So which did you choose to watch at 9pm? The Apprentice (BBC1) or Big Brother's live launch (CH4)? For me, the lure of Big Brother 8 proved too much, particularly as The Apprentice is repeated and BB8 is live.
Following a disastrous Celebrity Big Brother 2007, thanks to the Shilpa Shetty race row, Endemol were expected to play it safe for BB8. The new "eye logo" is a harmonious rainbow colour, for starters.
Davina McCall somehow continues to keep her job, despite constantly proving herself the most irritating woman on television. She's all staggering legs, gurning face and rictus grins. So imagine my surprise when... Davina was on pretty good form! She even looked young and sexy in a figure-hugging black dress with tight leather jacket combo! And, despite being an even-numbered Big Brother, Davina broken unofficial BB law and isn't heavily pregnant...
Her obligatory tour of the house still aroused a few frustrations, however. There's something inherently annoying about watching a woman who's just 5 months away from her 40th birthday getting excited about Mario Brothers-esque shower heads, underwater jacuzzi cameras and a transparent Diary Room chair.
The house itself did its usual transformation that always seems refreshing and luxurious on the opening night, but will have burned your retina out by week 5. Bright, colourful, vibrant and full of "oh-so-hilarious" eccentricities: a bath in the front room, an oven in the bedroom, a fish phone, a bullseye on the floor, elongated beds and the supposedly "iconic" mangle (that you never see anyone use.)
But a BB house isn't a BB house without housemates. So enter the latest mix of vaccuous bimbos, oddballs, fame-hungry bitches and perplexed oldies:
Sam & Amanda, 18, social workers. BB's first ever twin housemates. Very giggly, very silly, prone to screeching, like "hot boys" and "pink things", rate themselves 10/10 for attractiveness. Consequently, they earned the first boo's of the evening. The new Chantelle(s). To think these bimbos are social workers is staggering!
Lesley, 60, retired head hunter. Not human heads, we assume, although it can't be long before ratings demands a serial-killer is thrown into the house. Her surname is Brain too, worryingly. Lesley's the resident eccentric, a former stand-up comedian(!) and expert on Charles Dickens. She was boo'd. The new Germaine Greer.
Charley, 21, unemployed. An ex-lapdancer who loves money and doesn't know the value of it through virtue of her cousin being a Man Utd footballer. Undoubtedly attractive, but her self-proclaimed It Girl demeanour earned a cacophony of booing and chants of "GET HER OUT!" before she'd entered the house!
Tracey, 36, cleaner. The resident nutter. A pink-haired raver whose gender is only determinable by her name (and even then I wasn't 100% sure). She collects carrier bags and lightbulbs. This year's Bez.
Chanelle, 19, student bar worker. For a few seconds she seemed to be the sanest person so far, but her adoration of Victoria Beckham has clearly taken control of her mind. She's a fun Yorkshire lass who's pretencious and proud (her words). Her first words upon entering the house: "Fuck me up the bum!" Posh Spice couldn't have said it better, love...
Shabnam, 22, unemployed. A girl who loves dancing, make-up, chocolate and her i-pod, although that's no way to distinguish her from anyone else! But she likes eating, which helps. A clear Amy Whinehouse double.
Emily, 19, drama student. She refreshingly talks about intelligence and education, but spoils it by gushing over make-up, shoes and clothes (like everyone else so far). She spent £4,000 on her teeth! A Peaches Geldof lookalike who's after a "rocker boy". Exposed her own stupidity by hilariously considering indie music fresh and new!
Laura, 23, nanny. With so many drop dead gorgeous girls (beyond Lesley and Tracey), in comes Welsh girl Laura. Her friends say she's a female Peter Kay lookalike (her pals are cruel but honest). She's talkative, likes sweeping leaves off graveyards and has a habit of stealing drinks.
Nicky, 27, bank administrator. An adopted orphan from Bombay who loves electro-music and hates men (she's in luck). Her half-brother is an actor in TV show Skins and she describes herself as ballsy. Asked "do I look really miserable?" Yes. Yes, you do.
Carole, 53, unemployed health worker. Bisexual east Londoner who regularly campaigns against war. Ugly, overweight with Olive Oil hair. Defining quote: "If people want an argument, here's the fuckin' argument!" Bizarrely, she earned the evening's biggest applause, prompting bookies to make her the early favourite. I'm not sure if the cheering was in response to the braindead limpets who'd come before, or the fact her appearance marked the end of the evening.
So, if you haven't guessed, all the housemates were girls. It's the latest "opening twist" Big Brother likes to do. Apparently, a man will enter the house on Friday. Rumour has it that the girls will face weekly evictions and be replaced by men for the next month or so.
Some early thoughts:
-- Is a house full of women a good idea? I know they'll be replaced, but I'm not convinced it's going to be the "hotbed of bitchiness" the producers think. There are no boys to get jealous over, so I'm predicting a nauseating den of conversations on lipgloss and hair-platting. I'm not beingt sexist, it's just the clear impression I'm left with given the housemates' personalities.
-- Actually, as most of the girls are dumb and sexy, I think it's clear the public are being asked to vote off the worst "hangers-on". As distasteful as Lesley, Tracey and Carole seem to be physically, they have personality. Once the likes of wannabe Chanelle and freeloader Charley are kicked out and replaced with men, balance will be attained.
-- What's with the age range? Most of the house are under-25! I'm pretty sure the over-25s were well-represented in past years, so what's going on? Again, I'm not being ageist, but a good chunk of BB is just watching people talk and interact, and conversation from stupid 18-year-olds isn't going to be stimulating in any sense. The last time a group of brainless young girls got together on BB, they spent their time making racist comments!
-- Not as many "controversial" people. Tracey and Carole are the only loons you usually see going into the house. There isn's a transexual, transvestite or outrageously homosexual man in sight! Just young, attractive, stupid girls. Well, mostly.
-- As a Virgin Media customer, I'm disappointed to see Virgin using the millions they've saved from ditching Sky channels to sponsor BB8!
Overall, it was an interesting start to BB8 given the difficulties Endemol faced earlier in the year. I'm not convinced by the all-female house -- as men have proven to be more entertaining on BB. A house full of babes has its lurid appeal for now, but the faster the boys get in to shake things up, the better.
As experience has taught us, you can't really judge anything based on the Live Launch alone. It's amazing how much people lie and exaggerate themselves to get on the show, then shrink into a corner once they're safely in. As if to illustrate this, in just 1 hour "crazy Tracey" was mooching around in the background by herself, while 60-year-old Lesley muttered under her breath as visions of youthful beauty continually wafted through the doors.