This summer, Big Brother returns for one last, loud and lengthy hurrah, and with it, as ever, is its cheeky and irreverent younger sibling, Big Brother’s Little Brother. At the helm once again will be George Lamb (alongside new presenter and Big Brother obsessive Emma Willis). Here, George looks forward to a fantastic summer, looks back on his favourite moments over the show’s history, and reveals why real men can still cry.
So, George, what can you reveal about what’s in store for us with the last ever Big Brother this summer?
There’s nothing I can tell you yet! What I do know is that they’re going to be pulling out all the stops with the show this year. I think the intention is to really push the boundaries of what we’ve seen before, and make the most of it and create something really special. Something that hopefully people will not have seen before. With that remit in mind, it goes right across the board to Little Brother and everything else. It’s the end of an era – arguably the most important TV format of all time – and it’s got to go out with an absolute humungous bang.
There are a few changes afoot on BBLB, aren’t there?
Yeah, the same thing applies to the show as to Big Brother – it’s going to be different this year. They’re completely ripping up the rule book. We’re not going to have a live audience, we’re not going to have loads of games, its going to go back a bit more to being a real behind-the-scenes look at the show. It will be the first port of call for real opinions and real inside info, and for the up-to-the-minute reports on what’s going on. In the past, my foil has often been the audience, and if they’re not there, me sitting there giving opinions on my own isn’t really going to run. So we’ve got Emma Willis coming on board to present the show with me. I love Emma, she’s fantastic, we’ve worked together brilliantly every time she’s come on the show, and I’m really looking forward to working with her and creating something fantastic. We’re going to have a lot of fun together.
What have bent her moments you’ve enjoyed the most on BBLB?
When you’re locked into BBLB it’s such an intense schedule, and you’re pushing so hard the whole time, you kind of pop out the other side and thing “Whoa, did that all just happen?” So my favourite bits are when, every year, at the end of the series, we do a best bits collage, and you get this quick-fire run-through of what’s happened during the series. So watching those often makes me well-up a little bit. That retrospective at the end of the summer is often my favourite bit – everything that’s gone on, all the funny people that have come on the show, the bits that have worked, the bits that haven’t worked, getting bitten by wolves, machines not working when they’re meant to, housemates running at the glass when you’re in the camera runs. That’s the nature of live television, and that’s what I love about it – the fact that it is so spontaneous and so bonkers and anything can happen. The unpredictable side of the show is what I love most about it.
One of the key elements of BBLB is the guests you have on. Who have been the best and worst that you’ve had on?
Lisa from Big Brother 9 came on – and she’s not the only one this happened to. People who go on Big Brother are often superfans to the nth degree. So when they find themselves on Little Brother, they can’t quite cope. They’re in some weird, surreal virtual world. You ask them a question, and they’re just sitting there taking it all in. They’re looking around them, seeing the wall of TVs, looking at something else, and they’re in a haze of wonderment. So they can’t really take in what you’re saying. That always makes for what you might call an ‘interesting’ interview. Boyz II Men were great, it was a lot of fun having them on – we got them all singing and getting involved, and they’d only turned up five minutes before, they had no idea what was going on. They were really good guys. Having Dirk Benedict on was pretty cool, because I always wanted to be Face when I was growing up. So that was a pretty cool experience. And I love having Iain Lee and Rick Edwards on, I really enjoy working with them.
You’ve mentioned the live element of the show, and the fact that anything can happen. Have you ever said anything or done anything that you wish you could change?
To be totally honest with you, that’s my job – to not say the wrong thing, and not buckle. If you’re going to be a proper television presenter, then you need to be able to do live properly, and there was nowhere in Britain I could have gained this kind of experience with such a cutting edge show. And I’ve now got 200 live shows under my belt, which at this stage in my career is pretty impressive. Watching myself from the first day I did it to how I do it now really is interesting. Things can be going wrong and falling down all around you, and your job as the presenter is to keep focus and make sure everything’s cool, keep a calm head. More often than not, everything’s going absolutely fine, but when you earn your money is when things are going wrong.
So do you think you’ve improved as a presenter having gained all that experience?
Yeah. I think in life you have to improve and evolve all the time. It would be pretty disappointing if you just stayed at the same level. Wayne Rooney has been a world class footballer for donkey’s years now, but this season he’s really come into his own and he could be the best in the world. So even those guys who are absolutely at the pinnacle of their game still have to push it on. I hope I keep improving, I hope I get twice as good as I am now. Nothing beats experience. You’ve got to put the time in and have things go wrong. There’s no substitute for that.
In Celebrity Big Brother, Davina snuck into the house. Would you like to do that, and if so, what costume would you wear?
I’d probably have to go in as a massive sheep/lamb thing – I know it’s super-basic, but that’s okay. Or maybe a giant bow tie. I’d love to go in there, and who knows what we’ll do on the last run.
You’ve said before that you’ll probably shed a tear when Big Brother comes to an end this year. Will you do that on screen?
Let’s hope so – a real tear-jerker. I’m pretty in touch with my emotions – crying’s just a release of tension, and I don’t have a problem with it. Anything you put your heart and soul into in life, when I comes to an end it’s sad. There’s a natural progression, and shutting one door will allow another to open, but it’s still sad. I was sad when I moved from weekdays to weekends on the radio – even though I’d decided to do it – I was crying on air when we did that, because it had been such a big part of my life. And it’s pretty much the same team on Big Brother and on Little Brother every year, so you become family. It’s the end of an era, so of course it will be sad.
Have you given any thought yet to what you’ll say when you sign off for the last time?
Not a sausage. I’ve got about 14 weeks to figure it out. I’ll hopefully come up with something wonderfully profound. Watch this space.
What’s been the best thing about presenting BBLB?
The best thing has been being part of something that’s as significant as Big Brother – it’s a world-recognised leader of conceptual television, and to be part of anything like that is fantastic. It’s a phenomenon, and to have been part of that and to have played just a small part in it has been a real honour. And I’ve got to work with some incredible people. It’s been such a lovely adventure, I’m gutted it’s coming to an end. But we’ve got one more summer to go, so let’s make the most of that.
By Benjie Goodhart
Big Brother kicks off on Wednesday 9th of June and Unreality TV will be touring the final BB house this Friday…..expect some juicy titbits at the end of the week!