It was the first live eviction. Which meant a first sighting for me (I missed the launch show) of Brian Dowling. Now it could be my imagination but I don’t remember him being quite so smooth. To clarify here I’m not referring to his delivery but to his forehead. He looked as though my grandmother had ironed him.
Ironed Brian welcomed us all with an off-putting mixture of hyper-exaggerated vocal intonation and minimalist facial expression - it was as if Arnold Schwarzzenger’s Terminator had opened his mouth and spoken with the voice of Janet Street Porter. But however he said it and however he didn’t show it, the moment of truth for Frankie, Paula and Speidi had arrived.
Or nearly arrived. First we had some highlights of previous day’s activity. The seemingly interminable food task was still ongoing now featuring Heidi and Paula guessing what other housemates had said about each other and then them being dumped in a gunge tank if they got it wrong. I’m old enough to remember when gunge tanks were confined to children’s television. (Actually I can remember when gunge tanks were confined solely to ITV children’s television like Tiswas - that august institution, the BBC never allowed gunge to feature on their more cerebral shows e.g. Swap Shop. The wackiest thing we got there was the sight of John Craven not wearing a tie.) Doubtless in twenty years Question Time will be conducted above a gunge tank with David Dimbleby poised to condemn any politicians whose answers fail to pass muster with the studio audience to a thorough dunking in gooey custard.
The gunge tank task did allow Paula to discover Gillian thought Paula had to have a better story/experience/nose for rotten chicken than anybody else – she is rumoured to have once gone to church in order to inform God she had thought of eleven commandments. Amazingly, Paula was the only person not to know about this character trait of hers and responded by prowling up and down the garden practicing her karate kicks. Not that she needed karate because as she told Lacey her eyes alone were enough to stop a deadly Spanish knife fight. It must simply be an oversight on her part not to have so far resolved the whole Israel/Palestine impasse.
As the camera’s focus on Paula intensified it was becoming obvious who those on the gantry had decided had to go. The Confuse People into Voting Frankie Out Strategy had obviously failed. So the producers had to choose between Paula and Speidi (if it is coming as a shock to you that the producers have way more influence on who goes than the voting public then I should probably additionally reveal that neither Santa Claus nor The Tooth Fairy exist and that, whatever George Osborne says ,we are not all in it together). Back to the producer’s dilemma. As I mentioned on my Saturday blog, women over 35 on reality TV shows are the equivalent of the guy in the red uniform who beamed down next to Kirk, Spock and Bones on Star Trek. Set phasers to doomed.
While I’m congratulating myself for my ability to predict the reality TV future (and oh what a proud boast that is) I should like to point out that Rylan did have his first cry last night (as his role requires) when he found out that Frankie didn’t like him on The X Factor. With a wonderful mix of self-pity and arrogance Rylan informed his comforters that such was the mistaken image of him out there he felt the need to visit every person in the UK to let them see he was really a nice guy. That’s right. Every person in the UK has an opinion about Rylan. And they’ve all got it wrong. No wonder he’s sniveling.
Back to the main show. The votes were totalled and Paula was out. And so we were once again lucky enough to witness the spectacle of a baying crowd who had waited for hours in the cold just for the opportunity to jeer at a middle-aged woman. Makes you proud to be British, doesn’t it?
Ironed Brian then conducted an “interview” with Paula - (he just robotically spouted questions and seemed almost entirely unaware of the answers). It was so inept it came close to making you hanker for the harsh banshee screech of Davina McCall. Not close enough though. How people watch her exercise videos, God Only Knows. I’d rather be fat.
There was one final twist. Spencer and Heidi were called into the diary room and told they were going to be required to shock their remaining housemates by pretending to walk out of the show. Spencer’s face lit up with pleasure. Finally, you could see him thinking, someone is giving me a storyline ; finally someone is telling me what to do. This, you could see he wanted to shout, this is reality.