My dear friends,
You know now, of course, the secret that I have been keeping from most
of you for the last few weeks and months. It has been the hardest part
of this process - a lie by omission is still a lie and I hope that you
can forgive me for that.
I don't really know where to begin, but I might as well start with my
motivation for entering the House.
I don't remember where I was or who I was with and I wouldn't say if I
could. I do remember very vividly that someone told me last year that
they thought that I "…wouldn't be able to hack it inside the House."
It was a throw-away comment but from that point onwards I was
determined to prove them wrong. I've no great desire to be famous -
you all know me to be an essentially private person, and given that I
can't sing, dance, act or present, it's hard to see how I would take
advantage of my "fame". I've achieved my target: I'm in the House, so
whether I last a day or nine weeks I'll get what I want out of the
experience. I know one thing though: I won't quit - I will be able to
hack it in the House.
I have had a very interesting and pleasant time since January. The
application video was filmed by Richard and Harriet's flat's pool on
the idyllic North shore of Sydney Harbour with the boats of the Sydney
Yacht Club bobbing up and down in the background. It's not that good
because it was just one of a couple of dozen takes and I was planning
to film the finished article later but a number of gin and tonics and
a good book got in the way and I didn't get around to it.
The initial application form to go with the video was filled in in an
hour or so when I landed back in Blighty, jetlagged to hell and back.
I was invited to an audition within a few weeks but I had started to
give up hope! We were invited to Endemol's offices in London and for
the morning session, groups of twenty-five played communication games
for an hour. A random number of applicants, four in my case, were
invited back for the afternoon sessions, and we think that two dozen
in two groups from about five hundred were selected in all. The games
were team-working based from then on and it was exactly like a team
building day at work.
My group split into two teams and had mock debates with the other
team, and other exercises designed to get us talking - to get us
talking about ourselves more importantly. I'm sure that I will use
some of the games at work - they really knew what they were doing.
One example sticks in my mind. We were playing a game where you had to
write on a post-it note something that the rest of the group wouldn't
guess about you, and then the opposing team had to say who they
thought had written what. When it came to guessing, everyone else used
the format "The secret is X, and we think it is person Y because Z." I
don't think it was any accident that my team gave me the most
difficult one to do, and there was almost a sigh of relief when I
found the right way to say: "K", "we think that you have big enough
bollocks to tell us that you are HIV positive." It was that kind of
afternoon, open and honest contribution from all - like a big free
Although intense, it was very enjoyable. I certainly received the
right signals from the rest of the group. The producers pretended to
make us vote for someone to be kicked out of the afternoon session and
I was one of only two or three not to receive any votes. It has been
nice that from that day on I have got on very well with the producers
and researchers. I was the only one during the day that I saw had made
the effort to remember their names, for instance.
They sent us away with a twenty-five page questionnaire to complete in
only four days. It was what you might expect: "what do you like, what
do you hate, top five films and pieces of music". It was several weeks
before I received another call to say that I made it through to the
I had to go to a nearby tube station and wait outside the Post Office
at precisely 1:30pm. I wasn't to be early or late in case the meeting
point was being watched! Anyone who approached me wouldn't introduce
themselves or use the phrase "Big Brother" - if they did they were a
fake. Very James Bond! I was just about on time but instead of getting
into a limo and being driven to a secret location as I had been told,
we walked down the road to a couple of rooms that they had in a hotel.
I spent about three-quarters of an hour with the researchers and
producers doing some paper-work and having polite conversation -
possibly deliberately to see if I could actually talk to people. I'd
met a couple of them before (including the quite lovely A!) and it
only served to reinforce my opinion that they quite liked me - very
reassuring! It was a nice chat at the very least and it couldn't have
done any harm to my chances.
Next up was the interview with the two executive producers, B and C.
It was only supposed to last half an hour but you know me, and I was
in there for just over an hour. I was under the mistaken impression
that it was a session for them to get to know me but it turned into a
lecture about the negative sides to the experience. In any case, I had
had one of those the previous time (and indeed most of the interviews
have had this focus), so it was relatively easy.
I think that they are intrigued by me. They can't understand why
someone (and this is *their* pedestal from which I couldn't seem to
remove myself, no matter what I did) who has a pretty good life (lots
of good friends, job, car, laptop, 'phone etc) wants to put it all on
the line. They seemed scared that I would get bored either of inane
conversation or the people (although the other applicants on the first
weekend were all very friendly, interesting people and I'm sure that
my House-mates will be too) and do a runner. It led to a fascinating
discussion about the kind of people they want on the show.
C became quite passionate for the only time in the interview (apart
from that, it was a very 'professional' conversation, if you know what
I mean) and talked at length about the lessons that they had learned
from last year's endless talk of sex and drunken holidays in the Med.
