How Rylangate has destroyed Big Brother

55 comments - Posted on January 21 2013 at 06:00pm

Celebrity Big Brother 2013 eye - star

As Celebrity Big Brother 2013 fans react to the news that Rylan Clark has been leaving the house regularly for X Factor tour rehearsals, we explain why it’s another nail in the show’s coffin.

Oh dear. Who knew that it would be Kathy Beale that sparked the signature furore of this series of Big Brother?

This morning the lovely Gillian Taylforth unwittingly ignited the one of the biggest controversies in the show’s history by revealing that Rylan Clark has been regularly let out of the most famous house in Britain so he could honour his commitments to the talent contest.

Speaking on Channel 5’s long-running morning talkshow The Wright Stuff, she told of how he asked his ‘driver’ the time and relayed that information to the group, and later informed their ‘Mic Man’ Eric Johnson that the Essex lad routinely left every Sunday.

Just hours later, a spokesperson confirmed the news, but insisted that he hadn’t left the Elstree Studios site in Hertfordshire, and that he’d been accompanied by a member of staff.

Since Big Brother moved to Channel 5, it’s just about held up against the numerous criticisms that have emerged – the lack of live feed, the alleged nominations tampering, and the fact that Conor McIntyre was able to leave last year’s normal series £50,000 richer despite his threats of physical and sexual abuse towards Deana Uppal.

But now, any shred of credibility left in the Big Brother format in the UK has been destroyed, and here we explain the three main reasons why.

The ‘no contact with the outside world’ rule is now null and void

The single most crucial point of the Big Brother format – even more so than live feed – is that housemates are isolated in the house and filmed 24 hours a day, with no ways of contacting the outside world.

This should be sacrosanct. Not even the catch-all excuse ‘Big Brother reserves the right to change the rules at any time’ can justify changes to it.

Nonetheless, they’re rules that have been stretched to breaking point over the years. Housemates have left for tasks, housemates have left to do the shopping. The house has even been opened up for a celebrity red carpet film premiere.

But at least those instances had always been on Big Brother’s terms. Until now, trips out the house have never been dictated by a housemate, contractual obligations or not. And no, this isn’t just because it’s Rylan – anyone could be in his shoes and it’d still be a problem.

Now that this line has been crossed, Big Brother is no longer Big Brother. If contestants are going to be allowed out to work, why lock them up at all?

Z-list celebrities are now regarded as bigger than the show

Over the years, producers have made a number of concessions to get celebrities in the house – to name two, private bedrooms and the ability for pairs to be counted as one housemate.

Otherwise, even the biggest names – Vinnie Jones, Verne Troyer, Jermaine and La Toya Jackson – have had to take part in accordance with Big Brother’s rule book.

But never before has one of these concessions compromised the Big Brother format. And this is for X Factor reject Rylan Clark – who doesn’t even regard himself as a celebrity.

Was he really that essential to the success of this series that producers had to get him in at any cost? We’d be willing to wager that there are other stars out there just as entertaining as Rylan whose presence in the house would not have made a mockery of the show.

This sets a worrying precedent for the future – if some bloke off a talent show who’ll most likely be forgotten in five months time can secure such a significant privilege, what will the next batch of nobodies be able to get away with?

We can’t trust the producers at all any more

By far the worst thing about this debacle is that producers have covered it all up. Viewers have been spending their hard-earned money voting to save Rylan while under the misleading impression that he’s been living in the house 24 hours a day.

If chiefs had been honest and even just briefly mentioned Rylan’s absences on the programme, any defence they mounted would have been a little more credible. But the fact that they haven’t come clean until today leaves them without a leg to stand on.

This isn’t a housemate leaving for medical treatment or to learn of the sad death of a loved one. This is the most significant breach of the Big Brother format to date.

Spin-off show Bit On The Side has promised to address the issue tonight in what will no doubt be an attempt to gloss it over before they pretend it never happened. But faith in Big Brother is at an all time low and it’s going to take a major shift in attitude among the top brass to restore it.

> Click here to read a selection of viewer responses to Rylangate

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55 comments on this article

  1. janice heggie says:
    Wed 23 Jan Reply !

    he had contact with paula as well she told him he was doing great and they liked what he was doing after he asked her

  2. TempestWylde says:
    Thu 24 Jan Reply !


    Meh. I just don’t get invested in the Celebrity version except character wise…

    I think Rylan was pretty much the favourite from day one so IMO his leaving the house didn’t really have much of an impact in the short bursts that he did.

    It has to be realised that all *reality* shows are manipulated by the producers and editors. They place people in certain tasks for certain reasons so people see the character that they expect. They desperately wanted a character who was incredibly “current” in his popularity and were willing to stretch the rules to accommodate him.

  3. TempestWylde says:
    Thu 24 Jan Reply !


  4. Christina Chance says:
    Thu 24 Jan Reply !


    We don’t know how Rylan leaving the house effects the other HMS. What he is seeing or doing while out. If they can accommodate him, why not let Claire or others see their kids or phone calls. We would never have to know. As we wouldn’t have known if Gillian hadn’t let it slip!! I am sure his leaving the house and coming back after singing and dancing. His spirits would be very high. Possibly smoking decent cigarettes and eating his favourite food or snacks while he is out.

  5. andrew says:
    Fri 25 Jan Reply !

    Big deal if rylan has been let out the house for a few rehearsals. What’s all the fuss about – get a life ! The show would have been rubbish if rylan or spidey wasn’t in the show as all the other celebs that were in it was lifeless. Rather than going on and on about rylan being out for a few hours to do rehearsals maybe we should be consider the terrible presenting style of brian downling and his annoying mannerisms and persona. He spoils the live eviction shows and is a terrible presenter. End of.

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