Quite possibly the most entertaining task Big Brother has brought to the table this year has begun. A variation on the “rich house/poor house” scenario that we saw introduced into the show a few years has returned but this time with a more ambitious twist.

Housemates were given the chance to select their roles in a “Big Brother prison”. Some of them would be prisoners while the remainder would take the role of wardens. You might think that this would give you a cut and dried idea of how the next few days would pan out but as I mentioned there was a twist.

Pete, Glyn, Imogen, Aisleyn, Spiral elected themselves to be prisoners leaving Richard, Susie, Mikey, Michael and Jenni as the role playing authoritarians in this little charade. Immediately the “prisoners” were shuttled off to a heavily refurbished version of the secret house and after being “processed” (mug shots and of fingerprints, but no cavity searches) they were moved into their cell.

Their surroundings had an authenticity about them that I haven’t seen since those late night reruns of Prisoner Cell Block H. A minimal grey environment under harsh strip lights with bunk beds and a small shower cubicle to allow for basic hygiene. Even their attire was reworked with each participant being forced to wear basic prison greys as opposed to their own clothing.

The wardens meanwhile found themselves wearing uniforms which made them look like fascist commanders at an eighties electro night. A fetching mixture of black and neon pink with Richard topping off his outfit with a pair of mirrored shades for full effect.

Over the next few days it would be the wardens job to enforce tasks set by Big Brother (the governor) such as peeling onions or opening a box full of padlocks with a random collection of keys. Then of course there is the need for the wardens to be on duty to watch over the prison and to perform a cell check at regular intervals.

Are you with me so far?

The twist came early. Big Brother gave the prisoners a cake marked with the word “Shhhh!” in icing and the command “eat me” written down the side. An excitable Glyn could barely contain himself as he rammed the cream cake down his gullet like a man who had been on real life prison rations for the last two years rather than two hours.
Buried in the cake was a key and a set of instructions. It seemed that under Aisleyn’s mattress was a lock that when turned made her bed fold back and reveal a sand filled secret passage that the prisoners had to dig through to gain access to a roman spa themed secret room.

Within the spa was a selection of sumptuous foods including a chocolate fountain, beauty products, and a luxury bath and even a miniature beach for the prisoners to enjoy during their incarceration. All this was theirs for the taking and they could pass this week’s task on the proviso that the wardens didn’t find out what they were up to.

The reactions from the prisoners were understandably somewhat surreal. Glyn danced around like a man on hot a coal that was simultaneously in the midst of an orgasm and it took the combined efforts of his compatriots to stop him giving the game away with excessive noise.

In order to avoid being caught out BB gave the prisoners a fifteen minute warning before “cell inspection” which gave the prisoners time to return to their cell and hide any evidence of their “double lives”. Something they only just managed on their first excursion (as Glyn and Spiral were naked…and covered in face cream… (insert prison joke here)).

The most amusing aspect of this particular is not just the “have and have not” factor of the two separate parties but more in the fact that the wardens really do think they have life better than the prisoners. This was best illustrated with Michael’s flowery speech in the diary room about how the natural order of things has been established with the Alpha pack being in charge and the naturally submissive group being the one that is enduring levels of hardship. The speech was cleverly intercut with images of the “suffering” housemates enjoying their heavenly pursuits.

Of course this task could quite easily influence just how the voting might go on Friday. Maybe it was in good fun but there were elements of behaviour from the wardens in their new roles that might not do them favours in the eyes of the public (remember folks, one action can stay in the voting consciousness for a long time in BB world). Richard was clement enough as the warden and was clearly not taking this all too seriously. Jenni however seemed to be taking too much delight in her newfound power from the outset and was making herself look a bit of an idiot with her “I’m gonna take over” speeches. I keep having to remind myself she is young, and prone to making an arse of herself in order to gain some level of group acceptance.

The remainder of the week should prove interesting viewing as more tasks are set and one of the prisoners will be set free in an exchange basis so it should be interesting to see how long secrets can be kept and how long Glyn can go without the pressures of excess getting to him.

Stay tuned.