One week into Celebrity Big Brother 2015 and here is the current state of play:
1. One housemate removed from house for exposing someone’s breast
2. One housemate removed from house for racism
3. …(with a side of sexism)
4. Another housemate given a warning over threatening behaviour
5. Katie Hopkins
Yes, incredibly all of that happened before we even got to Katie Hopkins.
But this many years in, are any of us surprised? We have come a long way from Mark Owen chirping away in the diary room with a hat on; Celebrity Big Brother is now synonymous with race rows, shameful exits and outraged tabloid front pages.
Meanwhile, of course, the formerly-groundbreaking non-celebrity version of the show trundles along without attracting much attention. The housemates arrive and they leave, and the staff of Ofcom presumably take a holiday: getting themselves ready for when the real big guns (and by big guns, I do mean someone who had a top five single 20 years ago and one who went out with Kirk from TOWIE) arrive.
So why the difference? Well the clue comes, clearly, in the only distinction in the two shows’ names: ie the word celebrity.
Because watching Ken Morley squirm any which way to avoid taking anyone else’s points on board in his post-exit interview on Loose Women, never has the arrogance of fame – however brief or long-gone – been so exposed.
Never mind that Alexander O’Neill expressly told him that the words he used were offensive: if Ken wanted to use them, he would.
Never mind that the girls didn’t like being called ‘sluts’ and ‘scrubbers’ and having a man old enough to be their grandad salivate over their bottoms when they’re sharing a bedroom with him: if Ken wanted to do that, he would.
Never mind that women don’t like having their boobs exposed by a vomiting stranger (“It seemed like flirtation to me” Jeremy simpered – yeah, because vomit on the chin is what all women look for in a man): if Jeremy wanted to do that, he would.
But watch the show for longer than 30 seconds and you’ll see that the habit goes way beyond the now-departed Ken and Jeremy.
Many of them are so used to being heralded and encouraged and worshipped, that they don’t think it’s unusual to live your life doing and saying exactly what you feel like, because people rarely question them or tell them that they are wrong.
It’s the same quality that means footballers see all of their teammates emblazoned on the front pages for cheating on their wives and girlfriends, and yet still do it: so smug that they think they’ll be the one to get away with it.
Of all the things Celebrity Big Brother teaches us, the main reminder is surely that celebrity culture is skewed and very, very far removed from the normal realms of society.
Despite many of his contemporaries facing jail for sexual offences, which must make him hyper-aware of this subject matter, Ken Morley is still too arrogant to temper his behaviour, even if it would make him look like a better human being.
If they want to avoid these explosive rows with every series? Then celebrities need to know that there are moments when humility is what’s needed. Moments when just because they have an opinion, it doesn’t mean they have to shout it repeatedly in people’s faces. Moments when other people might have a point. Moments when actually, they do not need to ‘tell it like it is.’
And moments when they need, more than anything else, to just shut up.
[ CBB: Housemates threatened to walk out if Ken Morley was not removed from house ]
[ CBB: Cami Li crowned 'queen of the house' in eviction twist ]