The Version Interview: Emma Willis and Rylan Clark talk Celebrity Big Brother.
It’s still the most talked about reality tv show in television and it is back on our screens next week. Celebrity Big Brother is all set to welcome a fresh batch of housemates, and CBB hosts Rylan and Emma can’t wait to stand back and watch the carnage unfold…
This year’s series is all about UK vs. USA. Do you think it’ll get very competitive?
Emma: There was such a hoo haa about how many Americans were in last series, that it’s both ironic and amusing that this series ended up being UK vs. USA! I think it will be competitive but I am intrigued as to whether the Housemates will play that game and try to get the opposition on side. I love to
see if people play the game with each other. Also, genuine friendships do form between people you wouldn’t expect. You wouldn’t have thought Michelle Visage and Katie Hopkins would be good friends but it happened, so if people make friendships what happens if they are against each other?
Rylan: I think it will. People want to see the arguments and the Americans always bring it! With the theme splitting the house into two halves I think it is going to give people a reason to think, “This is why we have these people on this show”.
Do you think it’ll make for a divided House throughout the series?
Emma: When you are living in such close proximity for that amount of time, you are going to form bonds even with people that you are meant to be against. People will like each other so that gives it another element to watch out for.
Rylan: It’s not like a split down the middle but it will see the competition heat up. There are going to be a lot of twists and turns along the way – there is so much I want to say and I can’t! It’s going to be great and we are over the moon. I think this series we are geared up and ready for the crazy! I am really excited about this series because it is something that we have never done.
Will it be more tense because of the international face off?
Emma: It was almost like UK vs. USA last time with Perez and Katie Hopkins! You never know what is going to happen, but they are being pitted against each other from the off. I imagine it will be tense and you can only hope that it doesn’t get too nasty and people have a sense of humour about it! All I want is great television, competitiveness, humour, fun and a bit of grief now and then. A great watch!
Rylan: You get certain American Housemates like Speidi or Perez who are like, “Team USA!”and have everything American and even the American flag above their bed. They are just so patriotic and they feel like they are doing it for their country. Normally, when you see that type of American Housemate, that is when the arguments start because the British think, “Well, hang on a minute, why are you forcing this in our faces?” It is going to be great.
Will it be hard for you to stay neutral?
Emma: Not from a, ‘I’m team UK’ point of view, no, because some of my favourite Housemates have been Americans. I loved Michael Madsen, Speidi, Gary Busey. So for me it’s not about the teams. My favourites come from individuals and I think the game element of it will be brilliant.
Rylan: No, not at all. We talk about it off screen and we’re going to have our opinions but when it comes down to doing the show, it’s different. To go in there with Perez, I think I would have gone absolutely insane. But, as a presenter and as a viewer, he gives me something to talk about. People loved Perez and people hated Perez but it’s our job to be impartial.
Do you think the public will get into the patriotic nature of the series?
Emma: It will be interesting to see if they agree with the people from their country, or whether they go, “Actually, I’m going to cheer for the opposition!” You never know.
Rylan: I think they will. I will be interested to see where the public’s heart lies. Instantly you think, “Come on UK!” because we are British, but I think there will be quite a few people thinking, “I want the Americans to do well for a change”. The mix of Housemates is very clever because a lot of the Americans are, without sounding stereotypical, very American. If you cut them open you will see stars and stripes, and the British are very Union Jack the whole way through.
Which British item would you take in if you were a Housemate?
Emma I would take HP sauce. That is my one thing that I take with me wherever I go. I have to have it on everything. It doesn’t get much more British than the Houses of Parliament slapped on the front!
Rylan: I would probably take my Union Jack Spice Girls jacket from when I did Spice Girls on The X Factor and just walk around in it the whole time! It is framed on the wall in my house.
What would you take in to remind the American contestants of home?
Emma It would have to be their flag, or a picture of Barack Obama or something!
Rylan: I have the same jacket but in stars and stripes from when we went to Northern Ireland on The X Factor tour! I would probably take that in and vary them day to day.
If you could choose one dream Housemate, who would you send into the house?
Emma For the UK it would be Eamonn Holmes, and for the US it would be Ellen DeGeneres. The two of them would be amazing! Eamonn I know is a lovely person and Ellen seems like a lovely woman, she is bright, fun and entertaining. It would be the best debate in the world!
