Exclusive: bbspy tours the Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 house!

See our pictures and read backstage gossip from a special launch night event
3 comments - Posted on August 2 2017 at 11:05pm

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Eye logo on the screen in the lounge

bbspy attended the Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 launch last night, and even had an exclusive tour of the new look house! Read on for behind-the-scenes photos and gossip, and our verdict on the live show…

It’s been seven long years since bbspy was last in the Big Brother audience. So, when the lovely folks at Endemol Shine got in touch to invite us to the latest Celebrity launch, we couldn’t get there fast enough!

Yesterday, several lynchpins of the BB online community descended on Elstree Studios for a special event. It was a pleasure to meet our fellow fansites Big Blagger, Big Brother 24/7, The Bite and Reality Box, podcasters from Big Brother Radio and BB On Blast, and avid tweeter and friend of bbspy @AlfieS12.

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Exterior of the Big Brother compound at Elstree Studios

What made our gathering extra exciting is that we weren’t just there for the live show: we were also let loose-ish in the actual Big Brother house!

As regular readers will know, this isn’t the first time we’ve been inside TV’s most famous abode. However, there is something extra special about going in on celebrity launch night – knowing that, within hours, it will become home to some of the finest Z-list reality stars the UK (and USA) has to offer.

Although there was a sense of who would be going in (our fingers were crossed for the Girls Aloud rumour), having had years of practise, the BBUK team is very good at not giving away secrets. If they’re tight-lipped with the celebs themselves, they’re certainly not going to let anything slip to the thirsty fans!

We did see the celebs’ suitcases being wheeled in to the store room, but unfortunately, the luggage tags didn’t give anything away. Crew members use code names to refer to the housemates before they are unveiled. This time the theme was fast food and sweet treats – we can only guess who this lot were…

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - exclusive launch night house tour: Luggage tags showing the housemates' code names

Luggage tag images courtesy @BB_Superfan

After putting plastic bags over our shoes – everything’s got to be kept pristine for the celebs, dahling – we set foot in the house, via the camera run. As there had only been four days to transform the building in to the high-end, hotel-like retreat promised for the new series, it was a hive of activity. While we were there, camera operators were filming the brief shots of the house you see during the time inserts in the highlights shows (*Marcus Bentley voice* Daaay 4, 7.30am).

But there was another surprise waiting for us: Bit On The Side presenter Rylan Clark-Neal, who decided to tag along the grand tour! Of course, we got loads of exclusive pictures, and heard some interesting tittle tattle along the way…

Our first impression was that the new look was an overwhelming improvement on the ‘British village’ theme of the preceding civilian series, which looked incredible to begin with, but quickly became a bit of an eyesore. We were also surprised at how much it had changed in less than four days – this is the most extensive redesign for a summer CBB yet.

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Dining tables in the kitchen

TV sets are often a lot smaller in real life than they appear on-screen – and although this house looks spacious on camera, it does have a slightly claustrophobic vibe, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom. Some fans have questioned why there’s two smaller dining tables, but while one long table probably would have fit, it didn’t feel like the kitchen had been designed with that in mind. (We tried out one of those chairs, and they’re not as hideously uncomfortable as they look.)

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Bean bags in the garden

Since the official press photos were released, bosses had filled some empty space in the garden with a few bean bags. It seems they’ve deliberately chosen to keep the outdoor area sparse after cluttering it for the ‘civilians’: not only do staff keep working on the house up to the moment the cameras start rolling, the execs keep reviewing its design once the housemates are inside.

You may have noticed a few things went missing from the BB18 house after launch, such as the mannequins and the café tables in the lounge. In the case of its garden, while the fences and hedges looked good to begin with, they were literally removed because they prevented the housemates from running amok.

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Blossom Suite bedroom

It turns out that the wood effect flooring in Rose Cottage – sorry, Forest Suite – is actually carpet. (Big Brother loves his unusual flooring – you may remember that the grey bits in the Power Trip garden were actually fake grass.) Meanwhile, the spirit of Thorn Cottage lives on: although its replacement, Blossom Suite, has been stripped of the shabby chic decor enjoyed by the likes of Raph and Chanelle, it was the most pleasant bedroom to be in – certainly the one we’d choose!

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Blossom Suite toilet

Our chaperones were surprised that people were so eager to take pics of the toilets, but of course this is a Celebrity series, when such areas of the house are off-limits for the cameras – so enjoy this shot of the Blossom Suite loo, because it’s probably the first and last time you’ll see it!

Unfortunately we didn’t get a peek in the Diary Room, as it wasn’t ready in time. When it was revealed on the @bbuk Twitter page, there was a reaction of disappointment: it is essentially just the BB18 Diary Room with a reupholstered chair, and it certainly doesn’t suit the ‘resort’ feel of the rest of the house.

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Bathroom

However, as we soon discovered, there was a practical reason why it hasn’t been given a bigger makeover. Word backstage was that this series of CBB was originally supposed to launch later this week – but the powers that be brought the date forward, meaning that while major changes have been made, corners had to be cut somewhere.

Accordingly, though you won’t see them on the show, there are still one or two hallmarks remaining from the United Kingdom of Big Brother. For instance, here’s what’s left of the hanging plants at the top of the staircase!

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Hanging plant leftovers from the BB18 house

Although we have been in the house before, it’s never occurred to us to press the eye-conic Diary Room button. Yesterday we remedied that, and were surprised there isn’t some sort of cover on it: those little lights are raised from the surface, and you can feel every one of them. (Fortunately, nobody did a Paul Danan by accidentally pressing the fire alarm!)

