Michael Barrymore was the bookies favourite to win Celebrity Big Brother in January 2006.
Having spent three years out of the limelight after party guest Stuart Lubbock was found dead in his pool in 2001, Barrymore was making a high-profile TV comeback.
But his big return to screens was marred by heated rows, ‘bullying’ claims and a bizarre incident with Jimmy Savile.
His early popularity with the public was lost due to a series of explosive rows with model Jodie Marsh, who this year branded Barrymore a “narcissistic bully” and admitted she was “terrified of him” in the house.
One of their biggest arguments came over the shopping list, with vegetarian Jodie claiming she was being “attacked” for wanting a packet of meat substitute Quorn to be included in their supplies
When Barrymore argued they should have more meat, Jodie replied: “Go on then, attack me…. We can’t eat meat. We’re vegetarian.”
Seething Michael then told her: “Stop moaning about everything.
“You’ve got a face like a slapped a**e. “You’re getting exactly what you want – all the attention.”
Furious Jodie told Barrymore he “needed a psychologist” as the row reached boiling point.
Jodie was later caught on camera making a savage dig at the former prime time star, referencing the swimming pool death mystery in a chat with Chantelle Houghton.
“He’s got a major issue with vegetarians. He keeps going on and on about it,” said Jodie.
“I’ve got an issue with people dying in swimming pools but I don’t keep on about it.”
Marsh and Barrymore never saw eye-to-eye during their time in the house together, and after she was evicted on day 9 branded him “Bullymore”.
In a series of tweets in February 2020, Jodie claimed she had nightmares for months after the show.
She wrote: “Had I known that I would be doing CBB with Barrymore I wouldn't have done it but my agent at the time was useless & I found out after I got inside the house that I was there with someone I viewed as scum.
“If I'd have walked out my charity wouldn't have been paid. It was vile.”
In another bizarre turn of events just days later, Jimmy Savile entered the house as part of a two-day guest appearance to “fix” things for the celebs.
The disgraced TV presenter, who was exposed as a sexual predator after his death in 2011, was greeted by cheers and slowly and awkwardly approached every housemate to greet them individually.
Barrymore got down on his knees in front of Savile, who he had known outside of the house, while clasping his hand.
Later on during a group chat, Savile asked if everyone had seen Barrymore on TV and started heaping praise on the former Strike It Lucky host.
“Let me tell you – unbelievable. He broke the mould. He would go on and people instinctively like him,” said Savile about Barrymore.
“If you go on stage and you want to make somebody laugh you’ll do something- joke, make something go wrong. He didn’t do anything like that.”
In a strange compliment, Savile claimed Barrymore was “the laziest performer in the world” because he didn’t do anything.
“He’d jump up and down. Then all of a sudden he’d get the hump with someone in the audience. Say ‘you’re not laughing – get out’. And it was for real, he’d sling them out.
“It was unreal. But he did it in such a way it was totally captivating. But there you go.”
In the Diary Room, emotional Barrymore started to choke up while looking back on Savile’s compliments.
“When he came in I was blown away because it’s him and he never lets you down,” admitted Barrymore.
“I didn’t think seeing Jim and hearing Jim talking and being so personal and so kind to me. From the person that’s held that establishment and what he’s done.
“I started to well up in there and thought ‘oh god here we go’. It just gets better in here.
“I want to thank you for giving me the chance to perfect my Jimmy Savile even though I only use it privately.”
As well as rowing with Marsh, Barrymore also had a strained relationship with former MP George Galloway.
He ended up clashing with fiery Galloway during a 20-minute slanging match, with the ex-politician taunting Barrymore for being a recovering alcoholic.
Galloway cried: “Poor me, poor me, pour me a drink!”
The comment infuriated the other housemates, who stepped in to defend Barrymore, as the public started to feel sympathy for him.
Barrymore also caused controversy with his impression of Adolf Hitler during a CBB talent show.
The entertainer did an impersonation of the notorious Nazi dictator in front of his bewildered fellow celebs.
Barrymore was seen donning a fake moustache and was shown performing a Nazi salute.
Barrymore finished runner-up after beating actress Traci Bingham, the late Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns, Ordinary Boys singer Preston and rapper Maggot.
But he lost out to non-celebrity Chantelle Houghton, who had spent the first few days pretending to be a singer as part of a task.
There was speculation that Barrymore’s second place joy would lead to a major TV revival.
However, despite rumours of lucrative TV deals, Barrymore failed to land any more presenting gigs aside from a one-show stint hosting Friday Night Project a week after CBB ended.
*Big Brother: Best Shows Ever airs across the next two weeks, Sundays-Thursdays at 9pm on E4.
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