The comedy gold on the 2016 edition of Celebrity Big Brother seems destined to be provided by the “Chump from the Dump”, South Norwood’s very own Winston McKenzie.
The line-up was “leaked” (ie. handed to) the Sunday edition of the Daily Star, and sees McKenzie included with 15 others whose similarly tenuous claims to fame or their declining career curves only serve to underline the desperation of anyone who agrees to appear on the show.
The line-up for this 17th series also raises the distinct possibility that Channel 5 will be subject to complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority for the misleading use of the word “celebrity”.
As it tried to manage the “anticipation” for the forthcoming series (which is sleb mediaspeak for squeeze as much publicity as it can), Channel 5 yesterday was asserting that any line-up was “pure speculation”. Pity, then, that McKenzie was blabbing to complete strangers on a train on Saturday that he was to appear on the show and was having second thoughts about taking the gig.
But needs must.
McKenzie’s mind was probably made up for him by the offer of an appearance fee for the four-week engagement which industry sources suggest that, as the least well-known of 16 not very well-known contestants, will be around £60,000. That falls firmly in the Bobby Davro, lower-end of the price range, and is probably only one-quarter of the amount being paid to what the programme’s producers describe, apparently in all seriousness, as “the show’s stars”.
McKenzie is the failed boxer, failed pub owner, failed youth sports organiser and serially failed politician. He once described Croydon as a “dump” to every news network in the countrry, when he was seeking election in … Croydon. Winston McKenzie is to serious politics what Arnold Schwarzenegger is to ballet dancing.
Despite repeated attempts at elections over the last decade, standing for six different political parties and as an independent, McKenzie has never held elected office.
He has since joined the English Democrats, and was quickly installed as their candidate for London Mayor.
His decision to leave UKIP had nothing to do, of course, with an investigation by his former party into his handling of campaign funds, nor with their decision not to include him in their own 11 “list candidates” for the London Assembly.
His appearance on CBB, with its average audience of 2 million per night, will, though, provide his new party with more coverage than they have ever had before. Given that it is McKenzie who will be the English Democrats’ “front man”, this may not be an altogether good thing for the English Democrats. Such 24/7 scrutiny which accompanies the programme will surely expose some of McKenzie’s more extreme views, and some of his inconsistencies about his own career.
Besides, this is a programme which has in the recent past been won by the likes of Rylan Clark, Katie Price and Jim Davidson; contestants with a more “serious” background, and politicians especially, have never fared well.
Journalist Vanessa Feltz looked to have a nervous breakdown live on air in the first series, when it was broadcast on Channel 4 and still had the attraction of some novelty. Writer and academic Germaine Greer walked out, and nose-picking bigot John McCririck’s broadcasting career never recovered from his exposure on CBB.
But it is the appearance of the former Labour and Respect MP, George Galloway, and his attempted performance as a cat and being dressed in a Lycra jump suit, which is the most notorious turn by a politician on CBB.
Not that it won him many votes, either on the show or at the ballot box, as Galloway is currently an ex-MP.
For the record, the other 15 “celebrities” named as taking part in this month’s series, which begins tomorrow evening, are:
Yes, deeply under-whelming, isn’t it?
In fact, it might be so bad that Winston McKenzie, our “Chump from the Dump”, might even have a chance of winning a poll for once. Provided, of course, he keeps his mouth shut for the next four weeks.
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