With three housemates removed from the house inside the first ten days, this year’s Celebrity Big Brother might just be the most controversial series of all time – first American actor Jeremy Jackson was ejected from the house for sexual harassment, before Coronation Street’s Ken Morley was given the boot after a string of abusive comments aimed at fellow housemates. Most recently, soul singer Alexander O’Neal walked out of the house following accusations of homophobia towards Hollywood personality Perez Hilton. With another three weeks still to run, the only question still remaining is whether there will be anyone left in the house for the final! With the latest series’ incredible drama in mind, we’ve taken a look through the archives and come up with seven of the most explosive moments in the show’s history.
7. Coolio (Ultimate Big Brother)
In 2010, Channel 4 commemorated ten years of success for the original Big Brother format with the introduction of Ultimate Big Brother, containing some of the previous decade’s most famous housemates. The celebrations were cut short, however, when rapper Coolio was accused of aiming insults at transgender winner of Big Brother 5, Nadia Almada – eventually leading to Coolio leaving the house.
6. Michael Barrymore and George Galloway (Celebrity Big Brother 4)
Celebrity Big Brother hit the headlines in 2006 before the programme even went to air, following the revelation that Michael Barrymore and George Galloway would be among the series’ housemates. The death of Stuart Lubbock at a party hosted by Barrymore led many to decry his inclusion as inappropriate, although the entertainer was greeted warmly by the crowd as he went into the house, while Galloway was criticised for agreeing to appear on the show while a member of parliament.
5. Ron Atkinson (Celebrity Big Brother 12)
Ex-football manager Ron Atkinson was given an official warning by Big Brother during the 2013 edition of the show after making offensive comments towards fellow contestant Danielle Marr. Atkins was appearing on CBB in an attempt to dispel the notion that he was racist after he was recorded making offensive comments during a football match in 2004 – only to draw further criticism on the show after asking Marr if she was ‘carrying a bomb’ while she was wearing a headscarf.
4. Lauren Harries (Celebrity Big Brother 12)
Following on from Atkinson’s outburst, 2013’s series caused further controversy when former child star Lauren Harries was filmed offering prescription medication to fellow housemate Courtney Stodden. This potentially dangerous act led Big Brother to issue Harries with an official warning.
3. Gary Busey (Celebrity Big Brother 14)
Zany Hollywood star Gary Busey went on to win 2014’s edition of Celebrity Big Brother – despite being voted the most boring housemate and gaining the most votes in CBB history – but things could have been very different after he almost came to blows with fellow American Leslie Jordan. The ageing actors’ argument was somewhat minor – they clashed over the definition of CGI – although that didn’t stop Jordan unleashing a stream of abuse at the Point Break star.
2. Pete Burns (Celebrity Big Brother 4)
2006’s edition of the show proved to be one of the most dramatic of all – while Barrymore and Galloway had the tabloids in a frenzy from the start, fiery 80s pop star Pete Burns ensured the show was rarely out of the headlines once it began. Burns drew the anger of animal rights activists after donning a coat which he claimed was made of illegal gorilla fur. The coat was eventually confiscated by local police, who sent the offending item away for testing, although Burns was never prosecuted.
1. Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O’Meara (Celebrity Big Brother 5)
All other Big Brother controversies pale into insignificance compared to the famous race row of 2007. Goody, Lloyd and O’Meara were heavily criticised for making racist comments towards Bollywood superstar Shilpa Shetty. The incidents led to a record 45,000 complaints to Channel 4 and the intervention of Prime Minister Gordon Brown – Shetty went on to win the series, while Goody was investigated by police and later made tearful personal appearances in India to apologise for her actions.