Ages ago I wrote a little update about Marcus Bentley, the voice of Big Brother. "Hark!" I said. "Listen to his changing accent!"
To our delight, Marcus popped up to settle the mystery of his voice. "On the first series I was told to speak clearly and slowly and to 'play down' some of my natural accent," he told us.
This made us curious. What else did Marcus have to say? Clearly there are few who know more about Big Brother than he, after all, he's commentated on every glorious moment: Nasty Nick, Jade and PJ, Fight Night... you get the picture.
In a special Q+A with Available for Panto, Marcus talks about the current series, his favourite housemate of all time, the prospect of going on Celeb Big Brother, and what it's like talking dirty if you're Marcus Bentley...
Available for Panto: Are you enjoying this series? What has been your favourite moment so far?
Marcus Bentley: I'm loving the series, it's bubbling away with a heady brew of on /off romance, controversy, mad game plans, genuine and genuinely eccentric housemates and a few foxy chicks and sexy guys thrown in! I'm loving the tasks this year with my favorite at the time of writing being the BBTV task; it's great fun and has thrown up some fascinating moments.
AFP: If you weren't narrating the show, would you watch it at home?
MB: Big Brother was a phenomenon when it first started seven years ago and it's become a British institution from which some of its 'stars' have become household names. Why does it work? Why do 4 million people watch it every night of the week? I haven't got a clue, but I'm one of the fans and I would if I hadn't been fortunate to be the show's narrator, definitely, I love it!
AFP: Based on this years ratings, do you think the show is developing more of a niche market now?
MB: I asked around and everyone's really pleased with the ratings which are about the same as last year. Those sorts of viewing figures on Channel 4 are to be proud of. The niche market is I suppose a relatively young audience of under 40, but I get letters and messages from fans of all ages. I had a lady in her 60s and a lad of 16 write to me only this week.
AFP: Do you have your own favourites? Who would you like to win this year and why?
MB: Of course I have my favourites but I'd be shot at dawn if I told anyone (I'd be accused of influencing the public vote in my bias). This happened to me during BB2 when I told a paper I wanted Bubble to win -- I ended up in the center pages of The Sun! My favourite housemate of all time is Makosi -- wickedly devious and a sexy diva to the bone!
AFP: There have been lots of rumours flying about that producers are unfairly trying to keep Charley in the house. What do you think?
MB: I wouldn't like to comment. Charley's been a great housemate, I'm glad they chose her she's unique.
AFP: What's your take on Emily's eviction?
MB: It's not appropriate for me to comment.
AFP: ...And, while on the subject, what are your opinions on the Celeb BB racism row?
MB: It's not appropriate for me to comment.
AFP: Given the chance, would you go on Celeb BB? If so, how do you think you'd get on? If not, why not?!
MB: If I did I'd insist on coming to the diary room to record the day's narration. Imagine being locked up with ten strangers for at least four weeks. It'd drive me bonkers, I don't know how they do it.
AFP: What qualities does a good BB narrator need?
MB: To be Marcus Bentley.
AFP: Have you ever been able to use your voice to blag freebies/tables at restaurants/football tickets etc?
AFP: Has your voice ever been a hindrance to you? What happened?
MB: I suspect that when workmen at my house find out I work in T.V the price goes up! Someone who'd got hold of my number once rang me up from a party at 4am and said "Say something".
I said "go and f*ck y'self!"
AFP: Have you watched any international Big Brother shows? How do you rate your international counterparts?
MB: No I've never watched any.
AFP: Of all the housemates in all the series, who do you think was/is the most entertaining?
MB: Makosi for all the above reasons and so much more!
AFP: Of all the housemates, who did you despise the most?
MB: Most are brilliant.
AFP: Do producers keep you in the loop about secret twists, or are you left in the dark like the rest of us?
MB: Sometimes, but usually I just like to see the show develop from a viewer's point of view.
AFP: And finally, the one we're all dying to know. Do you have a girlfriend, and does she find it weird if you talk dirty?
MB: It's day whatever it is baby... and I'm about to take you to the Diary Room and back...-->
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