Celebrity Big Brother 2018’s all-female launch line-up revealed

Ann Widdecombe and Amanda Barrie among one of show's oldest line-ups ever
- Posted on January 2 2018 at 11:57pm

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman launch - Maggie Oliver

Celebrity Big Brother 2018 has launched its ‘Year Of The Woman’ with one of the show’s oldest line-ups ever – including Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe and Coronation Street icon Amanda Barrie.

In a twist to mark 100 years since women first won the right to vote in the UK, the Channel 5 show’s 21st series has begun with only female housemates. They will live in the house by themselves for three days, before the male contestants arrive in a special live show on Friday.

The first housemate unveiled in tonight’s 90-minute launch show was former Conservative MP and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ann Widdecombe.

Ann admitted that she had only agreed to take part due to the twist, telling host Emma Willis: “It is very specifically because of the theme.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman launch - Ann Widdecombe

“I always said no in the past, and I was saying no this year, and then they said, ‘it is different, slightly more serious, it’s about women’s lib’. Eventually I said yes.”

The 70-year-old had viewers laughing as soon as she walked through the front doors, complaining about the decor. “Oh my goodness, looks like an IKEA showroom,” she gasped. “Look at these ghastly tables, absolutely no tradition. My house is entirely Sanderson!”

Next to arrive were Khloe Kardashian’s best friend and Keeping Up With The Kardashians star Malika Haqq, and journalist Rachel Johnson, whose involvement in the show was confirmed last week.

Housemate four was Ashley James, a DJ and influencer best known for appearing in Made In Chelsea, and five was India Willoughby, who has made her name as Britain’s first transgender newsreader.

“I’m like Doctor Who, I’ve regenerated,” she said. “I used to spend every single day worrying about my gender, I never think about it once now.”

The sixth entrant was Maggie Oliver, a former Detective Constable for Greater Manchester Police who notably exposed the Rochdale child sex abuse scandal.

Maggie has been described as a “non-celebrity” in the press, but has made media appearances to discuss her work, and was recently portrayed by Lesley Sharp in BBC drama Three Girls.

The group was completed by model and Ex On The Beach star Jess Impiazzi, and actress and Coronation Street legend Amanda Barrie.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018: Year Of The Woman launch - Amanda Barrie

The average age of the female contestants is 51, meaning the new line-up is currently one of the oldest in Big Brother history: only one housemate, 28-year-old Jess, is below 30.

However, Emma made a blunder when she incorrectly introduced 82-year-old Amanda as the “oldest ever celebrity housemate”, as this record is understood to be held by Lionel Blair.

Lionel claimed to be 82 when he took part in the 13th series in early 2014, but he revealed his true age to be 88 in December 2016, admitting that he previously used a fake age. Therefore, he was actually 85 during his CBB stint.

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