Blog has moved, redirecting you to the new blog...

Monday, 18 January 2010

Katia's Eviction from Celebrity Big Brother

Stephanie Beacham is a clever woman. She has been right about a few things, including her observation that celebrities are invited into the Big Brother house to fulfil a particular role – hers being to provide a bit of posh, Stephen’s to convert the unwary to his brand of evangelical Christianity, Vinny to demonstrate how a prince among men acts when there isn’t enough corned beef, Heidi to shoot her mouth off, and so on. That’s Big Brother’s agenda. For the celebrities (though one hesitates in some cases to use the word), it’s an opportunity to showcase what they do, revive a flagging career, kick start one that’s not happened.

It’s not hard to see why Katia was invited in. Having had no career to speak of, and reportedly dreaming of becoming a children’s illustrator, she was to fulfil the role of very young, very pretty, very naive girl who will inevitably be hit on by one or more of the men. She played it beautifully. Katia is a nymph, if not quite a nymphette, famous only for having come to the amorous attention of the rather less lovely Ron Wood, the rich, married, old, former member of the Rolling Stones.

So, this young girl, almost a child, who has no celebrity career behind her, is put in a house comprised largely of established performers, egotistical men and women many of whom have age and experience on their side, confidence, fans, an understanding of where they have come from and an idea of where they want to go. She ends up with one of those men. He seems a nice enough person, seems to genuinely like her, they are sweet together. So what’s the problem, why the big condemnation, why all the boos?

Three reasons: first, she is said to have a boyfriend outside. Well, excuse me, but that didn’t seem so much of a problem for Preston when he fell for Chantelle and his previous relationship was a lot longer established than Katia and her boyfriend’s couple of weeks.

Second: she’s so boring, she’s dull, not a team player. It’s true that some characters make less good telly than others, but that’s hardly a reason to pillory them; she’s not the only person in the house with the yawn factor, and she’s certainly not the first since the idea was launched.

Third: she fell for the guy that seduced her. A day or two later, she told him she wanted out but went back into his bed. Okay, this didn’t look good, but hang on a minute. The girl is 21 and it was exactly what the guys, Vinny, Alex, and Jonas had suggested, sitting on their beds, offering their smug advice.

I was embarrassed, frankly, at the response to her eviction. Davina, normally so charming, so appropriate, acted like a bully, reprimanding her in front of millions, ticking her off for doing exactly what she’d been paid to do. Let’s wait till her kids, at 17 or 18 or 19 make poor choices, get into situations that they are simply too young and inexperienced to manage, how would she like them to be held up to the condemnation of the nation at peak Friday evening viewing? The Sun journalist on the follow up programme - edged away from Katia, offering his sanctimonious condemnation – he liked Jo Wood, he explained. It’s hard to imagine that little Katia had more influence in the break up of that marriage than Ron Wood. He was the one that was married, afterall and let’s not underestimate the pull of charisma, the allure of his lifestyle, the power of his money.

Katia did extremely well to stand up to the bites and snipes of Friday night. CBB put her in the house as a helpless young girl whom they could be sure at least one of the men wouldn’t be able to resist. To put the onus on her to withstand that pressure, is not just unfair, it’s blatantly sexist. If she had turned the men away she would be condemned as a prick tease, and what else had she to offer in that group of egos all desperate for attention? Her unfortunate adventure in the house demonstrates a lot more about the wiles and vices of the Big Brother industry, and our miserable willingness to put the woman to the stake, than what we already know about the kind of scrapes that pretty young girls can end up in. I’m glad the programme is on the way out.