A new year has dawned and a fresh line-up of famous faces have turned in their designer suitcases at the Celebrity Big Brother door – only to be met with a nasty surprise. As soon as they passed through the threshold, Jockey Frankie Dettori and X Factor contestant Rylan Clark were told they had to banish half their housemates to the basement. The stunned pair mulled over who would be going downstairs, having a choice between a slew of celebs including Steps star Claire Richards, actress Gillian Taylforth, model Paula Hamilton and former footballer Neil Ruddock.
Also at risk were Coronation Street actor Sam Robertson and Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt from MTV series The Hills. Ex-Heartbeat actress Tricia Penrose, glamour model Lacey Banghard and Neighbours star Ryan Maloney completed the line-up.
Despite their collective star power, bosses on the Channel 5 show have decided to make life hard for the house, with half spending their time in the gloomy basement area, where there is no running water, no windows and residents will have to scavenge for food from the scraps from upstairs.
Informed of their task by Big Brother in the Diary Room, Frankie and Rylan looked distinctly uncomfortable but said: "Somebody's got to do it." They first sent model Paula underground for being "more irritating" than actress Tricia Penrose, who was allowed to pass through to the main house.
Next, they had to decide who was more "fake" out of Neighbours actor Ryan, who plays Toadfish, and ex-EastEnders star Gillian Taylforth. Sadly, Ryan lost that battle.
The contestants will now spend the next few days holed up in full glare of the TV cameras with a winner emerging later this month if they can win over viewers and fellow housemates. The series is expected to last three weeks, with the first eviction due on Wednesday. Rylan Clark is odds-on favourite to win the reality TV extravaganza, with his accomplice Frankie Dettori following closely behind.