On the subject of Diary Rooms, we’d like to pay our respects to last summer’s ‘egg slicer’ style chairs – arguably the best of the Channel 5 era. You’d expect that BB’s most iconic pieces of furniture would find good homes when they’re no longer needed – but unfortunately those chairs were destroyed and ended up in a skip. What a tragedy!

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Diary Room Button

Soon it was time to depart the house – but we found that wasn’t the only thing that got upgraded when the extension and new studio were built last year. Just outside, the production gallery for the live shows is now located in a much fancier, glass-fronted hut.

Afterwards, we were taken back to our holding area in Elstree’s famous George Lucas Stage. Although Big Brother moved to a portakabin village when it was taken over by Channel 5, the show does still have some facilities in the GLS – including Emma Willis’s dressing room, and the green room we occupied.

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Live show gallery

It was here that, as everyone was furiously tweeting their pictures, the one and only Rylan dropped by for an extensive natter.

He is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, and we can’t imagine a better presenter for BOTS. Hosts are best when they’re completely invested in their show, and while what was said at Elstree stays at Elstree, we can confirm that he is ‘one of us’ – a genuine superfan.

Rylan feels a lot of our pain, and could talk about BB for hours on end – indeed he kept the chat going even after his producer tried to drag him away to rehearsals!

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: View of the lounge from the Blossom Suite bedroom window

Eventually we took our places on the outdoor set for the live launch show. It’s the smallest set Big Brother has ever had, but it really does feel like an arena – the gigantic LED screens are a feast for the eyes.

We noticed the buzzing drone that took the overhead shots, and exactly how wobbly the double staircase is – suffice to say, it’s probably not a good idea to run up it, and it’s clear now why a security guard had to escort Chanelle and Ellie down the rain-soaked steps during their eviction.

It’s obviously disheartening to be part of the crowd when it boos, particularly on launch night, but it can be an amazing experience when the reception is good. When Gogglebox favourite Sandi Bogle emerged on stage, the atmosphere was absolutely electric – if the crowd reaction decided the winner, she’d be a dead cert.

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Live show set

Perhaps the most important thing we learned from our behind-the-scenes visit was that the Big Brother crew genuinely do not mind the constant criticism it gets.

Having been relentlessly outspoken about what Big Brother has become, especially in the last few years, we wouldn’t have been surprised if the bosses had become fed up with us.

However, all of the fans and sites we shared our launch night experience with have slated the show to some extent – and yet the staff couldn’t have been nicer.

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - bbspy exclusive launch night house tour: Live show set

You can rest assured that all feedback is logged and shared with execs at the highest level, even if they rarely take action on it.

Fortunately, the new Celebrity series is showing some positive signs. Its housemate line-up is potentially one of the best ever: some of the names are scraping the barrel (does anybody in the UK care about some bloke off The Bachelorette?), there are some more exciting zelebs (Derek Acorah, Helen Lederer) to balance them out, and we’re thrilled to see two of our favourite popstars, Amelia Lily and Sarah Harding, giving it a bash.

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2017 - Launch night arrivals

It’s a shame, then, that the tired earpiece launch twist was wheeled out for the umpteenth time – even if Barry from EastEnders is the perfect candidate for it – and it infuriates us that there’s been Ex On The Beach and Ibiza Weekender stars on both Celebrity and ‘civilian’ BB this year.

What, did you think a house tour would buy our silence? As if!

Many thanks to Endemol Shine for inviting us! Celebrity Big Brother continues nightly throughout August on Channel 5 and 3e

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3 comments on this article

  1. poemgate says:
    Sun 06 Aug Reply !

    sandi said in saturdays show and i quote ” some people can take what you say ” my question to you is – do you agree with this comment or are you disgusted by it ?

    sandi’s comment – agreed with or disgusted by ? 06.08.17

    a great observation
    26 mins into the show
    before the club and exclusive reservation
    sandi and the no drink were the flow.
    what a great understanding
    paid off is life and the skill
    some people can take what you say was landing
    down my back was sandi’s chill.
    the picking game was tension
    put everyone in trouble
    they say best is prevention
    a bit like derek and seeing the double.
    it was worked through
    3 VIP’S were picked
    eating food from the deep blue
    paul derek and helen all ticked.
    great privilege is power
    these VIP’S will command
    you just no its going sour
    even if its not available on 5demand.
    not happy was karthik
    on pauls pronunciation
    saturdays show was just sick
    sundays show will be watched with a 10pm reservation.

  2. Mike New says:
    Sun 06 Aug Reply !

    Paul appears to be an uncouth grade 1 racist prig in my opinion.

  3. poemgate says:
    Mon 07 Aug Reply !

    I have got my winner and not 1 week over yet but will it change ?

    pizzagate – winninggate = highgate delivery to ethel skinner resident 07.08.17

    i have got my winner
    sunday was the delivery
    i am dot and trisha is ethel skinner
    CBB code is my shivery.
    it was put on a plate
    even if it was not instant lust
    choosing food to leaving did not infuriate
    it showed trisha to have a deep inner stuffed crust.
    excellent was the rant
    genuine was the leaving
    staying will make trisha pant
    entertainment we will be receiving.
    can anyone support
    or is my trisha love flannel
    just rang pizza hut and ready to deport
    the only catch is for me to perform on trishas channel.

    ( can anyone tell me what soap ethel skinner was from and is she a highgate resident worthy of delivery ? )

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