For a man who always loved being on camera, the lure of Celebrity Big Brother – 27 remote-controlled cameras, 12 fixed, five manned, 10 infra-red, a tower cam and 57 camera mirrors strategically positioned across the house – must have had Ron Atkinson dancing with delight when he was invited back on to our TV screens. After all, his recent media appearances seem to have been limited to appearing on a William Hill betting podcast.
|Ron Atkinson at the Celebrity Big Brother launch at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood|
At 74, the former Manchester United and Aston Villa manager will be the oldest contestant in this year's competition and he could easily be the most controversial. Are Channel 5 hoping he behaves? Or will letting loose his baser instincts help in a desperate search for ratings?
Of course, Big Ron will be forever be rightly blighted by his disgusting racist comments about black Chelsea player Marcel Desailly – remarks broadcast when he thought the microphone was switched off, and which brought him the sack from ITV in 2004 – but female contestants will surely not want to hear too many of Big Ron's views on women. Perhaps model Sophie Anderton or Loose Women panelist Carol McGiffin will hear him expand on some of his opinions, say his comment that "women should be in the kitchen, the discotheque and the boutique, but not in football."
Even if Mr Bojangles, as he was also known because of his love of medallions, does keep his beliefs to himself, viewers may still need their 'Ronglish' dictionaries. As a bejewelled perma-tanned pundit, he was famous for mangling his words and coming up with dire catchphrases such as "early doors", "doing it for fun" and saying things such as "I’ll tell you what, the way the big fella’s gone past him there, the full-back’s not in the wide awake club". It spawned a new branch of English, dubbed "Ronglish".
Another danger to everyone's ears in Celebrity Big Brother 2013 is the prospect of Big Ron breaking out into song in the wee small hours. He always was a bit of a Frank Sinatra wannabe, although the hardy band of music lovers who bought his 2002 single It's Christmas, Let's Give Love A Try may, of course, welcome his crooning. Perhaps he could do a duet with former actor Bruce Jones (once cab driver Les Battersby in Coronation Street before he left the soap opera after making inappropriate comments to an undercover reporter).
The other candidates, for the record, are:
• Richard Breen – a member of the Nineties boyband 5ive.
• Charlotte Crosby – a star of reality TV show Geordie Shore.
• Courtney Stodden – an American beauty queen
• Danielle Marr – described as a celebrity botox doctor
• Dustin Diamond – from reality TV show Celebrity Fit Club
• Lauren Harries – childy prodigy born James Harries
• Louie Spence – dance choreographer
• Mario Falcone – bespoke tailor from The Only Way Is Essex.
• Vicky Entwistle – Janice Battersby in Coronation Street.