Just 24 days of isolation can send a person mad.
Yet, somehow, I’ve just about clung to sanity, unlike the increasingly warped and clinically disturbed inhabitants of Channel 5’s secure holding facility Big Brother, which in no time has become a house of horrors.
The worst is Wayne Rooney’s ex-hooker Helen Wood, a scowl personified who’d argue with a broom if she thought it would get the hump and turns menacing, like David Banner into the Incredible Hulk, at the drop of alcohol.
By day, a mild-mannered former prostitute.
By night? A volatile, aggressive, profanity-spewing crate of Tennent’s Super lager who’s been formally warned of her behaviour by exasperated producers paying the penalty for one twist too many.
Short of being kicked out, a concrete possibility at time of going to press, Helen’s in for the whole summer, having benefited from C5’s brainwave of awarding one housemate a guaranteed place in the final.
In the meantime, the daily highlights follow a pattern, with half an hour of sweetness and light preceding a continuity announcer warning of “strong language and tempers flaring”.
I could give an example of Helen’s rants, including the little madam’s threat to “smash someone’s face in”, but I’d run out of asterisks.
So here’s Matthew, the victim of her outburst on Wednesday: “She thrives on confrontation, overpowering people, dominating arguments. And before you know it she’s shouting in my face, screaming at me, forming sentences that aren’t grammatically correct...”
At which point I would have snapped.
There’s no shortage of villains and morons...
Nodding Churchill dog Winston. Crushing ego Ash. Perma-frown Playboy Bunny Kimberly. Psychic tea-leaves pillock Mark.
Indoors sunglasses wearer Steven who, until she was evicted, developed Norman Bates fixation tendencies on mother-hen Pauline and vowed on learning somebody had nominated them both: “I will have my time with the person who’s done this. I will dispose of them.”
Don’t take a shower while he’s around.
And “Hurricane” Toya, a “TV presenter” who talks like Marsellus Wallace telling Bruce Willis’s boxer Butch to take a dive in Pulp Fiction, only twice as scary.
The rest are sheep apart from Chris, my favourite from day one, whose way with words is the one bright light: “Winston is pretty vacant. He’s like an abandoned car.”
“Christopher runs on obsolete software. He’s nearly a functioning human being but something’s not right.”
“It’s like West Side Story in here.” Only with too few flick-knives.
Chris aside, the series is one dull, repetitive, endless row.
Celebrity Big Brother is the only format worth making yet C5 persists with the public version, which feeds off lies: “There aren’t enough Danielles in the world.” “I (Toya) am not the kind of person who looks for arguments.” “Helen can’t be that unbalanced, otherwise she wouldn’t be in here.”
The housemates have disconnected from reality, something Jale (pronounced Jale) tried to cling onto on day 11: “Did you sleep alright, Chris? Apart from the 9.45 train from Borehamwood, stopping at Completely Inconsiderate, Hasn’t Got a Clue, No Self-Awareness and Literally Needs to Get a Grip.”
Perfect for a train wreck of a series.
Not even a lifetime’s spiritual contemplation could fully prepare Brazilian monk Father Adelcio.
“When he arrived he stared at my cassock, asked if he could touch it, even sniffed it. I soon realised he’s completely clueless.”
It’s Educating Joey Essex where ITV2’s prize prat (a competitive category) sunbathed on Rio’s famous “Barack Obama” beach, thought he was in the Bahamas and Portugal and concluded “the most dangerous thing about favelas” is a salon blow-dry.
Go back and wave some cash around, Joe. Just to be sure.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...
Lionel Messi’s genius.
Miko the orang-utan forcing Born In The Wild’s Mark Evans into an emergency descent from Borneo’s treetops with the immortal words: “Look at him go! Oh, he’s on the rope. He’s eating it...” “ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!”
ITV’s Tour de France trailer, with music by the awesome Caravan Palace.
Defiant Ian Wright returning to Brazil after his family’s knifepoint ordeal: “Of course I’ve got to come back. It’s the World Cup.”
EastEnders’ Alfie and Terry in drag on the stall giving a terrifying glimpse of the female half of Abba after 30 years of steroid abuse.
And BBC Wimbledon’s John McEnroe declaring Grigor Dimitrov’s success is because: “Girlfriend Maria Sharapova’s competitive juices are rubbing off on him.” Well, it would motivate me.
Compare and contrast.
ITV’s World Cup wordsmith Gabriel Clarke ahead of England’s last match: “Belo Horizonte, ‘beautiful horizon’. It was supposed to be the gateway to the knockout round for England. Instead, it all ends here.”
Good Morning Britain’s Sean Fletcher: “We’re in Belo Horizonte. It’s a pretty place.”
Keep up the good work, son.
C4’s How To Fix A Football Match?
Put your mortgage on the team facing England’s back four.
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...
BBC’s mob-handed Glastonbury excess.
Today At Wimbledon’s John Inverdale spoiling every result.
Walford Municipal Baths springing up overnight in EastEnders.
Good Morning Britain discussing top Christmas toys. (Kindly bugger off until November.)
Gold’s Rik Mayall tribute weekend failing to include The New Statesman.
This Morning’s Phil and Holly sniggering over the name of a “Dr Weiner” after interviewing a bloke whose “hair loss medication shrank my penis”.
And Gary Lineker announcing on Tuesday: “That’s it from us on a day England’s World Cup hopes ended.” Because England’s World Cup hopes ended five days earlier. Or two years, if you don’t rate Roy Hodgson.
Big Brother’s Danielle, day 19, 11.53am: “As far as me and Kimberly are concerned we are through. We are done. I will never speak to her. She’s not got my back. She’s got no loyalty to me. I will never ever, EVER, trust her again.”
Big Brother narrator, day 19, 12.21pm: “Danielle has joined Kimberly for a workout.”
That showed her, eh, Danielle?
ITV commentator Sam Matterface, in a rare moment of getting his World Cup facts right: “In the South Korea squad there are five Kims, four Lees, three Parks...”
Two turtle doves (altogether now)... and a Kwak Tae-Hwi.
Minor name change needed to Good Morning Britain’s admirable safety campaign for child car seats, “Belt Up, Britain”, to fully reflect the rest of the show’s content.
Belt up, Good Morning Britain.
Luis Suarez latest... Loose Women’s Sherrie Hewson: “If you see children watching that, and that’s supposed to be football, I’m sorry, he should be banned.”
With that ringing in Sepp Blatter’s ears, no wonder Fifa took action.
This week’s Peeping Tom award goes to Orang-utan: Born In The Wild’s Mark Evans: “Let’s get a closer look. They are mating. Oh my God. He’s masturbating now. What is going on? He’s got a massive erection.”
Move away from the mirror, Mark. Move away from the mirror.