Features

Exclusive: What we found out in the Celebrity Big Brother 2018 house

bbspy brings you all the gossip from our latest tour of the Elstree Studios abode
1 comment - Posted on January 4 2018 at 10:31pm

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Garden

Celebrity Big Brother 2018 is here, and on Tuesday bbspy was let loose in the new house to get the lowdown on the Year of the Woman – here are six things we found out on our exclusive tour!

The first week of the New Year can be quite depressing, but January also heralds the return of Celebrity Big Brother, and Endemol Shine had just the trick to banish our post-Christmas blues: a trip to Elstree Studios!

Tuesday saw the start of the 21st series of CBB, and to mark the occasion, the production company invited bbspy along to an exclusive tour of Britain’s most famous house for fansites and social media superfans.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Big Brother compound

We were reunited with our pals Big Blagger, Big Brother 24/7, Big Brother Radio, BB On Blast and @AlfieS12, allowing us to see how the abode has changed in the five months since we were last there for the summer series.

There were also some new faces: @namols_, a regular member of the live show audience, and Dave Wol, the YouTuber behind last year’s hilarious Kim Woodburn and Paul Danan Ribena remixes.

Leading the way was our extra-special tour guide, Big Brother’s Bit On The Side presenter Rylan Clark-Neal. Rylan eats, sleeps and breathes Big Brother and could talk to anyone about it for hours on end. He was genuinely thrilled to see everyone, and it’s an honour to be in his company.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - eye on lounge screen

Of course, this time, things were slightly different. This is no ordinary series of Celebrity Big Brother: it’s the Year of the Woman, beginning with only female housemates – the men will arrive on Friday, three days late.

It was also ladies’ night for the crowd: not a single man was allowed in the audience, meaning that unlike last time, we had to watch the launch show in the Elstree Studios bar. (Given the amount of rain over Borehamwood, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.)

Even the housemates’ own male guests were banned from the set: Ann Widdecombe’s agent and Rachel Johnson’s sons were among the friends and family gathered around the TV with us.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - living area

Throughout the night we found out plenty of gossip from the BB team, but while we’ve been sworn to secrecy on some of it, here are six things we can share.

1. The blackboard and chalk shopping list IS back

A LOT of Big Brother fans rejoiced when it emerged that this series, housemates will again be using a blackboard and chalk to write down their shopping lists.

During Power Trip in 2014, supplies were ordered on touchscreen tablets as part of a product placement deal with Microsoft. This deal later expired, but the system remained in place, just without branding.

We consider ourselves BB purists, but this has never particularly bothered us, although it did result in fewer shopping-related arguments making it to air.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Food in the store room

Ahead of our journey to Elstree Studios, we shared some information from a day-old The Sun article on Twitter, revealing the return of the blackboard.

The tweet caused a bit of a stir, so naturally we had to get to the bottom of the matter for ourselves, and it’s good news: the blackboard IS indeed back.

There won’t be any budget bust-ups for a while though: the housemates arrived to a stock room piled high with debranded groceries. That might be why the Tesco next door felt a little empty when we popped in afterwards!

2. The Diary Room is bright and uncomfortable

When the brand new Diary Room was revealed for the first time on Good Morning Britain, there was a collective sigh of relief, as it turned out to be a vast improvement on the last one.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Diary Room button and door

Although the house became a relaxing spa retreat for the last CBB in August, it retained the countryside-themed confessional from the preceding ‘civilian’ run, with the chair simply reupholstered in red. (To be fair, the producers had little time to revamp it, but still, an ugly Diary Room is an ugly Diary Room.)

However, the new Diary Room has proven instantly iconic thanks to its behemoth of a chair, which is actually less of a chair and more of an imposing angled sculpture with a seat embedded in the middle.

Having tried it out, we can confirm it is very uncomfortable: it looks plush, with its padded velvet covering, but you can really feel the frame beneath.

The lights facing the chair also seemed brighter than ever, no doubt thanks to the dark blue colour of the room.

3. Rylan is a budding press photographer

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Diary Room

While that may bother anyone living in the house, as viewers, we couldn’t care less. In fact, our only quibble with the new Diary Room is that Channel 5 has decided not to release an official photo, so during our time in the house, we set out to take our own picture.

