Another new year, and another new series of Celebrity Big Brother, and the first ten days haven’t disappointed. It’s been fabulously entertaining for viewers, with all sorts of arguments and seedy activities occurring on the show already. Eviction punters haven’t been so fortunate just yet, as yet more stupid eviction twists have meant that nobody has been able to put on more than a few pennies. Lee and Casey being fake-evicted into the Bolt Hole was a certainty, but many were surprised when non-entity Liz Jones managed to escape the bottom 2, securing more votes than the former Heavyweight Champion of the World, Boxing Legend Evander Holyfield.
This post will be focusing on Jim Davidson and what I think his chances are of winning the show. He currently has serious momentum in the markets, having been backed into second favourite over the last few days. Jim is currently available to back at 5/1 (oops, now down to 4/1) on the high street and 5.3 on Betfair. His arrival to the show was exactly a year late, as he was originally supposed to be in the series this time last year with Rylan Clark and Speidi. Of course, he was famously arrested as part of Operation Yewtree, of which I won’t go into any details. The producers have probably waited longer to secure him than all other housemates, and he may have demanded a higher fee due to the increased press coverage over the last twelve months. It was therefore no surprise that Jim received plenty of producer favour right at the start of the series.
It can be argued that the first celebrity to enter the house is one of the most favoured in the line up, and Jim had that honour in this series. I was surprised to hear the crowd cheer him on his way in, as he controversially rubbed people up the wrong way with his views on cookery show Hell’s Kitchen, where he was famously booted off the show for making homophobic comments towards BB alumnus Brian Dowling. Jim is no stranger to controversy, and prior to the show he had a reputation for being sexist, racist, homophobic, disablist, you name it…This will be part of the reason why Jim is doing CBB. Like many before him on this show, he wants to redeem himself and improve his reputation.
Similarly, I also believe that being part of the launch night twist is also very favourable. This is because ratings are at their highest for the whole series on launch and final nights. Jim was handcuffed to Linda Nolan and together they had to choose one pair of housemates to be freed. Wisely, they didn’t choose themselves, so they both got off to a good start in the eyes of the viewers.
Much has happened in the ten days since launch, but Jim has remained prominent in the edit. This is pretty crucial for a housemate’s win chances, as it shows them getting involved and allows them to steadily build support. He has been shown providing many witty comments, including the brilliant “Roll on death” and “It’s like living in hell!” from last night’s episode. Linda seems to have had a vendetta towards Jim from the word go, and I’m sure this was encouraged by producers as she ‘somehow’ found it necessary to talk about him in her VT. It’s a narrative that has continued to play out, with Jim being portrayed as the victim and Linda coming across as an unlikeable, moody old cow. It would take nothing short of a miracle for Linda to win this series. Sympathy from the public is on the side of Jim in this storyline and I imagine this will continue as long as Linda remains in the house.
More recently, Jim has been the victim of teasing and bullying for his grumpiness from Luisa and especially Jasmine. This was out of order from the two girls, and Luisa’s intelligence level probably isn’t as high as she thinks it is, as Emma Willis clearly revealed that Jim topped the vote-to-save on Friday night, and therefore has proven to be popular enough with the public. What are they playing at? Anyway, they’re both coming across very badly and one of them could be gone in the eviction on Wednesday night. Jim is playing a brilliant game by walking away, keeping calm and refusing to blow his top. This has impressed many viewers, including myself. So this is another source of sympathy for Jim, which is partly responsible for his current momentum in the markets.
I believe that Jim is still one of the most favoured housemates in the eyes of the producers. He has been given another secret mission for this week’s shopping task, which will obviously result in more airtime for him. This time last year, the producer bias towards Rylan Clark was absolutely blatant, with him being given what seemed like all the secret tasks. I expect producers to find ways of keeping Jim in the edit by making him the focus of particular house events and activities. Luckily for Jim, he also found himself in the inoffensive ‘U-Rated’ room rather than the outrageously exploitative and sexually gratuitous ‘18-Rated’ room, which saw 82 year old national treasure, Lionel Blair, exclaiming “Suck my d**k” and thrusting his crotch whilst wearing a kinky PVC bondage outfit. This episode was the Daily Star’s wet dream, and it really has to be seen to be believed. The Betfair market has written him off, and in terms of winning, Lionel has now blown it – if you pardon the pun. It’s a shame because I previously saw him as stiff competition.
I haven’t watched the face-to-face nominations yet, but Jim has found himself up for eviction for the second time. It’s not particularly surprising, but he topped the vote-to-save and will do so again this Wednesday, without a doubt, given who he is up against. However, we’ll have to wait and see if producers choose to reveal this information for a second time. If they did, I would expect his price to shorten further.