Rylan: My dream American contestant is going in! I can’t tell you who but they have always been on my dream list.
Do you think we’ll see all the usual stereotypes?
Emma: I think Big Brother is the least stereotypical show. We are not known for putting prim and proper people in there, but I’m sure there will be some who are outraged by something that some American Housemate does at some point but that is what makes us want to watch!
Rylan: I think our Housemates have got lots more to offer. Yes they are loud, yes they are brash, in your face and very American and the Brits are very British, but when they settle in you’ll see that it can switch.
What kinds of transatlantic tasks would you like to see them doing?
Emma I would love to see them do just a simple general knowledge quiz based on their country. People are so patriotic and love their country. Really? Well let’s see how much you actually know about that country you love so much!
Rylan: I would like to see a royal task because what is more British than the Royal family? The celebs could all battle it out to be first in line to the throne.
Who have been your favourite American Housemates from past series’?
Emma: Speidi, without a doubt. They were one of the first that went in there and obviously played the game. There was no mucking about. They were being paid to do a job, they were entertaining, they were causing havoc, they were winding people up and they did it brilliantly to the point where you didn’t know that’s what they were doing or if that was really them!
Rylan: I loved Speidi because I do love a good argument and they gave me a good row! Otherwise, I think I would have been bored in there. Perez was an amazing Housemate to watch as a viewer but not to live with! Gary Busey was just so Gary Busey that you didn’t know what was happening. I think that the Americans always give so much to this show.
Which former CBB Housemate do you think would represent the UK best?
Emma: It has to be Cheggers. He is a British institution of a human being. An all-round nice guy who just wants to have fun, entertain, have a laugh, but also, if you push him too far, he will have you for it!
Rylan: I’d love to go in to represent the UK but if I’m representing the UK I want an MBE!
Why do you think UK audiences love to watch the American Housemates so much?
Emma: It’s a sweeping generalisation but they like to talk and tell you what they’re feeling.We love that! We don’t want to see lots of celebs go in there who are media trained to the eyeballs and don’t want to say anything or act out of turn. The Americans will go in there and be very honest, very open and play the game. They give us what we want and they know how to do it. Whether they wind you up like Perez or whether it’s watching Gary Busey making foghorn noises, it is so random, and that is addictively watchable.
Rylan: I think it is to do with the difference in beliefs and the difference in handling situations as well because Americans like to talk stuff out, whereas Brits will often sweep stuff under the carpet. I think the Americans are going to be bringing it this series and the Brits need to watch out!
The last series of Celebrity Big Brother was intense. What was your stand out moment?
Emma: I think the stand out moment has got to be Hilton versus Hopkins. That head to head was fascinating. It was every emotion that you could feel about two human beings in the space of four weeks. It was hugely entertaining and controversial but, at the end, I just needed it to be over!
Rylan: My stand out moment was when I went into the camera runs one day and Perez was in his secret room watching the house. He was just standing there in his pants and a vest, eating a banana and just chucking it at the wall. I was like, “OK, you need to go back into the main house soon!”
What are your favourite CBB moments?
Emma Because it’s launch night and I am out there on that stage I always think, “Am I going to have another Gary Busey moment?” When I had to take him up the stairs. There are many things that happen in that House but the one job I am trusted with on launch night is to get them in the House and I couldn’t get him up those bloody stairs! If it happens again I will push them up there if I have to!
Rylan: The year with Lionel Blair, Luisa Zissman and Jim Davidson. The stand out moment was when we did the over 18s task and Lionel Blair was in latex. I will never forget that day. We did the show and normally everyone goes home, but that day, for two hours afterwards, everyone was stood watching the live stream because we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Lionel Blair in latex, that is probably my highlight of working on the show.
Can you pick the people who will give you moments like that?
Emma: No, although Perez was pretty obvious, we knew he was going to be pretty bonkers. I am terrible; I always pick the wrong person to win. You’d think I would be better at it with my job!
Rylan: No, never. Unless you’ve been a housemate you can’t understand it because you don’t know what real world is and what’s in the House. You forget there is a world outside those walls, you really do.
Don’t miss Celebrity Big Brother: Live Launch, Thursday 27th August at 9pm on Channel 5.