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Celebrity Big Brother 2012 - A Brief Guide To Contestants

Ladies and gentlemen, Celebrity Big Brother returns, providing the important public service of locking some famous people in a compound so that we aren't exposed to them. Now on Channel 5, for the second year running!

Normally, the line-up for this show consists of a few genuinely well-known people, and then whatever else they can scrape together with the remaining budget. And last year, Jedward. Say what you will about this show, you have to admire anything that locks a bunch of Z-listers in a house with Jedward.

And now, so you don't have to watch it, we outline the celebrities going in this year and just who the hell they are, along with a few thoughts about each. In order of entry (no, not like that), we have...

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Name And Fame Claim: Natalie Cassidy, aka Sonia Jackson/Fowler from EastEnders.
Obscurity Factor: After over 15 years on that show, she's legitimately famous.
Do We Have An Opinion?: Since leaving EastEnders, mostly known for exercise DVDs and accompanying depressing press stories about her weight. Sonia was mostly known for playing a trumpet, so hopefully they'll give her one of those and make her parp at dawn every day for scraps.

Name And Fame Claim: Michael Madsen, actor of films like Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill.
Obscurity Factor: Appeared in proper Hollywood films, so I imagine the people at Channel 5 were in awe.
Do We Have An Opinion?: Not exactly a megastar, but he's definitely done interesting work. Still, if this is their token American Import for this year, he's not exactly Tara Reid. Maybe more of a Stephen Baldwin.

Name And Fame Claim: Andrew Stone, instructor from Pineapple Dance Studios, apprently.
Obscurity Factor: My first "Who?" of the evening.
Do We Have An Opinion?: My god, is this what it's come to already? I've never seen the Pineapple show, and having googled it, I... can see why that is the case. He can dance while Natalie plays the trumpet.

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Name And Fame Claim: Karissa and Kristina Shannon, twins, Playboy girls.
Obscurity Factor: If they are not the least famous people in the house, I will be horrified.
Do We Have An Opinion?: Clearly Channel 5's desire to get some sex into the show has reached boiling point. Hopefully they will turn out to be massive intellectual heavyweights, just to counter expectations.

Name And Fame Claim: Frankie Cocozza, evicted X Factor contestant and national hate figure.
Obscurity Factor: I'll admit this one is well-known. At the moment, at least.
Do We Have An Opinion?: I think we might. Based on our tormented X Factor blog posts, something like "dreadful human being, probably has crabs, also cannot sing". I wonder if he's arrogant enough to have already tattooed "Shannon Twins" onto his backside.

Name And Fame Claim: Gareth Thomas, played rugby for Wales
Obscurity Factor: Hugely experienced rugby player, top of the Pink List in 2010, fairly known.
Do We Have An Opinion?: Actually famous for being good at something, and as a role model for young gay men as well. Hard to have a negative view of this one. Imagine he'll be an early favourite to win.

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Name And Fame Claim: Nicola McLean, "glamour model and media personality".
Obscurity Factor: Second "Who?" of the evening.
Do We Have An Opinion?: No.

Name And Fame Claim: Kirk Norcross, from The Only Way Is Essex.
Obscurity Factor: Well, I've heard of the show.
Do We Have An Opinion?: The series is still successful, so I guess he qualifies. Sadly they used up the only TOWIE person I'd heard of in last year's CBB. As someone from Essex, I mostly feel that show is blackening my name, but there's not much I can do about that. Not legally, at least.

Name And Fame Claim: Georgia Salpa, Irish glamour model.
Obscurity Factor: Third "Who?" of the evening, even after I googled her.
Do We Have An Opinion?: First housemate so far to not even have a Wikipedia page, though I imagine she will soon enough. And, for anyone keeping count, the fourth who is famous primarily for glamour or Playboy modelling.

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Name And Fame Claim: Natasha Giggs, known for cheating on the lesser known Giggs brother with the successful footballer one.
Obscurity Factor: Famous only for having slept with someone famous.
Do We Have An Opinion?: Well, if you want a case study for the negative nature of modern "celebrity", here it is.

Name And Fame Claim: Romeo, MC in So Solid Crew.
Obscurity Factor: I have heard of his group, if not him personally.
Do We Have An Opinion?: Mostly notable for being the first musician so far, to be honest. Well, unless you count Frankie Cocozza. Might be doing it to get some attention for So Solid Crew, might just need the money. Does Natalie need to someone to put down some freestyle rhymes while she trumpets? This could be the birth of a new supergroup.

Name And Fame Claim: Denise Welch, Loose Women presenter and former Coronation Street actress.
Obscurity Factor: Actually famous over a sustained period.
Do We Have An Opinion?: Admittedly, I sighed with relief that we had someone who could call themselves a celebrity without needing to qualify it with a date. On the other hand... when we've reached the point where Denise Welch is reassuringly famous, has something gone wrong?

Those are your "celebrities" for this year. A few are genuinely famous, others recognisable only to readers of Nuts and Zoo (well, the attentive readers who actually look at the girl's face), a couple used to be well-known a while ago, and a moderately successful American actor who's clearly slumming it. In short, the exact same thing you see on Celebrity Big Brother every year, only a little worse.

So, that's our lot. How do you feel about all this? Should this show stop? Should it even have started? How many of those people had you heard of without googling or reading our descriptions?

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