Tab Tries: Auditioning For Big Brother

JO HALL is scouted for auditions for Big Brother and discovers the intoxicating lure of fame.

Big Brother big brother auditions fame Jo Hall owls tab tries

Living in Oxford and studying in Cambridge means I’ve never really had the opportunity to mix with many of Great Britain’s more eccentric characters. Fitting in in Oxford and Cambridge involves wearing brogues, carrying a leather satchel, and a dressing in lots of beige. Not exactly crazy.

But, my narrow existence was set to change last summer, when I was scouted by the Big Brother casting directors on the streets of Cambridge. Two trendy, young adults approached me – with clipboards and camera – asking if I was interested in appearing on the most famous reality television show ever. “Definitely not,” I promptly replied.

“You’re exactly what we are looking for!” they cried in delight.

Dubiously, I passed on my email address.

They may look normal…

As always, feeling desired over-rode any sense of doubt or self-preservation, and so a week later I dragged my best friend to the Emirates stadium in the pelting summer rain for my first audition. We queued for hours behind an elderly Indian couple who were excitedly taking photos on their smart phones, and in front of a 6’4″ transvestite wearing orange stilettos.

Upon entering the first waiting room, I was thrust into a swarm of perma-tanned, perma-dyed girls who were all aggressively wrapped in New Look’s latest body huggers. I stood out like a sore thumb; I was scruffy and it was quite obvious that I wanted a mug of Earl Grey, a digestive, and my mum.

After filling out my ‘personality’ form (describe yourself in three words, worst thing you’ve ever done, etc) on a table of silent, identical girls, and chatting to a barman from Life who proudly announced that he cheated on his girlfriend with six “way fitter birds,” I felt considerably out of my depth.

I am going to win Big Brother and become an internationally renowned tabloid superstar, I chanted to myself under my breath as I pretended to text on my Blackberry. In a matter of months, The Daily Mail will be clamouring for a glimpse of my knickers.

And so, after three more hours of waiting, filling out more forms, and forming a firm friendship with the world champion in beard and moustache growth, I entered a room containing four producers and a camera. In that room, I performed a short whistling act, hooted like an owl, and avoided all questions relating to my personal and romantic life by frantically twirling my hair and explaining the exact rules of lacrosse. They loved me.

This made me horrendously suspicious, which is more suspicious than I am comfortable with being. I knew they wanted a ‘posh’, Oxbridge contestant (their interest in my university and upbringing was conspicuous), and to thrust myself into such a trap went against all of my middle class reservations.

My experience at the Big Brother auditions taught me two key lessons. Firstly, never claim to be a champion whistler. You will get caught out, and it may appear on Channel Five.

Secondly, don’t judge the poor souls who made it onto the programme too harshly, for stepping into that audition room fills one with a deep sense of desire for something, be it fame, fortune, or merely the accepting chuckle of an interviewer. It can be hard to resist. The brief, blink of the chance of almost-fame that I smelt was intoxicating.

I envy those strong enough to resist such urges, and along with my suspicious mind, I thank from the bottom of my heart my friend Phoebe, without whose complaints of a cold bottom from waiting outside, I might be wearing a silver cat suit right now, covered in fish guts, and not procrastinating from holiday reading by writing this article.