Top 10 most shocking 'Celebrity Big Brother' moments of all time

Celebrity Big Brother’s race row was one of its lowest points (Rex/Shutterstock)
Celebrity Big Brother’s race row was one of its lowest points (Rex/Shutterstock)

Love Island is over and Strictly Come Dancing is still a distant spot on the horizon, but there’s something juicy to get your teeth into this August – series 22 of Celebrity Big Brother.

The celebrity spin-off of the reality TV juggernaut has long since overtaken the original show in popularity, and is known for providing us with some of the most controversial moments ever seen on TV.

We look back at 10 times that the famous contestants scratched the glossy surface of celebrity life and showed us their most shocking behaviour.

Vanessa Feltz has a meltdown

One of the most memorable moments in Celebrity Big Brother’s history came during series one, when TV and radio presenter Vanessa Feltz found the pressure of round-the-clock live coverage too much to bear.

Back then, CBB only lasted for eight days, but by day three Vanessa was already beginning to crack under the strain and being nominated for eviction proved to be the final straw. Vanessa had a meltdown, scribbling a sweary stream of consciousness across the table in chalk.

Les Dennis is feeling down

Les Dennis struggled with his emotions (PA Images)
Les Dennis struggled with his emotions (PA Images)

It’s difficult to think of a sadder sight from CBB than poor old Les Dennis quietly contemplating his future as a single man.

The TV presenter’s eight-year marriage to actress and now Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden had hit the rocks before he became a series two housemate, and the pain of the impending split was etched across his face.

Later, Les wrote in his autobiography Must the Show Go On? about the difficulties they’d faced over her affair with Neil Morrissey, and how she had apparently joked about Neil as a surprise housemate in their farewell meeting before the series began.

Explaining how Amanda had recorded a congratulatory message for his exit rather than being there to welcome him, he wrote: “That was my defining moment. As viewers watched me watch her jabber on about my amazing honesty, the words ‘I love you and I’m proud of you’ never crossing her lips, I came to the final decision that this charade of a marriage was over.”

Racism row

Shilpa Shetty was bullied by other housemates (YouTube/PA Images)
Shilpa Shetty was bullied by other housemates (YouTube/PA Images)

The most uncomfortable series ever to air was number five, which was ruled by a shameful bullying campaign against Indian actress Shilpa Shetty.

Her tormentors were the late Jade Goody, S Club 7’s Jo O’Meara, and Wag Danielle Lloyd, who fired out a barrage of racist insults to Shilpa which sparked 44,500 Ofcom complaints, and the cancellation of the next year’s series.

Shilpa went on to win the series and was enormously dignified in the face of the bullying, even forgiving her housemates, but the incident tarnished both the show and the three women.

Rula Lenska wants George Galloway to be the cat

Sometimes, housemates throw themselves a little too heartily into the CBB challenges, as this cringeworthy exchange between politician George Galloway and actress Rula Lenska demonstrated.

The task involved playing a pet cat, and as George uttered the now-immortal line “would you like me to be the cat?”, the weirdness began.

He got down on all fours, purred, and laid his head in her lap, whilst she rubbed imaginary cream from his whiskers and stroked his head and ears.

Constituents of George, who at the time was the Respect Party MP for Bethnal Green, were mortified by his actions, as was just about everyone watching.

Pete Burns’ coat of shame

Pete Burns’ choice of coat landed him in trouble (PA Images)
Pete Burns’ choice of coat landed him in trouble (PA Images)

Late Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns had barely stepped out of the car delivering him to the house door when he kicked off one of the biggest rows of series four.

Pete claimed to be wearing a gorilla-skin coat, which lead to police being called to the compound to run tests on the origin of his jacket.

As it turned out, the coat was not gorilla but had been made from the skin of another endangered species – the colobus monkey. But because it was a vintage item from before trade in the animal’s fur became illegal, he was only booed rather than prosecuted.

Mutya Buena brands Coolio not cool

Mutya Buena was unimpressed with Coolio (PA Images)
Mutya Buena was unimpressed with Coolio (PA Images)

Sugababes star Mutya Buena quit series six right after surviving an eviction, claiming that she felt too homesick to stay on the show.

But Mutya’s real reason for wanting out became apparent when she opened up about rapper and housemate Coolio’s unacceptable behaviour.

Mutya, at the time 23, told the Daily Mirror of the 45-year-old: “The producers should have stepped in to stop this earlier. Coolio is just a dirty old man who is old enough to be my father. He’s a sex pest who would perv on me all the time. It just made my skin crawl.”

Jim Davidson, CBB’s least popular winner

Jim Davidson defied the odds with his win (PA)
Jim Davidson defied the odds with his win (PA)

The final of series 13 was utterly bizarre because it saw Jim Davidson crowned the winner. In a public vote.

Jim’s comedy routine is openly sexist and racist, his autobiography contains tales of how he was violent towards one of his ex wives, and he had previously been kicked out of reality show Hell’s Kitchen for making homophobic comments to fellow contestant Brian Dowling, a former winner of Big Brother.

Somehow, though, the voting public had a collective memory blank and chose Jim as their winner, who emerged from the house grinning at his good fortune.

Christopher Biggins gets the boot

Biggins managed to change the public’s opinion of him…for the worse (PA)
Biggins managed to change the public’s opinion of him…for the worse (PA)

How the mighty fell when actor Christopher Biggins arrived in the CBB house in 2016, nine years after his 2007 I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! win.

Biggins had enjoyed national treasure status after being crowned King of the Jungle and looked set to be a favourite in the house.

Things took a much darker turn when he made slurs about bisexual people and was removed from the show for allegedly making highly offensive comments to Jewish contestant Katie Waissel.

Do not cross Kim Woodburn

Kim Woodburn spent most of her time in the house arguing (PA)
Kim Woodburn spent most of her time in the house arguing (PA)

You might think that being a cleaning expert would make Kim Woodburn an ideal person to live with for a few weeks.

But housemates were reeling when they experienced the full force of Kim’s temper in series 19, where she entered late and immediately fell out with Jamie O’Hara, Bianca Gascoigne, Calum Best, Jedward, Jessica Cunningham and Chloe Ferry.

What most of us will remember Kim for are her vicious arguments with Nicola McLean, some of the worst CBB has seen.

Sexual harassment in series 15

Jeremy Jackson’s CBB experience ended in a police caution (PA)
Jeremy Jackson’s CBB experience ended in a police caution (PA)

The behaviour from some of the male housemates in 2015 was utterly appalling and even ended in a police caution for one of them.

Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton made himself as irritating as possible to get the most screen time, but took things too far when he threatened to lick Katie Hopkins and apparently asked her to perform a sex act on him in an unaired exchange.

But actor Jeremy Jackson was removed from the show after pulling open Chloe Goodman’s dressing gown and received a formal police caution.

Celebrity Big Brother series 22 begins on Thursday, August 16 at 9pm on Channel 5.

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