Big Brother 2016 in review: Our top 10 Best Bits of the year

Tiffany Pollard, Jayne Connery and Nikki and Tim are among our 2016 highlights
3 comments - Posted on December 29 2016 at 09:43pm

bbspy Top 10 Highlights of Big Brother in 2016 - including Tiffany Pollard, Tim Dormer, Nikki Grahame and Jayne Connery

Time to look back on Big Brother in 2016 as bbspy reveals its ten biggest highlights from the past year – including Tiffany Pollard, Jayne Connery, and BBCAN4 duo Nikki Grahame and Tim Dormer!

December is always a time for reflection, and we’ve already revealed the five most read news stories on bbspy from the past twelve months.

However, we know we’re, er, very critical about Big Brother (it comes from a place of love, honestly!), so we thought in the final days of 2016, it’d be nice to put a positive spin on the year by listing our ten Best Bits, ranging from the infamous ‘David’s dead’ moment to the biggest Elstree revamp in over a decade.

Most of the entries are from BBUK, but you won’t be surprised to hear a certain other country is at the top of the chart. (We said positive, not generous!)

Here are our favourite Big Brother things from 2016, in descending order…

10. The Brexit reveal

Big Brother 2016 - Andy West hosts BB News in task
Andy hosts the BB News task

As Big Brother purists, the thought of outside world news being revealed in the house normally sends shivers down our spines. (The Australian version handles this well: during the live final, the finalists are shown a package of news they’ve missed, and viewers get to watch their reactions.)

But seeing as 2016 was such a momentous year for news, and there was an actual newsreader in the house (Andy West was formerly a BBC anchor in Northern Ireland), we’ll let the producers off for announcing the results of the EU Referendum to the housemates in this summer’s ‘civilian’ series.

It was fascinating to watch their reactions to the bombshell Brexit vote after over 40 days in isolation – but even more fascinating to see Jackson congratulate Theresa May for becoming the UK’s first female Prime Minister. Who knew it was that easy to forget Margaret Thatcher?

9. Lateysha’s wardrobe malfunction

No list of 2016 best bits would be complete without the hilarious moment on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side when Rylan Clark-Neal asked Lateysha Grace to demonstrate her twerking – only for her tight denim dress to split open.

The clip went viral, getting picked up by news websites all over the world, and is destined to be a staple of embarrassing clip shows for years to come. We’re sure Lateysha’s thrilled!

8. Big Brother USA going Over The Top

Big Brother USA presenter Julie Chen
Big Brother USA presenter Julie Chen

The American Big Brother has been stagnating for while, but this Autumn, CBS remedied that with a new spin-off exclusive to its streaming service, All Access.

Big Brother: Over The Top broke new ground, becoming the first online-only edition of Big Brother in a Western market – and the first ever online edition anywhere to air 100% live (China’s first run was pre-recorded).

The houseguests were all there to play the game, and the rule book was torn up. While the typical USA format – Head of Household, Power of Veto etc – remained, America had much more power, making nominations, casting eviction votes, and even choosing the winner for the first time in sixteen years.

BBOTT also reaffirmed how important live feeds are to the Big Brother format. The main way to watch it was via the four 24-hour live streams – there was only one traditional edited episode per week.

Sadly it hasn’t inspired producers to make any changes to the regular version: they’ve confirmed that ‘BB’ and ‘BBOTT’ will be treated as separate shows. While it may be best to keep the heavy viewer involvement for BBOTT, they’d be wise to review what fans liked about it and subtly work that in to the main series.

7. Jason playing the game (whether he knew it or not)

Big Brother 2016 - Jason Burrill wins £20,000 during Annihilation week

Whether you think it’s right for BBUK bosses to deny viewers public votes for evictions or not (you can probably guess our thoughts on that one), there’s no denying that BB17’s ‘Annihilation’ week was incredibly gripping.

That was thanks to one man: a certain Mr. Jason Burrill, who nabbed £20,000 of the winner’s prize fund – and evicted the well-liked Lateysha in the process.

