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Top ten Big Brother controversies

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 24 May 2007

The Goody, the bad and the ugly of past Big Brothers.

1. Nasty Nick

Who could forget that house meeting in Big Brother's first series when Nick was confronted by the housemates for his Machiavellian manoeuvres? He had broken the rules by writing down his nominations for eviction and by playing the housemates off against each other - and he was evicted for his offences.

2. The racism row

Shilpa in the Big Brother house

Unbeknownst to the housemates, an international furore was sparked over the treatment of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty at the hands of her housemates - particularly Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd - in the fifth series of Celebrity Big Brother. Jade's reference to her as "Shilpa Poppadom" and bullying behaviour led to accusations of racism - but when Shilpa won Big Brother she said she had not thought it amounted to racial prejudice.

3. Goody's gaffes


Jade initially made a name for herself in Big Brother''s third series with her impressive lack of general knowledge. She thought Saddam Hussein was a boxer and believed that Cambridge was in London. Upon being informed that it was in East Anglia - which she rendered "East Angular" - she then asked whether it was abroad.

4. Makosi the plant?


In the final week of Big Brother's sixth series, The Sun newspaper claimed that Big Brother producers had paid a talent agency in order to get Zimbabwean nurse Makosi Musambasi on the show. This was denied by Big Brother, who said the money was for work relating to one of its sister shows.

5. The celebrity spoof

In the fourth series of Celebrity Big Brother, Paris Hilton lookalike Chantelle Houghton was asked to pose as a celebrity. None of the other housemates guessed she was an impostor and she went on to win the competition - casting doubt on the other contestants' claims to fame and prompting a debate about the nature of celebrity.

6. Psychological uncertainties

Nikki in the diary room

Big Brother's seventh series sparked debate over whether contestants were psychologically fit to be in the house. Shahbaz threatened to commit suicide, Lea suffers from body dysmorphia and Nikki had anorexia and had previously been sectioned. Some mental health charities criticised the programme, but the show's producers maintained that contestants received strong psychological support.

7. The language barrier

Imogen in her Wales top

Also in series seven, Glyn Wise was chastised for speaking in Welsh to fellow housemate Imogen Thomas. Big Brother deemed it a form of "code", but following complaints from the Welsh Language Society they were allowed to converse in Welsh and English subtitles were provided.

8. George on all fours

When MP George Galloway was announced as a contestant on the fourth series of Celebrity Big Brother, many were up in arms. They thought that he should be working for his Bethnal Green constituency rather than appearing on TV. It didn't help that he went on to provide some of the most mortifying moments of the series, engaging in a slanging match with Michael Barrymore, dressing up as a cat and pretending to lick milk from actress Rula Lenska's hands.

9. Barrymore's breakdown

Also in series four of Celebrity Big Brother, there were protests over Michael Barrymore's inclusion in the show, as he was then involved in legal proceedings over the death of a man found in his swimming pool, Stuart Lubbock. Lubbock's father petitioned the programme but Michael Barrymore eventually won public sympathy after appearing to have an emotional breakdown.

10. Grace's disgrace


Housemate Grace Adams-Short in Big Brother's seventh series was widely perceived as a bully and threw a glass of water over Susie Verrico as she left the house. Three months later she was attacked outside a nightclub and badly injured - she said the assault was unrelated to her appearance on Big Brother.

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