BIG BROTHER The romance of the Nobodies (Chantelle and Preston) will run and run – at least until she becomes the face of Primark – but the story of BB7 is the redemption of Michael Barrymore.
Only the other day he was a fallen idol, a pariah, a pervert, a poof and a potential conspirator in a sordid death, whiling away the fag end of his career alone on the other side of the world.
There were many who predicted that his decision to enter the BB house was a disastrous misjudgment, a sign of desperation. And there were times when he looked like a broken man as he wandered around at all hours muttering to himself.
But today it’s a different story. Barrymore is back.
The public has voted with its dialing fingers and declared their former favourite TV personality to be ‘orwight’ after all. Not as orwight as Chantelle, but more orwight than all his fellow celebs.
That alone would be enough to kickstart his career after five years in the wilderness. But today came the coup-de-grace when The Sun, which like everyone else, began BB7 by casting Barrymore as the villain, put him back on the front page.
While their rivals focus on Chantelle and Preston (having paid richly for the privilege), the Currant Bun craftily engineered a meeting between Barrymore and ‘tragic father-of-two’ Stuart Lubbock’s dad Terry.
In the church of celebrity, careers can be revived by absolution. And with Lubbock’s gracious words comes redemption for Michael Barrymore.
Looking back now, we can see that Barrymore’s ostensibly high-risk decision to take part in BB7 was not only courageous, but an opportunity he could not afford to miss.
In one sense he had nothing to lose, because his career was over, but he also had everything to gain. And if anyone knows about the restorative powers of publicity, it’s surely Barrymore, whose crazy antics kept us all amused – and him rich, famous and popular – right up to the night of the pool party.
He might not have looked like he knew where he was or even, at times, who he was in there, but Barrymore knew just what he was doing.
He was serving time, paying his penance, showing humility, keeping his head down and his nose clean. The others were playing for £25,000 but he had more at stake – he was playing for his career.
And while you may think he came second, I can assure you that he walked out of that house with the biggest prize.