On BBUK, opportunities to properly play the game are rare, so when somebody spots one and uses it to shake up the house in a way no-one saw coming, viewers who appreciate Big Brother’s gameshow aspect find it utterly enthralling.

Chaos ensued, with all of Lateysha’s allies blasting Jason. He adamantly denied evicting her for strategic reasons – but did acknowledge that if he hadn’t taken the chance, someone else may have used it to evict him.

Jason’s decision was vindicated two weeks later when viewers crowned him the winner. Memo to future housemates: it’s the people outside the house that decide who’s deserving of the prize, not you…

6. Tiffany Pollard

Recently, Celebrity Big Brother has developed a tendency to cast American reality stars that are little-known on British shores. Thank goodness for that, otherwise the show may never have welcomed Tiffany ‘New York’ Pollard.

The Flavor of Love star was at the heart of the entertainment in January’s series, bringing a much-needed dash of sass to proceedings – such as when she snubbed Jeremy McConnell after face-to-face nominations.

But it was when Tiffany gave us one of the most jaw-dropping, outrageous and yet hilarious moments ever that she cemented her place in Big Brother folklore.

Almost twelve months on, we still don’t know what to make of the debacle that ensued when Angie Bowie revealed that “David’s dead” – and Tiffany assumed she meant their fellow housemate Gest rather than her ex-husband David Bowie.

Sure, not everything Tiffany did was to our tastes – there was no need for such a harsh argument after she realised Angie’s mistake – but she is now a CBB legend, which is why it’ll be tragic if she’s not back for the new All Stars series!

5. The Big Brother 2016 cast in general…

Big Brother 2016 final - the class of 2016

Every few years, the casting team for the ‘civilian’ Big Brother puts together a perfect mix of housemates – and they struck gold for its seventeenth series.

Not only did most of this year’s contestants have something to offer, there was also a varied mix of personalities and ages – the group had the oldest average age of every civilian BBUK to date (even the Channel 4 ones), and at 45, Jason is the oldest winner ever.

Low and behold, the consolidated ratings improved dramatically on last year: BB17 was proof positive that Big Brother always works best when it’s not just a holiday camp for 18-30s.

The producers may have failed to deliver on their promise that “the game is changing”, but the fantastic mix of housemates made the latest series one of Channel 5’s best (we reckon it’s second only to Secrets & Lies).

4. …but specifically Jayne Connery

However, one housemate that made a particular impression on us, and that was Jayne Connery. She may not have been as prominent as, say, Tiffany was, but it’s hard to imagine BB17 without Jayne and her memorable quotes.

Whether she was moaning about the state of the house (“I WOKE UP IN A S**THOLE!”), waging war on Natalie Rowe (“I’LL ANNIHILATE YOU!”), threatening to leave due to the lack of bread (“I’M GONNA BREAK THIS PLACE DOWN!”), or completely nailing secret missions, Jayne kept us in stitches throughout.

And of course, she gave us the most iconic rant of the series when she asked Big Brother: “ARE YOU ON DRUGS? ARE YOU F***ING ON DRUGS?!”.

Jayne was robbed with a sixth place exit on final night (she deserved at least third, like a lot of Big Brother legends), but at least that Diary Room moment will live on forever via the medium of GIFs!

3. The house and set finally getting some proper love

Big Brother 2016 - new live show set

2016 was the year that Channel 5 and Endemol finally dug deep enough into their pockets to find some spare cash for a complete revamp of the Big Brother compound at Elstree Studios.

It would have been good enough if they’d just changed the outdoor studio. While Channel 5’s signature design, dominated by its eye-shaped display, was excellent – and one that’s been much copied around the world – after five years it was beginning to look a bit samey.

Thankfully this year it was replaced with a new set, featuring a giant wraparound screen – and it’s a feast for the eyes, making the space truly feel like an arena.

