From the voice of an angel to X-rated antics with pigs, Ian Hyland takes a look at why we fell in love with reality telly over the past 20 years
Top reality TV stars over past two decades from Susan Boyle, Gemma Collins to Ant & Dec

Top reality TV stars over past two decades from Susan Boyle, Gemma Collins to Ant & Dec

Top reality TV stars over past two decades from Susan Boyle, Gemma Collins to Ant & Dec

Top reality TV stars over past two decades from Susan Boyle, Gemma Collins to Ant & Dec

Top reality TV stars over past two decades from Susan Boyle, Gemma Collins to Ant & Dec

Top reality TV stars over past two decades from Susan Boyle, Gemma Collins to Ant & Dec
Top reality TV stars over past two decades from Susan Boyle, Gemma Collins to Ant & Dec
  • 2020-01-15 00:25:07 4 days ago
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It’s 20 years this week since the birth of reality shows on British TV, with Ben Fogle on Castaway.

Here Ian Hyland picks his Top 20 reality TV stars over the last two decades, and the moment that defined them.

From the voice of an angel to X-rated antics with pigs, Ian looks at the most memorable snippets from reality telly over the past 20 years from Susan Boyle's powerful Britain's Got Talent moment in 2009 to 'The GC' Gemma Collins.

Not forgetting big names such as music mogul Simon Cowell, popular Brit TV duo Ant & Dec and showbiz royalty Sharon Osborne.

No other UK TV judge has ever come close to Craig Revel Horwood in full-on destruction mode
No other UK TV judge has ever come close to Craig Revel Horwood in full-on destruction mode

Craig Revel Horwood

No other UK TV judge has ever come close to Craig Revel Horwood in full-on destruction mode. And you have to admire his bravery.

“You had a bizarre vacant look on your face like someone who has just been lobotomised,” he said to a national hero’s mum – Judy Murray – in front of 12 million viewers.

★Most memorable moment: Craig believed he was simply laughing along with Anton’s comedy Austin Powers teeth. Only problem was they were Anton’s real teeth. Even Tess Daly laughed.

I had so many insane conversations with David Gest in real life, there was no way I was leaving him off this list
I had so many insane conversations with David Gest in real life, there was no way I was leaving him off this list

David Gest

I had so many insane conversations with David in real life, there was no way I was leaving him off this list. For his campfire stories alone, he should have won I’m A Celebrity in 2006.

★Most memorable moment: Typical David, he was asleep throughout his finest hour back in 2016: Angie Bowie telling their fellow CBB housemate Tiffany Pollard, “David’s dead” and Tiffany thinking she meant David Gest , not David Bowie. An unfolding drama that could not have been scripted better.

Whether you like her on not, you cannot deny Gemma Collins – instantly makes any TV show 50% more watchable
Whether you like her on not, you cannot deny Gemma Collins – instantly makes any TV show 50% more watchable

Gemma Collins

Whether you like her on not, you cannot deny Gemma Collins – or The GC as she’d prefer to be known – instantly makes any TV show 50% more watchable. I understand why the Strictly bookers are loath to put the call in, but
they surely accept it must be done this year.

★Most memorable moment: So many to choose from, but trotting around the CelebrityBig Brother garden with a Shetland pony just pips her Dancing On Ice faceplant.

Celebrity Love Island from 2005 starring Jayne Middlemiss
Celebrity Love Island from 2005 starring Jayne Middlemiss

Jayne Middlemiss

The current Love Islanders probably don’t even know who Jayne is, so we can’t expect them to appreciate the debt they all owe her. Her stint on the celebrity version in 2005 featured the kind of awkward love triangle upon which the ITV2 hit now thrives – Jayne, Abi Titmuss and Lee Sharpe.

★Most memorable moment: A toss-up between Jayne’s emotional diary room confessional – “I’m crying on TV. Over a boy” – and her tearing Lee apart on camera over his deception.

It may have ended badly but for a while Katie Price and Peter Andre was the greatest love story ever told
It may have ended badly but for a while Katie Price and Peter Andre was the greatest love story ever told

Katie Price/Peter Andre

It may have ended badly but for a while this was the greatest love story ever told. It captured the imagination to such an extent that Katie and Peter kept it going for the next five years through various fly-on-the-wall shows for ITV2.