Not only did Rylan accompany the superfans on the grand tour, he also personally ensured that everyone got a turn in the Diary Room.

When we explained what we wanted to do, he was right on it, offering to take our snap as he “knows all the good angles”. Therefore, Rylan is now bbspy‘s unofficial press photographer, and we have to credit the above image to him.

Afterwards, a producer did go in to the Diary Room to take the closest thing we’ll get to an official photo of the chair: one with Rylan sitting in it, as featured in this embedded Tweet.

4. The second bedroom is better than the first

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Second Bedroom

Another area of the house we aren’t getting proper photos of is the second bedroom, which has been named the ‘Pankhurst Bedroom’ after suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst (the first bedroom is the ‘Davison Bedroom’, after Emily Davison).

Fortunately, it was open for business during our tour, and once again we felt the former ‘Thorn Cottage’ to be superior to the other sleeping quarters (not least because it doesn’t have the massive window overlooking the living area).

If Ann Widdecombe thought the house looked too much like IKEA already, she probably balked when she saw the second bedroom, which, like the Swedish flag, is decorated in blue and yellow.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Second Bedroom

Nonetheless, the greater sense of privacy makes it feel more cosy, and we love the tree-trunk effect lightboxes on the walls.

Although the house wasn’t inhabited when we were present, there were a load of make-up and beauty products lying around the place.

5. Some tweaks have been made to the decor

Big Brother fans know that the design of the house is constantly reviewed right down to the most minute details, even once the cameras have started rolling.

The eagle-eyed among you have already noticed that a change occurred while the official press pictures were being taken: one of the lounge photos features a plush purple sofa, but in another shot it had been replaced by an aqua one.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Lounge

We found out that, while bosses loved the look of the purple sofa, it came across too dark on camera, so had to be swapped out.

The incessant tweaking is apparently the reason the second bedroom wasn’t revealed with the rest of the house: it underwent a complete repaint before it was finally made public.

It’s not all attention to detail, however: while entering the Diary Room, we noticed some grass stuck to the walls that had been left over from the summer!

6. Rachel Johnson’s involvement was deliberately revealed early

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Bedroom from lounge

One of Big Brother’s long-established precedents is that the identities of housemates are never confirmed until they enter the house.

Since 2015, however, Channel 5 has occasionally bent this rule, and this series fans were surprised by the reveal of one solitary member of the female line-up: Boris Johnson’s sister, journalist Rachel Johnson.

It came on the same day that the Daily Mail published a column in which Rachel admitted herself that she’d be taking part, prompting speculation that the news had leaked, and the official announcement was an attempt to own the blunder.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Bedroom

However, that was not the case: it turns out that bosses deliberately planned to reveal one housemate in an effort to get people talking about the new series.

They have just repeated this move for the imminent arrival of the men. On Tuesday’s Bit On The Side, Rylan confirmed that one of them is footballing legend John Barnes, a signing that we’re quite excited about.

The Year of the Woman has been intriguing so far: Big Brother is known for holding a mirror up to society, and it has been fascinating to watch the conversations about topics such as the Weinstein scandal, which other shows would never dare to confront – and even CBB itself has shunned in recent years.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman - bbspy exclusive house tour - Bathroom

We do hope, however, that Big Brother hasn’t lost his fun factor, as it is crucial to a good series.

Thank you once again to Endemol Shine for inviting us, and the BB staff for being so lovely and welcoming (despite our constant criticism of the show!)

Celebrity Big Brother: Year Of The Woman continues nightly throughout January on Channel 5 and 3e, with Bit On The Side following the main show on weeknights.



Like this? Read these...


1 comment on this article

  1. hinterfeld says:
    Sat 13 Jan Reply !

    nice design


Add a comment

Comment with a bbspy Profile: Log In Sign Up
Comment Avatar

(required, kept private)
:wink: :up: :tongue: :straight: :shock: :sad: :heart: :happy: :grin: :envy: :down: :doh: :cry: :conf:
?

By posting your comment you acknowledge and agree to our comment rules.
Click here to find out how to get an avatar!