TV Cream

Time Capsule

Celebrity Sleepover

EMERGING BLEARILY FROM THE DOCU-SOAP ERA, BBC1 staggered into the new dawn – soon to be dubbed ‘reality TV’ – with this capering, low-rent series in which cul-de-sac dwelling ‘real people’ would play host to a celeb. While Mum generally cooed over the prospect of dinner-on-the-lap with George Clooney, to the hilarity of all, in reality it was either Jeremy Beadle, Frank Bruno, Denise Welch, Richard Whiteley, Michael Winner or – in the first episode – Vanessa Feltz looking nervously out of the window in that fast approaching cab.

Quickly becoming a THORN BIRDS-shaped own-goal for the Beeb (La Feltz later moaned: “Beating ITV with Blue Planet is a triumph. Beating ITV with Celebrity Sleepover is a tragedy”) it wasn’t all that bad, particularly when you take the TV temperature of the time (first episode aired on the same night C4 succumbed to all-out Paedogeddon).

Highlights included Beadlebum thundering: “If they show me the figure where they got bigger figures than I did, I shall be very impressed. Show me the figures!!” when Mum asserted Lisa Riley had improved YOU’VE BEEN FRAMED! Meanwhile, Frank Bruno proved aloof and moody. Nary a “hur hur hur” was heard, the boxer instead musing: “I’m in a strange place, strange environment. I’m a Scorpio, man, I like to know what’s going on.” It’s called the regions, Frank. Get used to it. Michael Winner, on the other hand, was a proper old gent.

Also provided steady work for PAUL “WHICH MEANS DANNY BAKER’S NOT AVAILABLE” ROSS who’d coach Mum or Dad, ready for their ‘big’ interview with celeb at the end of the show. But we’ll try not to hold that against it.



  1. Jill Phythian

    January 12, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Dull-but-true story alert. My then-housemates and I applied to be on this show, on a whim, and we were offered Richard Whiteley. Unfortunately, one housemate was going to be away at a work conference on the days they wanted to film, and another decided she was too scared to appear on TV so we dropped out.

    I do remember having several extensive phone chats with a researcher whose ultra-enthusiasm I found hard to match, and we had vague plans to take him to Walthamstow dog track and feed him aubergine pasta bake. But I drew a total blank when asked what questions we’d ask him in the interview section: I mean, what did the world want to know about Richard Whiteley? Absolutely nothing, surely?

  2. TV Cream

    January 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Well, his term as mayor of Wetwang, surely? His home-made ITN car sticker? Almost getting fired from Countdown on a jaunt to France during which he was referred to as ‘Monsieur Twatley’?

    Frankly, Jill, we’re disappointed.

  3. Glenn A

    August 13, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Surprised no one has dug up a few more reality gems from the last decade. Surely Katie and Peter, the ultimate borefest about the life of a former glamour model and a one hit wonder who pair off on a reality show, must rank far lower than this. At least Richard Whiteley was bearable and intelligent, these two HEAT magazine regulars were nothing but thick, unpleasant idiots who thrived on ITV2 showing their banal lives to the million or so saddos who thought it worthwhile. Show ended when Katie Price/Jordan whatever split from Peter Andre and pulled someone on Celebrity Big Brother, leaving Andre to go his separate way and milk ITV2 for whatever pointless show they can dream up for him.

  4. Nina

    June 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    LOL I was on that show with Richard Whiteley, we became the most unlikely friendship. Lovely man RIP xx

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