Since it launched in 2000, Big Brother (and it’s star-studded spin-off, Celebrity Big Brother) has never been far from controversy. There have been various investigations by numerous organisations, including TV watchdogs and the police.
With so many to choose from, it’s not easy to choose the most shocking Big Brother contestants of all time. But this lot are definitely up there for causing their fair share of controversy.
1. Nick Bateman (2000)
Nick Bateman’s scheming ways in the very first series of Big Brother might seem like nothing compared to the fighting, bullying and prejudice that viewers have witnessed since then, but “Nasty Nick” will go down in the reality-TV history books and his superb line, “I live by the sword, I die by the sword” is one of the best BB quotes of all time.
2. Makosi Musambasi (2005)
After an explicit midnight “romp” in the pool, Big Brother‘s Makosi claimed to have conceived fellow housemate Anthony Hutton’s child and asked for a pregnancy test (which thankfully turned out to be negative).
3. Jade Goody (CBB, 2007)
2008’s Celebrity Big Brother is possibly the most controversial series of the show ever, sparking worldwide debate after Big Brother 3 contestant, the late Jade Goody, made allegedly racist comments about fellow housemate, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, referring to her as “Shilpa F***awallah,” “Shilpa Daroopa” and “Shilpa Poppadom.”
A record number of over 45,000 complaints were recorded, protests took place across India, and Goody was kicked off the show. Then Chancellor of the Exchequer and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was visiting India at the time, found himself asked questions about Big Brother throughout his trip.
4. Charley Uchea (2007)
Big Brother intervened swiftly after housemate Emily Parr used the word, n*****, in conversation with Charley Uchea, and disqualified Parr from the show. However, 922 viewers complained to Ofcom when producers took no action following Uchea’s continued use of the same word, accusing them of favouritism. Channel 4 later confirmed that Uchea had been called to the Diary Room and reprimanded after using the word twice in one night, but this wasn’t broadcast on TV.
Uchea received her third warning after suggesting that housemate Gerry Stergiopoulos was a paedophile, triggering over 300 Ofcom complaints after saying Gerry liked to “sleep with 15-year-olds.”
5. Alexandra De-Gale (2008)
Within the first week of the show, media watchdog Ofcom and Channel 4 had collectively received over 400 complaints about alleged bullying from housemate Alexandra De-Gale, after an argument broke out between her and the other housemates regarding oven chips. De-Gale was warned that her behaviour could be deemed threatening, and after only two weeks she was ejected from the house for apparently threatening to have housemates who nominated her for eviction dealt with by her “gangster friends.”
6. Helen Wood (2014)
Wood received a caution from Big Brother following accusations that she was bullying fellow housemate Jale Karatup. She received her first formal warning for being aggressive and using threatening behaviour in an argument with Matthew, and her second after using threatening language when talking about Ashleigh. Despite her behaviour, Wood went on to win the show.
She also appeared as a “guest” on the 2015 series and lived up to her previous reputation, calling Victor Ebuwa “coke-head” and telling Brian Belo he looked like “a rapist and a murderer,” for which Belo later said he sought counselling.
7. Jeremy Jackson (CBB, 2015)
After only a few days in the Celebrity Big Brother house, American actor Jeremy Jackson was pulled from the show by Big Brother for “wholly unacceptable behaviour,” after exposing Chloe Goodman’s breast by pulling on her dressing gown while she was helping him vomit after drinking too much. Jackson explained he did not know Goodman was naked underneath the robe, and also took her helping him as “flirtation,” before back-tracking and stating he was too “emotionally wounded to really even gauge any real relationship-type flirtation.” Following a police investigation, Jackson was given a caution for common assault by Hertfordshire Police.
8. Farrah Abraham (CBB, 2015)
Teen Mom star Abraham left the Celebrity Big Brother house in disgrace after threatening to spit on and kill all of her housemates. During a secret task, which instructed her to do everything she could to irk the British housemates, she shocked viewers and reduced some housemates to tears with extremely graphic, homophobic and offensive words.
The drama didn’t stop after Abraham left the show. She appeared on Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit On The Side with Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace (probably not the best idea) and got into a fight, which lead to the broadcast being taken off-air and resulted in panelist Vicki Michelle attending hospital for her injuries.
9. Megan McKenna (CBB, 2016)
So far, the present series of Celebrity Big Brother has brought plenty of controversy, mainly in the form of former Ex on the Beach contestant Megan McKenna.
Viewers called for 23-year-old McKenna’s immediate eviction from the CBB house after explosive scenes saw her having to be restrained by two security guards in the Diary Room when she launched a stream of abuse at Tiffany Pollard, calling her a “ghetto c***.” She also lashed out at John Partridge, calling him a “little lying scumbag c***.” The show’s producers released a statement on Twitter shortly after the explosive episode aired, confirming McKenna had been disciplined for her behaviour.