Saturday’s Bit On The Psych programme had some discussion centred around Jim, and he received overwhelming cheers and a huge round of applause from the audience. This was a trigger for me, having built up a case for him in my head over the course of a few days, I decided to back him heavily to win the show. I was also lucky enough to get an enormous price for him on launch night, which seemed almost fair at the time…
The market doesn’t think there is much competition for Jim at the moment, and I agree. Ollie Locke and Sam Faiers justify having single-figure prices due to the fan bases of Made In Chelsea and TOWIE respectively. However, they haven’t been shown in the edit very much, with Sam in particular being mostly invisible. They have been criticised for being too politically correct and sitting on the fence, which is fair enough to say at this moment in time. I have no doubt they’ll be there on the final night, but will they have done enough by then for one of them to win it? Time will tell. I would argue that they are also likely to split the vote-to-win somewhat. People who watch constructed reality shows tend to be fans of both TOWIE and Chelsea, so I’m not sure if one of them will gain enough support win, but I would fancy Ollie’s chances at this stage rather than Sam’s – both because he has a penis and coz he’s well fit innit? Bizarrely, I didn’t realise until last night (Thanks Jessica on sofabet comments!) but no one from TOWIE or Chelsea has actually won a reality show before, despite many trying. Ollie and Sam are likeable enough, though, and I’ll be keeping them both as greens for the time being. I was surprised to learn that all phone votes have increased in price to 50p (with no donation to charity), which is a little on the pricey side. Those in their late teens, students and 20s who may well be fans of Ollie and Sam, can they afford it, afford it, afford it? Can you afford it?
Jim has the right sort of profile to do well on CBB, being male and of a certain age. I also believe he’ll potentially receive support from several different sections of society. Jim is a champion for the ‘Anti-PC brigade’, the type of people who read the Daily Mail and say things like “It’s political correctness gone mad!” and “You can’t say what you want anymore” – like Luisa Zissman. He’s apparently done a lot for ‘Our Troops’ over the years, and I can see him receiving plenty of support from Middle England. Big Break was a popular Saturday night show in the 90s, so could he pull in some votes from the snooker ‘community’? An Essex regional vote perhaps? Ok, that may be pushing it! He’s certainly one of the most famous housemates left on the show, no matter which way you look at him.
Furthermore, male comedians have a strong record on the show. He reminds me more than a little of Jack Dee, winner of series 1, and Michael Barrymore, runner up in series 4. Jack’s grumpiness and dry wit enamoured him to the viewers, sort of in a similar way to what Jim is doing. Michael was in a very similar situation to Jim, needing to overcome negative press and a tarnished reputation. The public can enjoy a comeback in the same kind of way as they like rooting for an underdog, which could work in Jim’s favour. The fact that he was wrongly arrested and accused for much of last year will mean that he will receive a great deal of goodwill. A large part of why Ulrika Jonsson and Charlotte-Leiticia Crosby won their respective series is because of things which had happened to them outside of the house – Ulrika famously being a victim of an extremely high-profile domestic abuse case and Charlotte continually being treated like crap on Geordie Shore by serial womaniser, Gaz.
I’ve presented a strong case for Jim, but what about the negatives? Like all housemates, he isn’t without them. My first concern is, are the days of older contestants winning the show now over? The last two series saw popular celebrities du jour, Charlotte-Leiticia Crosby and Rylan Clark, both in their twenties, emerge victorious. The flipside to this is that the winners of the first two series on Channel 5 were Paddy Doherty and Denise Welch, both of whom were very much typical winners in terms of their profiles. Will there be enough older viewers and voters left to carry someone like Jim to victory? The next worry has to be whether or not Jim can keep his cool over the next 11 days or so. I would hope so, as this Wednesday and Friday will probably see people like Luisa and Jasmine get evicted, so there will be fewer people to rattle Jim’s cage as the show goes on. Still, it is a worry. A ringing endorsement from Katie Hopkins (aka Big Brother’s Bitch On The Side) at the start of the series didn’t give me much hope for his chances either, but things have changed since then. The only other negative that springs to mind is that there is still plenty of time to go, which is plenty of time for something unpredictable to happen or for someone else to have a game-changing, winning moment.
Traditionally, the winner of Celebrity Big Brother has been someone who has changed people’s perceptions since entering the house – Alex Reid being the classic example. This is certainly happening with Jim at the moment and I am reading comments on the official facebook page and Digital Spy, which read like; “I never thought I’d say this, but I’m really liking Jim and I’ve been really impressed with the way he has handled himself. Jim to win!” These aren’t isolated comments, either, but the majority of posters’ opinions. He’s also gaining some momentum in polls such as the one on Telly Mix. When push comes to shove, I think viewers will make their final voting decisions based on who has had the best narrative and given the most to the show throughout the series, whilst proving to be a decent and likeable person. Producers seem to be on his side and I’m sure he is one of their preferred winners, if not The Chosen One. For that reason I have to recommend a back of Jim Davidson to win Celebrity Big Brother at 4/1 with Ladbrokes etc. I also wouldn’t put you off a back of Jim to be Top Man at 3/1 with Ladbrokes.
Best of luck if you are taking my advice, and feel free to tell me I’m wrong on twitter @Reality_Tim