…is a gem. (26-page PDF, courtesy the Guardian.)
To summarise: Jade and her just-as-thick
brother [Ed: AAARGH, mental classification screwup] boyfriend, Jack Tweed, Jo S Club and Danielle Lloyd played a very childish party game of “make up limericks about Shilpa” which involved trying to avoid a word that apparently rhymed with “tacky” and began with the letter P. Mostly it’s just as dull as Big Brother’s always been, but the interesting bit is how (a) none of this got to air and (b) the details of how Channel Four tried to cover it up.
the game itself is not included in the transcript [Ed: wrote this before I realised it was on p5 and forgot to remove it, grr], but two of the warning interviews are: the one I’m interested in is the one with Jade’s brother bf:
Saturday 20th January 2007 approx. 20:20 – DIARY ROOM WITH JACK TWEED (p.18-26)
Big Brother: Hello, Jack.
Big Brother: Jack, please could you switch off your microphone and take the battery out, please? You should know that you are still being recorded.
Big Brother: Thanks.
Big Brother: You were using rhyming slang to replace what you called ‘the “P” word’.
Big Brother: You said the word rhymed with ‘tacky’.
Big Brother: It is clear to Big Brother, Jack, that this was a reference to the racial insult ‘Paki’.
Big Brother: Do you understand that this is considered racially offensive language?
Jack: Yeah, okay.
Big Brother: What do you have to say about this, Jack?
Jack: I was explaining the word that someone that was meant to have rhymed with the word. I
wasn’t actually saying the word.
Big Brother: Do you mean you were trying to include the word in the limerick but were using another
word to replace it?
Jack: I can’t really remember what exactly happened but I think… that someone said ‘I know a word that rhymes with that’ and then I clocked on to what it was and then explained what the word was, but didn’t actually say the word.
There then entails a long series of questions determining where they were playing the game, and then on p22…
Big Brother: Jack, do you understand that the ‘P’ word – Paki –
Big Brother: Is considered to be racist?
Jack: Yeah, I fully understand.
Big Brother: And that simply by replacing the word with a word that rhymes with it doesn’t take away from the racial insult?
Jack: I wasn’t saying it to anyone. I was explaining what the word… what the word is. That’s why, in a conversation, you’re allowed to say, ‘The word “Paki” is a racist remark’. That’s why you’re allowed to say it. So I wasn’t saying, ‘That girl is a Paki’; I was saying ‘the word is that’.
Oh, I’m sure. These people are just as appalling on paper as they are in real life, aren’t they?
What’s really interesting about this is the style of the questioning. This interview is asking very short, simple, almost primary-school level questions, whereas the questioning of Jo S Club is much more detailed and inquiring (and she gives better game, too.) Is this an assumption that Big Brother is making directly of the Goody/Tweed family, almost talking down to them in much the same way they seem to think Shilpa was talking down to them?
Big Brother: Jack, was the limerick about Shilpa?
Jack: I think… I really can’t remember. I think so. I don’t know.
Big Brother: Jack, Big Brother is going to remind you of the limerick.
Big Brother: Jo began: ‘There once was a house that was happy’. You then said: ‘Until…’ Jo said: ‘And then there entered…’ Cleo then interrupted and said, ‘You are all going to [Big Brother] prison’.
That’s actually a brilliant one-liner – the conversation in question is on p5-6 if you’re interested. Excellent timing from Cleo Rocos there. Watch out for Jack’s grammatical howler:
Jack: Yeah. So that wasn’t referring to the word ‘Paki’. That was just people who was tacky.
Big Brother: Jack, in a previous conversation, you had substituted the word ‘tacky’ for the word ‘Paki’.
Jack: In that limerick just then, I wasn’t at all suggesting that the word was meant to be ‘Paki’. I was saying tacky, as in tacky people. I wasn’t – not at all.
He’s got a bit of a cheek calling Shilpa Shetty tacky considering exactly how tacky the Goody/Tweed family are – Jade herself spent a lot of the time before stupidly deciding to go on BB again making low-rent, truly dreadful reality programming for LivingTV (“Britain’s Most Popular CSI Repeats And Psychic Bullshit Channel”) with titles like “Jade’s Salon” and “Jade’s PA”. Making exploitative reality TV that no-one watches has to qualify as tacky even by their perspective, surely?
Big Brother: Jack, do you understand that some people may consider what you said to be racially offensive?
Jack: Yeah, some people who got the wrong end of the stick, I would, yeah. Can I just ask: is this… What, is this out in the paper, because if it is, I’d rather just leave now.
And Jack gets pretty much straight to the heart of the matter here, which is really quite surprising. Big Brother is tiptoeing around the issue but this is the only reason he’s being questioned about it – because news of the “Shilpa Poppadom” incident had already got out and C4 was worrying that this would get out too.
(In fact – although this is from memory, not my email archive so could be unreliable – news had got out through the usual Popbitch-type channels that Channel Four had material showing Jade et al making racist comments and had covered it up. Because it was from Popbitch et al, it wasn’t taken seriously. Now, of course, we know that this was true.)
Big Brother: Jack, as a result of this incident, Big Brother is now issuing you with your first and only formal warning about this.
Big Brother: Any further incidents could result in your immediate eviction.
Jack: Okay. Could I just… Can you just please tell me if this is out in the paper or anything like that, if anything’s out there suggesting, because if it is, I’d rather just leave now.
At least he realises he’s made a major boner and wants to stop making them – which is more than can be said for a lot of people.
Big Brother: Jack, just listen for a second.
Big Brother: Big Brother would ask that you exercise some care in the future with your language.
Big Brother: And Big Brother would like to remind you that, as always, all diary room conversations between Big Brother and housemates are confidential.
Big Brother: Do you understand?
Jack: Yeah. Thank you.
The implication here of course is “don’t speak about this ever again and you’ll be fine.”
What this transcript shows is that all along C4 had the power to control the events on BB, editing out this limerick incident (which happened at around half eleven on the 16th of January, the same day as the cooking incident that triggered the press furore) from even the E4 live transmission and similarly keeping the official reprimand out of public view. Very interesting in its own way to watch how they were all manipulated for the camera – so much for BB reflecting real life then.
The sponsors for this season by the way? Virgin Media. My cable company. Who, through their ownership of Living TV, make all that psychic bullshit and Jade-featuring reality shows (although of course they don’t feature Jade anymore, they’ve got Pete Burns in instead.) Aaargh, not impressed – with that and the service I’m getting, I think I might soon be giving BT a call.