For some reason, I believed genuinely for the first time that they
wanted me on the show and that I had done enough to persuade them that
I wouldn't do a bunk. It sounds incredibly arrogant to say so, but
from then on I never doubted that I would be in the House - I just had
a funny feeling: Fate had rolled the dice and the path was set. It was
a good thing that I did because I have been working like a demon ever
since in order to get things prepared at work.
I have been careful not to let the production company think that they
know me (I don't like being pigeonholed and it's what got me into this
situation in the first place) and I have, for instance, worn different
styles of clothing each time that I have seen them. I have been
casual, smart casual, in a band T-shirt and after coming back from
hockey tour they saw me with a limp from my knee, long hair, a full
beard and terrible clothes - I looked like a tramp!
However, whether by chance or design I wore a suit the first time I
saw the lead psychiatrist, D. I've never been questioned like that
before: "do you masturbate with Simon in the flat, did you used to
masturbate with Phil when you shared a bedroom growing up, have you
received anal sex, why not, why do you think that you never will?" I
answered openly and honestly (and usually in the negative, especially
to those questions!) but I made D work too. I was frightened that he
would misinterpret my answers because I have never been to a
psychiatrist before and didn't know what to expect.
Every answer given was discussed thoroughly until I was sure that he
knew my opinion exactly. The planned forty minute session lasted well
over an hour and a half and I was exhausted by the process. I didn't
go back to work afterwards as intended, which I why I had worn a suit
in the first place. Towards the end I asked him whether he thought
that I was suitable for the show and surprisingly for a psychiatrist
but unsurprisingly given the type of conversation that we had had, he
gave me an answer: "No."
I have a road-map to life apparently. He thought that I am in control
of everything that I do but that because everything always goes
according to plan I would be unable to cope with the unexpected
occurrences that I can't control both in and outside of the House.
"Organised and in control" - ridiculous! If only he had talked to you
all first! My parting comment to him was "Take a gamble on me, D. I
think that you will be surprised." He had said earlier that my mind
works unlike any other that he had met in twenty-five years of his
professional life. Given that he must have given me the nod to
progress even with the doubts that he had, I have a tremendous respect
for the bloke.
The second psychiatrist interview with E was easier. The questions
were the same - indeed I had the impression that they were testing me
to see if I had told any porkies the first time. It was still hard
work though, probably because I was responding to some very personal
questions from a middle-aged woman. I'll probably need therapy to get
over that session when I get out! I never thought that I would be
discussing what kind of pornography I like with someone who could have
been a friend's mum.
Twenty-four hours later, F the director/cameraman and G the producer
followed me around for the day. Simon and I were interviewed in the
flat on camera, and although many of the questions had been asked of
me in previous interviews, I don't think it will come across well.
Ironically, I'm not very good in front of a camera: nervous and
Phil and I went to a driving range later that afternoon. We found a
couple of booths at the end with no-one nearby so the camera wasn't an
issue. I was pleased with my driving although no doubt I will look
terrible on film. At least 15% of my 150 or so balls with a two Wood
went straight and true - far better than expected! The weather had
been threatening but turned it turned out to be rather pleasant. I had
a really good time and will have to go regularly when I get out. I
need to get a handicap so that I can play golf with the Riders in
Spain next Easter.
Two hours late, we arrived at Alex and Michala's house in Surrey. If
you don't know them, their garden backs onto a park, and a stream cuts
off a portion of the land into an area that can only be accessed from
their house and a few of their neighbours'. It's a perfect location
for a private but spacious, open-air barbecue and Alex and Michala had
pulled out all of the stops. When I walked into the garden the meat
from their marvelous butcher was sizzling nicely and we were able to
crack on with the filming straightaway.
F and G are great blokes and it felt like I knew G already as we had
talked at length for about a week in preparation for the day's
filming. It was fantastic that they stayed after the light had gone
and had a few beers and some food with us. After they left, five of
us - with Ben playing the part of the very generous barman - polished
off a bottle of Sambuca in a little over half an hour. Poor old Ben
had to drive back to Cardiff the next morning and I was a couple of
hours late for work after we had recovered his car from Surrey.
I had another session with D a week or so later. I was determined to
make it easier than the first time and I think that he appreciated it.
You can always tell when he's pleased because he says "thanks" after
your answers. I'll never forget the moment when I realised that he had
changed his mind about me - my heart missed a couple of beats.
A, the executive producer whom I had met before, called later that
bank holiday evening. I have been looked after wonderfully by H and J
for the last few weeks and it was J who left a message to expect a
call, which came after Simon, Mike and I had watched X-Men 2.