★Most memorable moment: Their TV wedding in 2005. It was like a fairy tale, with Katie’s Cinderella dress and Disney carriage. It even took place in a castle. Pete was a bit sweaty though. Was it an omen?

Rebecca Loos on Channel 5’s woefully underrated The Farm stimulating a male pig
Rebecca Loos on Channel 5’s woefully underrated The Farm stimulating a male pig

Rebecca Loos

Cards-on-the-table time. I’m only including David Beckham’s old pal in this rundown for one reason. What a reason though: possibly reality TV’s most memorable moment ever. Rebecca on Channel 5’s woefully underrated The Farm doing to a male pig what must be done to male pigs on farms in order for more pigs to be made.

★Most memorable moment: Please don’t make me go into further detail.

He’s made such a name for himself as a TV presenter, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Rylan even took part in The X Factor
He’s made such a name for himself as a TV presenter, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Rylan even took part in The X Factor

Rylan Clark-Neal

He’s made such a name for himself as a TV presenter, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Rylan even took part in The X Factor . He also put a tidy shift in on Celebrity Big Brother . Next stop? Strictly Come Dancing , I reckon. Hosting it, not competing in it.

★Most memorable moment: His dramatic Judges’ Houses tears on hearing Nicole Scherzinger had put him through to the finals. To be fair, it was a big deal back then.

The king of the X Factor 2010 - Wagner
The king of the X Factor 2010 - Wagner

Wagner

Chico and Jedward are fair shouts, but even they must bow to the king of The X Factor. Giving the retired PE teacher from Brazil a wildcard to the finals in 2010 remains the No.1 contribution to music made by Louis Walsh. Don’t ask me what No.2 is.

★Most memorable moment: Who can forget his She Bangs/Love Shack medley? Or Cheryl Tweedy tearing into him for calling her “a girl from a council estate who got lucky”? Technically he had a point.

Alison Hammond is now one of the finest showbiz interviewers on British TV after her Big Brother stint
Alison Hammond is now one of the finest showbiz interviewers on British TV after her Big Brother stint

Alison Hammond

Some people might have taken being voted out second on Big Brother as a hint. Not Alison Hammond. She bounced back and ended up taking part in Strictly and I’m A Celeb. Not only that, she carved out a niche on This Morning and is now one of the finest showbiz interviewers on British TV.

★Most memorable moment: Pretending she’d peed in the Big Brother shower to annoy clean freak Alex Sibley. It may have led indirectly to her eviction, but was probably worth it.

Ann Widdecombe may not be your political cup of tea, but her reality TV show pedigree cannot be disputed
Ann Widdecombe may not be your political cup of tea, but her reality TV show pedigree cannot be disputed

Ann Widdecombe

She may not be your political cup of tea, but her reality TV show pedigree cannot be disputed. We were all behind her as she attempted to shift some chunk on Celebrity Fit Club in 2002 and we were definitely there for her comedy routines with Anton Du Beke in 2010’s Strictly. Following accusations of homophobia, she fared less well with some viewers on Celebrity Big Brother in 2018.

★Most memorable moment: That paso doble on Strictly. We didn’t know if Anton was dancing with her or performing a citizen’s arrest.

Okay, so Ant & Dec would probably still have been stars without reality TV
Okay, so Ant & Dec would probably still have been stars without reality TV

Ant & Dec

Okay, so Ant & Dec would probably still have been stars without reality TV. But, would reality TV have been such a success without them though? I doubt it. I’m A Celebrity would have finished at least six years ago. All we need now is for one of them to be a contestant.

★ Most memorable moment: Nothing tops the absolute joy in their eyes as Paul Burrell squealed his way through that Bushtucker Trial in 2004.

Davina McCall lived and breathed Big Brother and she conducted the crowd on eviction night
Davina McCall lived and breathed Big Brother and she conducted the crowd on eviction night

Davina McCall

It’s hard to describe just how much of a TV event Friday nights were in the early years of Big Brother. Much of the credit for that went to the host. Davina lived and breathed Big Brother and she conducted the crowd on eviction night like a circus ringmaster.

★Most memorable moment: The genuine OMG moment in 2005 when Davina wore a black bikini as she conducted Sam Heuston’s eviction interview. TV hosts just didn’t do that in those days.

