons to go back into the house, and I shall not question his decision making in returning.



Emergency Boardroom Decisions

For a moment, just imagine the scene at one of the strategic planning meetings that the BB production team probably have each and every day. Since week one the voting totals have been around 35-40% lower than for BB3. Viewing numbers are broadly the same as last year, yet as Ann Robinson would say '... its votes that count'. The production team have seen their chosen winner Cameron survive until the final night, yet they are certainly well aware that BB4 is also known as the Big Bore. So with such poor voting totals and the media claiming the show was turning into a truly boring experience, the C4 team felt they had no option but to take one further extreme measure.

Remember that these were the very same people that decided to twist and edit the nightly highlights against Jon in such an outrageously unfair manner, and who were now discussing how to give the show a desperately needed 'kick' in the final 2 weeks. They probably realised that the only measure they had left was to get the 'Tickle' back into the house. The C4 team would have been well aware of how many Tickle fans had deserted the show at Day 29, and would have hoped that if Jon returned, so would his legion of supporters. Even though Jon would not be allowed to win, the hope would have been that the Tickle legion would get voting again. I can only assume -and project, that perhaps C4/Endemol will receive another 1.25-1.75 million extra votes now that the tickle legion are once more watching the show.

As I have argued before, C4/Endemol had agreed from the start that Cameron was their 'chosen one'. As Jon survived eviction after eviction, C4 decided that a double eviction at week 4 would ensure Jon got booted. With Jon/Fed fans in a split vote, Cameron would survive. In the event, the result was probably a bit too close for C4 - the chosen one was only 52,000 votes behind Jon. Anyway, C4 got what they wanted on Day 29, although they clearly had to take unprecedented action to ensure that Jon was evicted.

So some time last week at the production meeting, the C4 production team would have agreed that it was necessary to bring back the contestant they had fought so hard to evict. The very notion of bringing back an ex-housemate is truly the most extreme measure they could have possibly taken though. The potential damage to the show could have been immense, but they knew they would probably get away with it - as long as Jon Tickle was the one voted back in. Had any other ex-housemate been voted back in, the repercussions could have been severe. I doubt Sissy or any of the others could have kept their mouths shut about what has been happening in the 'outside world'.  

Lets be clear about one thing, there was little (if any) doubt that Jon Tickle would be voted back into the house. What was truly amazing though was Jon decided to rejoin the house. Knowing Jon, I doubt he has been paid anything - aside from a notional amount, in his return to the BB house. Jon seems the type who relishes the challenge of being the only housemate to EVER have re-entered the house.      

* I shall be doing a summary article on C4/Endemol once the show ends. The Strategic planning team have made some truly crazy decisions this series and it merits some discussion.


Nominations - Final round '8

Results :Cameron and Nush up for the boot.  - Cam 3, Nush 3, Steph 2, Scott 1, Ray 1

I was not surprised to see Cameron put up for the public vote. Yet I admit I had expected Ray to be the second person up for eviction. After all Ray had been Head of House - and had nominated 3 housemates for eviction in round 7. However only Cameron decided to nominated Ray in retaliation for last week, Lisa has left of course, and Steph has clearly not held any grudge against Ray.

It was a shame that Nush was nominated, although this was not entirely surprising. Cameron, Ray and Steph have all nominated Nush in previous weeks, so we should not be too surprised. Steph has been particularly clever this week, she has contributed to not only saving her own ass from being nominated (had she voted Cameron or Ray, Steph would have faced the boot), but she has now put herself in the enviable position of being the only female left in the final week. You would have thought that Steph would have wanted at least some girly company in the very last week, but no, she is desperate to win (despite what she says about not caring), Steph has played the game quite well indeed.

As expected Cameron nominated Nush and Ray again. Cameron certainly would not associate with people like Ray outside the house. As for Cameron's attitude to Nush, it is somewhat surprising, although it should be noted that the house is divided into two sub-groups.

House cliques :  Cameron and Steph   vs  Nush, Ray, and Scott.

Remember the '3 amigos' clique of Federico, Ray and Scott, even after 8 weeks Ray and Scott remain close buddies. Neither Ray nor Scott have ever nominated each other.

Cameron and Steph also failed to nominated each other during any of the 7 opportunities they had to nominate each other.

* For future BB contestants, building a tight clique of 3-4 housemates will prove to be highly effective in ensuring survival until the late stages of the game. Just look at how Ray and Scott have survived until the final night of BB. As a final point of note, had Federico survived week 4, the '3 Amigos' clique may have survived fully intact until the final night - which would have made for some fascinating viewing. 