But the top brass didn’t stop there, building an 838sqm extension on to the house itself. It was the Elstree building’s biggest change in fourteen years and something that it has long been crying out for, so major kudos to everyone involved for finally making it happen.

2. Big Brother Canada continuing to slay

Big Brother Canada 4 - BBCAN Grand

As positive as we’ve tried to be about BBUK and BBUSA here, there’s no escaping the realisation that Big Brother Canada leaves both trailing in the dust.

This seems impossible, but in four years of BBCAN there hasn’t been a single episode that hasn’t been thoroughly entertaining to watch. The start of each new season elicits the kind of excitement in us that the UK version did in its Channel 4 heyday.

It still hasn’t come up with a unique contribution to Big Brother’s library of twists, but what it does do well is take staple twists BBUSA has never dreamed of attempting and prove that yes, they actually can work in the American format.

In its fourth season, Canada fake evicted two contestants, Loveita and Kelsey, to a secret bedsit – something the USA has remarkably never done, because the person involved risked becoming an instant target on their return. Kelsey later re-entered the main house and ended up finishing in second place.

Meanwhile, two people were playing as one houseguest. Surely Nick and Phil would go quickly as they had an advantage? Wrong – they eventually won.

Of course, there was another reason that BBCAN4 was the best season yet…

1. Nikki Grahame and Tim Dormer

Big Brother Canada 4 wildcard results - Nikki Grahame and Tim Dormer

For years, we at bbspy have harboured a secret desire for Big Brothers UK, USA, Australia and Canada to join forces for an ‘international All Stars’ edition.

In 2016, Big Brother Canada came very close to making that dream true when they introduced four ‘wildcards’ from international editions of Big Brother and asked viewers to pick two to join the show as fully-fledged houseguests.

The lucky winners were two of our all-time favourite Big Brother housemates: Nikki Grahame, a bonafide all-star from the UK, and Tim Dormer, the mischievous winner of Big Brother Australia’s tenth run.

Separately, they were as brilliantly entertaining as they were in their original series. Tim quickly proved to be adept at BBCAN’s far more strategic format, and pulled off one of his trademark shock moves when he made all of the houseguests use gummy koalas to nominate during his reign as Head of Household.

Nikki, meanwhile, was the life and soul of the house. She had more of her signature tantrums, went on a rampage after being forced to eat ‘slop’, and even had a rival for Tim’s affections. (We’re thrilled she got to enjoy another positive Big Brother experience after her miserable two weeks as a guest on Timebomb.)

Together they were the odd couple, their relationship taking a hit when Tim voted to evict Nikki. Thankfully they now appear to be firm friends again, as #Tikki have spent the past few weeks together in Australia, sharing frequent updates on their Twitter pages.

Tim and Nikki are easily our Big Brother highlight of 2016. They’re the BB duo we never knew we needed – and we now love BBCAN even more (if that were possible) for putting them together.

Da'Vonne Rogers and Jason Roy

Update: Thought we should add an honourable mention for BBUSA bringing back two of our faves, Da’Vonne Rogers and Jason Roy. Congratulations Jason for making second place!

  • For our final ‘Big Brother 2016 in review’ article, we’ll be giving the BBUK producers some New Year’s Resolutions to help them improve the show in 2017. Stay tuned for that over the next few days!

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3 comments on this article

  1. Sam James says:
    Fri 30 Dec Reply !

    Nice list!

    Tiffany and Jayne are definitely two of my all-time favourites.

    BB17 was a great series. Such a shame they cut it short for easily the worst ever celeb series and the only series of BBUK I stopped watching.

  2. Brad says:
    Sat 31 Dec Reply !

    Praising Tim’s terrible game play on BBCAN4 (especially his HoH, which was the worst reign I had ever seen)? In Jayne’s words, “Are you on drugs? Are you F***ING ON DRUGS!?”

  3. lanky says:
    Mon 02 Jan Reply !

    Yes! Nikki and Tim are quite possibly the best Big Brother double act ever… hope they’re both in All Stars whenever it happens… Nikki should steer clear of BBUK now

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