FOR residents of the Big Brother house, their summer is an extended staycation - punctuated with nominations, tasks, shopping lists and evictions. ANNA MANSELL spoke to Ann Hannon, housemate Becky’s mum, about the experience for those left behind.
“Becky going into the Big Brother house has thrown the family into havoc,” Ann Hannon said, without the slightest hint of resentment.
“She’s been in for six weeks and now things are building towards the final we have Now and Heat magazines getting in touch and the phone never stops ringing. It has been crazy, but we are enjoying it.”
Rebecca Hannon entered this year’s Big Brother house as a wild card, voted in by the public at the end of the first week of the competition on Channel 5.
Aged 19, the former community drama student from Blackburn was looking for new experiences, and school friends have told Ann that BB fan Becky vowed to get into the house during their school days.
“She has left a massive void in our lives,” said Ann. “I would love her to be in the final though as she has been a big Big Brother fan for years. She was in awe of it all before going in.”
It’s now seven weeks since Ann’s last contact with Becky – a text sent on her arrival in London, saying: “I’ve arrived in London about to have phone taken off me love you mummy millions.”
From the moment she entered the house – plunging fully clothed in a glamorous maxi dress into the pool – Becky made it clear her intentions for the show were to have fun, an attitude Ann says is typical of her daughter:
“Becky is a larger than life character. She isn’t quiet and can come across to housemates as annoying. She wants fun and a laugh and giggle.
“I have stuff to prove that the dancing and messing about is definitely the real Becky. She will go out all beautiful for a night, but will come home looking like she’s been through the mill.”
But the realities of reality TV have bitten for ‘larger than life’ Becky, which have left Ann close to tears.
“In Turf Wars week she had a really bad week, especially with Aaron,” she said about the ex-housemate from Rossendale. “Even though he’s probably a lovely lad, he took the pranks too far and she has to retaliate before she realised he was only like that when he was with Connor.
“The most upsetting thing so far was during that week when she was in the diary room with the other nominated housemates, Aaron, Connor and Deana.
“Aaron and Connor were so disrespectful and were humiliating the girls. But it backfired on them with the public with Aaron evicted and Connor getting the next lowest votes.
“I was really upset that night and I couldn’t stop crying; I just wanted to go to London and get her on the train home with me. As her mum, I’m on pins thinking what’s going to happen to her next in there.”
And it’s not just the bitching inside the house that has upset Ann. Big Brother is a big deal on the internet with forums dedicated to the show providing an outlet for haters as well as fans of the housemates.
Ann said: “There are some evil people out there saying really nasty, hurtful things. But Becky knew when she went in and told me not to read them or the papers.
“Seeing comments online is hard. Rebecca knew she’d get abuse about her weight and was fully expecting it. She said ‘I am as I am, they’ll love me or hate me’ so she was quite prepared for that part of the experience.
“But I wasn’t prepared for the hatred, some of which has had to be reported. We are just a normal family and want her to do well like any other housemate’s family would - but I’d never put the comments I have seen.
“With Becky living at home, we do miss her but we have her sister Colette and her children Charlie, who’s five and Matilda who’s five-and-a-half months, and we’re so busy with everything that comes with Big Brother.
“We watch BBLiveUK online and watch it every night on TV, and we’re planning a massive party for whenever she does come home. It could be next week, she may make it to the final – which we would be over the moon about.”