Cameron will survive his second eviction this penultimate Friday, there is no doubt of the result in my view... Nush might as well start packing now.



Week 8 in the house

With Jon back in the house, Friday evening was indeed very interesting, and like many other fans I stayed up until the early hours of Saturday morning. It was truly a wondrous sight to see how the housemates reacted to Jon's unexpected arrival.

Initial reactions to Jon...
 Cameron was seemingly delighted to see Jon return. Ray, Steph and Nush were all pretty loud in their amazement. Scott was very noticeable in how particularly quiet he was, he certainly wasn't mute, but he sure wasn't happy to see Jon.

Over the next 2-4 hours it was becoming clear who was happy and who was not. Scott generally looked ever more miserable as the night progressed. Ray eventually mentioned how it'd be unfair if Jon could re-enter the house and still win. The housemates took no more than a few hours to start becoming paranoid that their nemesis had returned to seize their prize away from them.

However we should not be surprised about any negative/paranoid reactions in regards to Jon. Let us not forget that Cameron, Nush, Ray, Scott, and Steph all nominated Jon in previous nomination rounds. During Jon's first 4 weeks, the remaining housemates voted for Jon as follows.

Week/HM Cameron Nush Ray Scott Steph
1 First night     *    
2 * * * *  
3 * * * * *
4 * * * *  

   Notes : * indicates a vote for Jon Tickle

As you can see in the table above, out of 20 possible nominations Jon received 14 from the remaining 5 housemates. For any of the group to say 'I'm so happy to you again Jon!' is pretty much farcical. Note how Ray - who has displayed some considerable anger at the mere possibility of Jon winning, is someone who has relentlessly nominated Jon. The same can be said for Cameron, Nush and Scott who all nominated Jon in rounds 2,3 and 4. Interestingly Steph only voted for Jon once - week 3. It would have been fascinating had Jon survived week 4, whether Steph would have nominated Jon, or have become allied with him. Sadly, we'll never know.   

Jon stirring up the housemates?

As Davina lead Jon back to the BB house last Friday, she queried him on what he will do in the house. Jon replied with something along the lines of 'you're going to see a totally different person in the house... I'm going to play mind games with them all'.

So far, after almost 6 full days Jon has not done an enormous amount of stirring aside from the following.

-questioning Scott and Steph, proposing to them that Cameron is not what he appears to be.
-telling Ray that the wrong people were nominated this week.
-not telling the group on arrival that he could not nominate/be nominated.

Those are the only real issues to arise so far, which is somewhat disappointing. After Jon had a conversation about Economics - including talk about the Euro with Cameron, Jon has appeared to back off almost entirely from Cameron. Where does this leave Jon ? Cameron was Jon's primary - if not only reason for re-entering the house. Yet now it would seem that Jon is starting to feel happier with Cameron, and might now leave him alone. If this remains the case until the final night, it would be a serious let-down for the Tickle Army, who must have had high hopes that Jon would have a serious on-screen verbal fight with Cameron about a whole number of intense issues.

Perhaps all we can expect from Jon now is to make little remarks here and there about past nominations, and how the group dynamic has progressed since week one. As I feared, when it came down to it, Jon never had the inclination to truly confront anyone in the house. Jon is seemingly happy just being himself, with little concern for the 'social games' others might be playing.

The Nush-Scott non-romance

Big Brother was desperate to get Scott and Nush in bed together, it took two attempts for the desired scenario to occur. Scott won the Bingo game on Sunday night, and quickly chose a seemingly reticent Nush. Nothing of any consequence occurred that night of course. Nush, like so many of the housemates seems quite a un-sexual being. As they went to bed, it looked like a scene from an episode of 'Terry and June'. Both of them were wrapped up, and got under the covers as quietly as they could. Most laughable of all, was the barrier of cushions between them. It was quite embarrassing to watch these two grown adults in bed together, trying to be as far apart as they could. Scott has clearly fancied Nush lately, and although Nush might have felt some degree of attraction for Scott, she was certainly not going to get involved with him whilst in the house.

So that was the high point of BB romance this year. Scott and Nush in bed together...fully clothed, and separated with cushions. As I've said before, could the production team have selected a more un-sexual group of housemates this year? 


The Final Night

As I look at the four pictures above, I am filled with a deep sense of despair. We have perhaps the most undeserving final four housemates in BB history. None of them have done anything to deserve even making it to week 4, never mind surviving until Day 64.

How will the final night pan out ?