In the gently spitting rain as we walked back home from the cinema,
Simon asked me whether I would like to go into the House and I said
that I would. There was no excitement which must have been strange to
those party to the conversation at either end but it was because a
voice in my head, quietly but clearly and insistently, was saying:
"Well this will teach you. Your actions have consequences, young man."
What a price to pay for a momentary flash of pique almost a year ago!
Since then the days have been long and the nights short. More people
have needed to be told and I have tried to talk to everyone personally
which has meant lots of 'phone calls and more interviews, although
thankfully this time with friends and family. It has been quite
noticeable that even though I have talked for many dozens of hours
recently, it has all been about me. I have hardly picked up any news
about you all - often I have been too tired to ask. I hope that it
won't be like that when I get out. You will know everything that I
have been doing but I won't have shared in your lives and I will want
to catch up.
Nearly there. If you have any questions about anything, from how to
handle the press, to what will happen when I get out, please direct
them to the people that you know in the CC list to this e-mail. Some
of you have been told in advance as and when it has been necessary to
do so and I can only apologise to the rest of you: you're too ugly to
go on camera J At least one representative from each group of friends
met last Sunday at Alex and Michala's and they will be able to provide
I cannot end without apologising for the things that I will miss
whilst I am in the house:
Rod, I hope you have a great leaving do and that you enjoy your next
job. I know that you will be great. Obviously I lied when I said that
I would be there, which is far less than you deserve. Sorry.
Ben, sorry to miss your birthday - I always enjoy those weekends - and
that it will be swamped by the attention that I will be getting. All
of you have been supportive beyond my wildest dreams, but our talks
and your willingness to be wherever and do whatever is necessary have
been invaluable. This e-mail was written a week before you played your
guitar to me for an entire evening on Thursday, but I already know
that it kept me sane and the memory of it will continue to do so until
I leave the House.
Alex and Michala, no less has been your support and friendship over
the last few weeks. I always say that one should be careful about the
friends that they choose as they define you, in a way. Truly, I must
be a prince amongst men. Continue to have a good start to the cricket
season, don't let Pete burn the sausages and I hope to be out in time
for tour. Ask Charlie to arrange an armed escort in Cornwall if I make
Simon, I will miss out on all of the hassle that you will get whilst I
am not there. Not once have I heard a murmour of complaint. The dozens
of hours that we have talked about this thing have enabled me to reach
this stage. Thank you - I don't know how I shall ever repay you.
Piers and Kelly, I have been looking forward to your wedding for an
age. As I write this I am already missing out on your stag-week,
Piers. I thought that I would be there for you at every stage and I
have let you down to the extent that I might miss all of it. I don't
know what to say. Just make sure that the wedding video works, and I
want plenty of pictures of the dress and the place settings please,
Jemma, I haven't even met Jay yet and if I go the distance you'll be
married before I'm let out. Please make it down to the welcome-out
party (details will be sent round later) so that I can see you both!
Dawn, if my motivation for going into the House as stated at the top
of this e-mail isn't good enough, then this one is for you. I will
never forget the kindness that you showed me when you gave me a roof
over my head two years ago. The jeans looked nice on you, but this is
your real thank-you present. I'll miss you snog Dermot, but you'd
better hurry up otherwise Cath will get in there first! Simon, please
arrange for Dawn's visit to BBLB with the Care team.
Last but not least, to the person who hasn't been mentioned yet: I'll
To all of you, please make a real effort (many have tried and many
have failed) to understand that this won't necessarily be a pleasant
experience for you. You will see aspects of my character that you
won't have seen before and I am bound to say things that you will not
like. The psychiatrists have been at pains to point out that because I
am who I am, there is a better than even chance that I will be
labelled as posh, arrogant, aloof, over-bearing and conceited. Please
don't worry about the press coverage or how it will affect me. It will
be like water off a duck's back and it will pass.
I haven't been able to share this experience with as many of you as I
would have liked and that will continue to be the case - this show
really is a double-edged sword. There is every likelihood that you
won't see me for a few weeks after the show as I go and do interviews
and the like, and I don't expect there to be many "celebrity" parties
for you to attend, if any. I want to get back to work as soon as
possible, I'm afraid. I love my work and I have targets to hit!
The very last thing: Please try and protect Mum and Dad. They really
are hopeless and don't understand how hard this will be on them. I
don't mind what the press print about me but they don't want to be
read about or appear on the TV. I would prefer it if no aspect of
their lives is reported, even if you think it might do some good.
I love you all,
I ain’t saying that it’s wrong for you
It just don’t make sense to me
> Before he went into the BB house, Jon prepared an email to be
> sent to all of his mates on the 23rd May. Below are the
> contents of that email:
> My dear friends,
Christ, the Communist Manifesto wasn't that long.
"However far you may travel in this world, you
will still occupy the same volume of space."
- Traditional Ur-Bororo saying