Tired of Shooting Stars


Ulrika Jonsson is a proud mother of four, and was paid £170,000 to sit in a Jacuzzi for three weeks eating cheese on crackers. Who’s the joke on?

Ulrika Jonsson’s victory on Celebrity Big Brother can be seen as a feat for celebrity in general. Sure – the crowd booed her, but this is a crowd of envy-ridden celebrity-bent teens. Somebody who is 16 at the moment would have been born in 1993, and so started school aged 5 in... 1998 (scary I know!). So they are therefore too young to have familiarised themselves with Ulrika’s hard work and abundant television appearances of the 80s and 90s.

Newspapers like The Daily Mail often commiserate the low level of celebrity these days, but evidently loud-mouth reality TV stars cannot make it on their own, they rely upon the media (i.e. The Daily Mail) and television focus groups to support them and catapult them into stardom. Ulrika said “It’s a fix!” the second she was announced as winner. And of course it is! Not in that the phone votes are all rigged, but in that some of television’s smartest writers are on the editing team, characterising celebrities, devising plots from real footage and generally playing God. I love it.

We forget that Celebrity Big Brother was originally screened in England as a spoof of Big Brother, a satirisation and one of the first programs to endorse the slap-celebrity-somewhere-in-the-title 21st century approach to early evening TV. Call me tasteless, but I think Celebrity Big Brother is good quality TV. It’s not Gus Van Sant, it’s not a Thomas Hardy novel, it’s not a retrospective exhibition of Howard Hodgkin, but it’s good quality TV.

This year’s batch of celebrities was varied and interesting. I only managed to tune in four times, but when I did watch I was impressed by Terry Christian’s humour and fascinated by Le Toya Jackon’s self-representation. Even Mutya Buena, one of the least popular housemates, I think is pretty cool. Sugababes formed when they were 13, were signed at 16, they have no formal qualifications, they dropped out of school, but still – what a life – to have toured the world as a popstar with a bunch of albums all before the age of 21!

Ken Russell’s decision to appear in Celebrity Big Brother in 2007, for me, proves the integrity and phantamorgasmic worth of the show.

Ulrika Jonsson is a proud mother of four, and was paid £170,000 to sit in a Jacuzzi for three weeks eating cheese on crackers. Who’s the joke on? Ulrika? Channel 4? The media? No - The booing acne-ridden 16 year olds with their Superdry jackets, super wet hair and lurid phone contracts. It is this same societal group who insist on employing their waistlines to tell us that Jesus loves us... Well thanks, I'm sure All Saints loves them for the £55 they spent on a button-pressed strap of crap.


Words: Jack Cullen

1 comment:

  1. It's also a triumph of the great British public over the bookies. They had Ulrika in 4th place at 14/1 as she went into the final. As you point out, obviously it's not the teenage girls booing in the crowd that vote in Celeb BB, especially when they probably won't have heard of anyone who's in it. It's my generation who were in their 20s when BB started and fell for Ulrika's charms on Gladiators and Shooting Stars when they were at uni. Let's hope the papers are a bit kinder to her now!

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