After some serious consideration... here is my prediction on how voting will develop. I shall concentrate on the reasons why someone might make the effort to vote for a given housemate to win.

Ψ Cameron : He will attract the 30+ age group more than anyone else. The very nature of Cameron though will limit his votes to primarily people above 30 years of age. He can not rely upon the 'teenie' text voters for victory. Cameron has only been up for the public vote twice out of 8 possible opportunities. However when it came down to it, Cam' triumphed over both Federico AND Jon - which is truly an important factor to consider. The question remains, will the 'motherly' vote be enough for him to win?

Ψ Ray: He will certainly be attracting large chunks of the teen vote, and certainly in terms of the 'attractive male' vote. He also will get some support from the 'Irish community'. Ray will do pretty well, but not well enough.

Ψ Scott : Like Ray, Scott will attract a great majority of the teenie vote. However, Scott has received very little public interest until just recently via his lusting for Nush. Overall, Scott has remained almost invisible to the general public- many of whom will not really know anything about him. In balance, Scott will do okay on the final night, but his lack of effort in portraying his character to the public will surely be his downfall.

Ψ Steph : Being the only woman left, she has the benefit of gaining the male vote. Steph has been noted to attract 'some' viewers, but she arguably lacks the elegance of all her previous female housemates (bar Justine). Steph has played the game well. She has seen her two of her nominated housemates get booted (Sissy, Fed), yet she does not stand a hope in hell of winning. Steph lacks any widespread 'sex appeal'. Just contrast Steph to BB3 winner Kate Lawler, Steph just comes across as too motherly - something that will not appeal to the voting public on final night. 

A summary...

Steph will be fourth, and the first to be evicted next Friday evening. She will be cheered by the waiting crowd, - who would boo her ? I bet she will be quite surprised to hear her name called out by Davina around 8.50, Steph appears to me to be really aching to win BB4. She is going to be quite let down to be a mere 'fourth'.

An important issue is that once Steph is evicted, what will her fans do ? Will Steph's fan base bother to vote again on the final night ? I suspect that around 25-35% of Steph's fans will switch to Cameron, with around 15-20% split between Ray and Scott. Steph and Cameron attract broadly the same kind of fan base, so once missy is booted Cameron can count on a few more hundred thousand votes.

So with Steph evicted, we'll have just Cameron, Ray, and Scott.

As many others have noted, there will be a big split vote between Ray and Scott. I suspect the teenie text voters will be split quite evenly between Ray 'rude boy' Shah and Scott 'dynamic as wallpaper' Turner. It is therefore difficult to predict which of Ray or Scott will come second or third. I suspect Scott will just be ahead of Ray due to his recent issues with Nush. So I predict Ray in third place.

Leaving us with just Cameron and Scott.

I assume there will not be much more than 30 minutes between the third and second place evictions. Although this will be enough time for maybe a million more votes. So with Cameron and Scott in a face-off, who will win ? After all that has happened in the show, I feel that Cameron will win. Cameron has been infinitely more in the public eye that Scott. When it comes down to public voting, what counts are housemates that are 'noticeable' to the public. Scott escaped eviction in the first week due to the fact that he was barely noticed as even existing in the house. Cameron has been second only to Jon in terms of a public following. With the twisted editing we have seen since week one, C4/Endemol will see their 'chosen one' be victorious.

Yes indeed, Cameron Stout - the Islander from Orkney will win BB4. I had been predicting Scott to win in my previous article- but that was assuming the housemates would do the decent thing and put Ray up for the public vote. Since Ray is staying for the final week, his continued presence will now cause a split teenie vote with Scott, which means Cameron is on a free ride to victory. There is almost no doubt in my mind that 'appleman' will win.











This Friday (Day 57)  Nush will be evicted from the Big Brother house. She will probably get around 62-69% of the vote, which I'm sure will surprise a fair few people, especially since it will again emphasise the gender imbalance that has been a feature of the house for much of the 64 days. Cameron's place in the house is most certainly secure, his legion of 'mothers' will protect him and surely give Nush the boot.

With just 9 days left, like many other BB fans I will be glad to see the back of this series. If Big Brother can be said to have achieved anything this year, it has been in terms of demonstrating how not to orchestrate a reality TV show. What was touted by C4/Endemol as Big Brother getting 'back to basics' has been - ironically, the most gimmick filled TV show viewers have ever seen.

Calrissian : The End is in sight..... thank god.

Suggested Reading

Dead Famous,  by Ben Elton (2001) , Black Swan; ISBN: 0552999458


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2003 Philip Calrissian
Last Updated : 25/03/04