Sunday 23 October 2016

Anna Nolan: After 15 years, I can't wait to meet my old Big Brother housemates again

BB1's Anna, Darren and Craig
BB1's Anna, Darren and Craig
Floyd Mayweather
Barry Murphy as Angela Merkel

I have been asked to go over to London this week for a very unusual reunion. The original 'cast' or 'housemates' of Big Brother 1 are gathering for a photoshoot to celebrate 15 years of the reality television series.

When contacted, I immediately said yes. I thought it would be wonderful to catch up with the other 11 people and see where they are in their lives now.

Over the years, I have done my own research to see where they ended up. Some have been easy to find, via social media. Others seem to have completely disappeared off the planet.

Craig, the builder from Liverpool, who won the first year, is a successful property developer in his hometown.


I have seen him over the years and he was very clever in how he used his win to create a successful business.

There are others, like Darren and Mel, who I occasionally contact through Facebook or Twitter.

Mel has a beautiful baby boy and Darren (who had three children already when he went into the house) seems to be living a happy life.

He hasn't aged a bit.

The lesser known ones are the ones I will be more intrigued to see. Caggie, or Caroline, was the loud, ballsey Brummie lass. She wore dark lip liner and she made me laugh a lot. In recent years, she has found Jesus.

Her posts on social media are fascinating and full of praise for her Lord. Her beliefs are extreme and she has many conspiracy theories about paedophilia in the world of politics and the church.

Then there's Nichola.

Nichola was the girl with the shaved head. I have heard many stories about her. I think she was married for a while.

I think she had a relationship with Sada from the Big Brother House and also heard rumours that she went on to work in the adult film industry.

I have been asked many times over the last 15 years if I regret doing the show. I don't.


I can remember filling out the application form and filming myself to make a video to send into the producers. I was taking a chance at the time, and that chance worked out so well for me.

I wonder how all the others feel about their time in the house? Are there any regrets? Will we all be able to look back and think we had a weird and wonderful time? Or will there be those who wished they hadn't put their foot inside that house?

Fifteen years ago we were young(ish), innocent(ish) guinea pigs, about to step into what was to become the biggest television show of a generation.

Like any reunion, no doubt we will hear of how life has thrown many challenges, many hurdles in people's paths, and hopefully given them some gifts along the way.

I cannot wait to see the Housemates of 2000. We had a blast. Sure it was only a game show!


This man hits women, so why do stars of music, sport and film cheer him?

There is a recording of the opening act of the Tony awards, 2013, presented by Neil Patrick Harris on YouTube.

It's brilliant - a breath-taking performance by Harris and other artists who played on Broadway that year. There are dancers, magicians, kids, drag queens ... and there's Mike Tyson.

Floyd Mayweather

Yes, Tyson appears on stage, does a little dance and the audience gives a rapturous applause.

What is fascinating about this is the fondness you can feel from the audience. They seem delighted with Tyson's appearance, laughing and whooping with every cutesy little side step he does.

In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison. There were also allegations from his ex-wife Robin Givens of abuse. Yet in this opening dance number at the Tonys, America cheered him on.

A few days ago, America cheered on another boxer. Floyd Mayweather Jnr was about to take to a Las Vegas ring in the 'fight of the century' and the arena was filled with celebrities, desperate to be seen supporting the world champion as he fought Manny Pacquiao. It was like the Grammys and the Oscars rolled into one.

Floyd Mayweather has had numerous incidents of domestic abuse. In 2011 he pleaded guilty to a domestic battery charge. Another time he attacked two women at a Vegas nightclub. Once he punched the mother of his children in the head at home.

Yet there were idiots in that Las Vegas stadium, idiots at home paying to watch this match, idiots all around the world supporting this violent abuser, applauding him like a demi-god.

Men who punch women, and also punch men, seem to be forgiven. Our ability to turn a blind eye to Mayweather, and throw adoration and money at him is something we should be ashamed of. Why would this man stop hitting women, when the superstars of music, sport and cinema cheer him on?


Sure aren't we all great little pixies?

Pixie. Who would have thought that this cute word, normally associated with small, innocent, tiny creatures, could be so cutting?

As a child, if your parent called you a pixie, it was a term of endearment. I'm sure plenty of adults use it in a similarly affectionate way with their partners.

Barry Murphy

Yet when Barry Murphy as Angela Merkel on Irish Pictorial Weekly, calls us all pixies every week, he makes us feel like the most stupid, useless creatures in the whole of Europe. This satire is brilliant and the Merkel sketches make for some of the most uncomfortable comedy I have seen in a long time. You want to laugh, but you know you'll only be laughing at yourself. Pixies, that's all we are.


The last flight of Orville and Keith

"I wish I could fly way up to the sky but I can't. You can. I can't." 

He couldn't really. How could he? Orville had Keith's hand stuffed up him - he was going nowhere. He certainly didn't leave our TV screens for much of the 1980s. But we didn't care - Keith and Orville were a hit team, the comedy duo who sang silly songs and made us laugh. Orville even had a hit with his 'wish I could fly' song - and you'd be surprised how many people still remember how it goes.

Orville and Keith Harris

 Sadly, Keith Harris passed away last week, which means Orville is gone too. I'm sure a few people felt nostalgic when they heard the news. The pair were old school entertainment, innocent fun, the stuff of the Palladium. RIP Keith and Orville.


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