George Galloway’s Celebrity Big Brother appearance: From cat-impersonations to housemate insults

George Galloway has won a heated by-election, overshadowed by the war in Gaza, in Rochdale on Friday (1 March).

The Workers Party of Britain MP beat out Tory and Labour MPs to take the win, and dedicated his victory to Palestinians in the Gaza strip, saying Labour leader Keir Starmer had “woken up to his worst nightmare”.

But before the political maverick won his seventh election to Parliament, he was also known for starring on reality TV show, Celebrity Big Brother.

Galloway’s appearance on the programme became a viral meme before there existed the language to describe it as such.

He appeared on the fourth series of the TV programme in January 2006 alongside Michael Barrymore, Dennis Rodman, Pete Burns, Jodie Marsh and Rula Lenska.

The series was won by Chantelle Houghton, a non-celebrity sent in to trick her fellow contestants.

Galloway entered on the first day and was evicted after exactly 21 days in the Big Brother house. At the time of his appearance, he was an MP with the independent Respect party for Bethnal Green and Bow, and was booed upon entrance.

After he was challenged by a producer to mimic a pet, the politician threw himself into the challenge, getting down on all fours to act like a cat.


In the famous clip, he is seen asking, “Would you like me to be the cat?”, as he kneels before fellow contestant and Coronation Street actress Lenska, purring and pretending to lick milk from her cupped hands.

As well as the cat incident, other less lasting memories from his time on the show caused a stir at the time.

Galloway branded himself the most famous housemate worldwide as he insisted that he was known to every Muslim.

He referred to fellow contestant and glamour model, Jodie Marsh, as a “wicked person” and lambasted eventual winner, Chantelle Houghton, for referring to the Houses of Parliament as “the place with the green seats”.

In an article he wrote for The Independent, Galloway addressed his behaviour on the show including his performance as Lenska’s pet cat insisting the publicity had raised thousands for charity.


“My antics on Big Brother, which were actually the same stunts that BBC presenters and celebs get up for Children in Need, actually raised tens of thousands of pounds for the charity Interpal and paid for the wages of an extra caseworker in my constituency.”

He said he could live with the “cheap jibes” but could not tolerate the “deliberate misrepresentation of my election victory and Respect’s programme and ideology” in the opinion piece written in 2012.

The former Labour politician took 12,335 votes and has now become the only MP for the party he founded in 2019. Its number one pledge is to “end imperialist wars” and withdraw from Nato.