Jade Goody remains the most powerful example of reality TV’s ability to turn an unknown into a star
Jade Goody remains the most powerful example of reality TV’s ability to turn an unknown into a star

Jade Goody

Jade remains the most powerful example of reality TV’s ability to turn an unknown into a star. In the space of one barmy summer she went from being a dental nurse in Bermondsey to being one of the most talked-about celebs in Britain. Jade’s life ended tragically young but even then she pushed the boundaries, taking part in a fly-on-the-wall series as she prepared for death following her cancer diagnosis.

★Most memorable moment: Jade and bridesmaids going up West to Harrods to blag some wedding gear. You can take the girl out of Bermondsey…

It could be argued that Kerry Katona is the epitome of reality TV – she has literally lived her real life on our screens
It could be argued that Kerry Katona is the epitome of reality TV – she has literally lived her real life on our screens

Kerry Katona

It could be argued that she is the epitome of reality TV – she has literally lived her real life on our screens. When that happens you have to take the good with the bad, and as the bad has been so well documented, let’s celebrate the good. She won I’m A Celebrity in 2004 and was runner-up on Celebrity Big Brother in 2011. So at least the public loves her.

★ Most memorable moment: The Iceland adverts Kerry did after becoming Queen of the Jungle still make me smile. Prawn ring, anyone?

Nick Bateman's crime on the very first series of Big Brother – passing secret notes to his fellow housemates - shocked viewers
Nick Bateman's crime on the very first series of Big Brother – passing secret notes to his fellow housemates - shocked viewers

Nasty Nick Bateman

The fact that will still call him Nasty Nick is testament to the enduring power of reality TV. His crime on the very first series of Big Brother – passing secret notes to his fellow housemates – seems tame in comparison to what we’ve seen since. At the time though HE DESERVED HELL FIRE!

★ Most memorable moment: The house meeting in which Craig Phillips exposed Nick’s “very dirty plan”. I still recall the message I received from my boss as it was happening: “Put Channel 4 on. Now!”

Nikki Grahame's famous phrase 'WHO IS SHE' on Big Brother in 2006
Nikki Grahame's famous phrase 'WHO IS SHE' on Big Brother in 2006

Nikki Grahame

You might not recognise the name, but if I were to shout “Who. Is. She?” it might all come flooding back. I can’t really remember any other specifics about Nikki in Big Brother in 2006. I just recall her being incredibly annoying, delightfully mischievous and addictively watchable. Basically, the perfect housemate.

★Most memorable moment: The full version went like this: “Who. Is. She? Who is she? Who is she? Where did you find her? (Long and deep sigh).”

Sharon Osbourne's telly stardom began on MTV’s fly-on-the-wall series The Osbournes in 2002
Sharon Osbourne's telly stardom began on MTV’s fly-on-the-wall series The Osbournes in 2002

Sharon Osbourne

Mrs O’s telly stardom began on MTV’s fly-on-the-wall series The Osbournes in 2002, and it was no surprise when Simon Cowell snapped her up in 2004. She remains the most entertaining judge The X Factor has ever had.

★Most memorable moment: Sharon throwing bagels and a ham joint over her LA neighbour’s fence in an early episode of The Osbournes in protest at their late-night folk-singing. Then the police showed up.

Only a fool would deny that Simon Cowell changed the face of television forever
Only a fool would deny that Simon Cowell changed the face of television forever

Simon Cowell

He may be more famous these days for changing his own face, but only a fool would deny that Simon Cowell changed the face of television forever. He wasn’t above being seduced by the power of reality TV himself either. The 2003 fly-on-the-wall documentary Being Simon Cowell was a real eye-opener. In fact, I reckon a second series is way overdue.

★Most memorable moment: No contest. Will Young turning the tables on Simon when he dismissed him as “distinctly average” on Pop Idol in 2002. Possibly the first – and last – time we saw Simon lost for words on a TV show. All he could muster in defeat was a pitiful: “You are a gentleman, sir.”

Susan Boyle's powerful TV moment on the BGT stage in 2009
Susan Boyle's powerful TV moment on the BGT stage in 2009

SuBo

We are so knowing about reality TV these days that if Susan Boyle arrived on screen tomorrow, we’d all dismiss her as a cynical and contrived sob story. However, it was a different story when Susan shuffled on to the BGT stage in 2009. It was such a powerful TV moment, Simon Cowell has spent the best part of 10 years trying to recreate it.

