Saturday 20 January 2018

Former Apprentice candidate James Hill wins Celebrity Big Brother

James Hill won Celebrity Big Brother (Channel 5/PA)
James Hill won Celebrity Big Brother (Channel 5/PA)

Former Apprentice candidate James Hill has won Celebrity Big Brother, beating American Austin Armacost, best known for being the ex-boyfriend of designer Marc Jacobs, into second place.

The 27-year-old, who finished in ninth place during the 2014 run of BBC One's business series, looked shocked when presenter Emma Willis announced he had won the Channel 5 show.

He hugged the man who had been his best friend in the house before exclaiming: "Omigod! Omigod!"

It was particularly apt that the final two in this UK vs USA-themed series were a Briton and an American. Runner-up Armacost was magnanimous in defeat, telling Hill: "I love you, brother."

Celebrities from both sides of the pond battled for supremacy, but notably absent from proceedings was Teen Mom US star Farrah Abraham, following her altercation with former Big Brother housemate Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace on sister show Celebrity Big Brother's Bit On The Side.

The final produced one shock as Atomic Kitten's Natasha Hamilton, previously the bookies' favourite to win, ended up in third place.

The 33-year-old told host Willis the Big Brother house was "like being in a pressure cooker that could explode at any moment".

The pop star repeatedly butted heads with 24-year-old Abraham, but she decided not to be "a pushover" and stand her ground. "I'm not going to be bullied because I had all that when I was a kid, but I'm an adult now," she said.

Comedian Bobby Davro was greeted with chants of "Bobby! Bobby! Bobby!" as he took the walk down the steps in fourth position. "I would have liked to have made top three, but I'm not complaining," the funnyman said.

During his exit interview, Willis approached the subject of US star Abraham as the pair had frequently clashed: "She's a particularly nasty person beneath that beautiful exterior. She's got to work on that."

However, an upbeat Bobby basked in the glow of his Big Brother experience: "There's no grudge against any of them, including Jenna and Farrah. They just had trouble adapting to our culture and sense of humour," the 57-year-old observed.

There were some boos when presenter Willis announced engaged X Factor couple Stevi Ritchie and Chloe-Jasmine Whichello (who count as one) in fifth spot. But Ritchie said they hadn't expected to get to the final in the first place.

"We were so full of nerves and worried about our relationship the whole time," his fiance added.

Responding to a suggestion that some didn't buy into their relationship, Whichello hit back: "We're not for sale, Emma." The 24-year-old blonde admitted: "Some aspects of our relationship we had to keep a lid on, which was incredibly difficult."

Loose Women's Sherrie Hewson ended up in sixth place. Dressed in a cream gown, she told Willis: "I've had the most fantastic time, but it's been an emotional rollercoaster."

Defending being voted the "most boring" housemate by the public, the 65-year-old said: "I'm normal and I'm not going to shout and scream and eff and blind for TV cameras."

Likeable Apprentice star Hill had been favourite to win for the last few days, with odds as short as 8-15 with bookmaker Coral. He won many fans by keeping a steady head inside the fractious Big Brother house while so many others lost theirs.

Viewers also enjoyed Hill's bromance with 27-year-old Armacost; the close friendship between straight contestant Hill and gay housemate Armacost proved a popular topic of discussion as the duo shared everything from cuddles to a bed.

During the controversial series, glamour model Tila Tequila was removed from the house after only one day when it emerged she had made a series of anti-semitic remarks on social media.

The other stars who took part were: US actor Daniel Baldwin, The Bill actor Chris Ellison, presenter Gail Porter, US hip hop artist Fatman Scoop, US reality TV star Farrah Abraham, US ex-adult performer Jenna Jameson and US supermodel Janice Dickinson.

The UK vs USA edition is also memorable for an unusual twist - for the first time, a fake eviction was not quite what it seemed.

The public voted for Abraham and Jameson (collectively known as Jarrah) to be fake-evicted into a luxury suite to spy on the house, but the rest of the Big Brother housemates were in on the joke and made fools of them.

There was also the bizarre spectacle of Diana, Princess of Wales's former butler Paul Burrell spending four days inside the house; he revealed that the only time the Queen carries money is for the collection box when she attends church.

However, the biggest talking point remains the Celebrity Big Brother Bit On The Side brawl. Police are investigating the row at Elstree Studios in north London between Abraham and Horgan-Wallace which saw 'Allo 'Allo actress Vicki Michelle caught in the crossfire.

The UK may have triumphed, but the US contingent can take some consolation from having provided more entertainment.

The Americans, not just content to pick arguments with the home stars, frequently fought among themselves while the Brits made endless cups of tea.

After four weeks of tears and tantrums, it's all over for another series.

During his interview with 39-year-old Willis, Hill seemed bemused to be crowned champion. "Wow! I can't believe it!" he repeatedly said. When asked why he thought he had won, he said: "I've been myself from the beginning. I just tried to stay grounded."

However, his friendship with Armacost was a constant theme. "I got close to some people in there that I hope I'll be close to for the rest of my life," he stated.

The 27 year old left the house to cheers and gushed his adoration for the winner to a glamorous-looking Willis. "We've shared a bed together since day one," he said.

Viewers were captivated by the bromance between straight contestant Hill and gay housemate Armacost; it proved a popular topic of discussion as the duo shared everything from cuddles to a bed.

Talking about their friendship, the American said: "We're standing. We've been through this insane journey. I'm so glad that I've made a friend. That dude is a great guy, he's been a strong pillar and he deserves it."

Press Association

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