★Most memorable moment: Her vocals on I Dreamed A Dream, of course. Oh, and her flirting with Piers Morgan. He’d met his match and he knew it.

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Top reality TV stars over past two decades from Susan Boyle, Gemma Collins to Ant & Dec

Love Island fans will discover what actually caused Ollie Williams to leave villa

Love Island fans will discover what actually caused Ollie Williams to leave villa

Love Island announced that Ollie Williams left the villa today - but his abrupt exit has been shrouded in mystery.

Viewers will finally discover what actually caused Ollie to leave on Wednesday night when his final scenes air.

In an explosive preview for tomorrow night's episode, the Islanders gather round the fire pit ahead of a shock announcement.

Ollie looks nervous as he drops a massive bombshell that sends shockwaves through the villa.

It is unknown how Ollie will break the news of his departure and whether he will confess he is still in love with someone else.

The Islanders gather round the fire pit for an announcement
Ollie reveals that he is leaving the villa

There area lot of flabbergasted reactions as the Islanders lose the first of their kind.

Gutted Callum and Connor can be seen putting their hands to their faces, while Mike looks like he has lost his head.

It evens looks like some of the devastated Islanders will be left in tears over Ollie's exit.

Love Island fans will have to tune in at 9pm tomorrow night to find out how it goes down.

Connor and Callum are stunned by the bombshell
Mike looks like he is losing his head

Ollie decided to walk out of the South African villa after spending just three days trying to find love.

The posh lad claimed that he had suddenly realised he was still in love with his ex and had to follow his heart.

Emotional Ollie said it would be 'unfair' to stay in the villa and string Paige or any other girl along when he still has feeling for someone else.

Ollie has left the Love Island villa

A Love Island spokesperson confirmed that Ollie made the decision to leave the Love Island villa.

Explaining his reasons for leaving in the Beach Hut, Ollie said: "I have to be honest with myself, and everyone, that I do still love someone else… I have to follow my heart in this scenario and it would be wrong for me to ignore these feelings.

"At the end of the day, this is Love Island and it’s about finding love. If I carried on anything with Paige, or any other girl that might come into the villa, it wouldn’t be fair on them."

*Love Island airs tonight on ITV2 at 9pm

Peter Andre's wife Emily torn as she drops Theodore at nursery for his first day

Peter Andre's wife Emily torn as she drops Theodore at nursery for his first day

Peter Andre's wife Emily had heartache when she took Theodore to nursery for the first time.

The singer, 46, watched on as his love grew tearful over leaving their son, three, as he started nursery last Wednesday.

Emily was said to have found it "hard" watching as her youngest son started the process of growing up.

The dad gave a detailed look at their day-to-day lives in his latest new! column this week.

Peter divulged Emily was joyful watching their young daughter Amelia grow up as she turned six on her latest birthday.

Peter Andre's wife Emily torn as she drops Theodore at nursery for his first day

It was dropping Theodore at nursery which had set the mother off.

He wrote in his column: "Emily was actually OK about Mills getting another year older. But [she] found it hard saying bye to Theo when we dropped him off for his first morning at nursery last Wednesday."

Peter has made no secret that he is a strict parent.

The singer, 46, watched on as his love grew tearful over leaving their son, three, as he started nursery last Wednesday

So it's no surprise he declared he won't let any of his children go on Love Island - including Princess and Junior whom he shares with Katie Price .

Piers Morgan recently said if any of his sons went on Love Island they would be cut out of his will - and Peter backed the outspoken GMB star.

Despite his love for watching the show himself, the singer said his children would have to face his wrath if they decided to go on.

The dad gave a detailed look at their day-to-day lives

Pete told: "Unlike Piers, I like watching Love Island, but I do get where he is coming from - I've already told Bista [Princess] that unless she gets approached to do a show about nuns, she wont ever be doing anything like that.

"And Junior sometimes asks if I'd let him go on, but I've said no way - unless he's the host, not a contestant."

Recently, Peter banned Princess and Junior from going to Thailand with their mother Katie.

He also had the delight of having both Princess and Junior for Christmas this year.

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