Sissy Sissy Sissy, Out Out Out!

Who went? We decided.

A lot of people view Big Brother as a guilty pleasure, the TV equivalent of a fat cream cake. They watch it with the curtains drawn, despising themselves because they're not doing something worthwhile like learning Ancient Greek or reading Shakespeare. I, however, am an unashamed, not-feeling-the-need-to-be-in-the-closet Big Brother fan. I love BB because I'm nosy, because I want to see what other people get up to, how they interact; I love having new people to analyse and criticise and have opinions about; I need something to get stuck into when there's no football on telly. Some of my favourite memories involve Craig saying, 'I'm very dishappointed in yourshelf' to Nasty Nick, and Helen saying, 'I like blinking.' I blinking like it. And about 2,500 people just like me were gathered outside the BB house on Friday night to watch a live eviction.

To get tickets for Big Brother, you need to apply through Powerhouse TV. This is what I did during the first week of this year's series and, last week, a researcher from the show called me to offer me two tickets. I was overjoyed. My girlfriend was underwhelmed - she's one of the people who watches it but feels guilty for doing so. Her first thought was, 'What if a cool person sees me - I'll die of shame.' But she knew that if she didn't come I'd sulk her to death anyway.

The tickets don't actually guarantee you entry because they dish out extra in case half the people with tickets contract yellow fever and are unable to make it. A few people probably get lost en route, too, due to being dizzy with excitement. So we turned up early, and joined the queue.

And this was how we spent most of the evening: in the queue. We got there at 7:40. It was a lovely evening, the crowd was abuzz, the people in the Tesco next door were giving us envious looks. There were about 2,400 people in front of us. (No, I didn't count them. Who do you think I am, Jon Tickle? I know the number because we were almost the last people to be let in, and the total crowd was 2,500, according to the painfully unfunny warm up guy.) There must have been at least 1000 people behind us, and most of them were turned away, which is pretty gutting when you've been standing in a line for two hours with no entertainment, food or water. I was expecting them to let us in just before nine and that we would be able to watch the live eviction announcement. But no - the only people in the country unable to watch that evening's Big Brother were those standing in the queue.

Here's a tip to anyone going to a BB eviction: take a banner. A big, colourful, imaginative banner. With a picture of one of the nominees on it. This not only gets you in but gets you to the front once you're inside, thus getting your mug on telly. Hey, you might even get interviewed by Davina! You too could come up with a great answer to the question 'Why do you like Big Brother?' like 'Because it's really good.'

'That,' said the warm up guy, 'is exactly the kind of innocuous comment we love.'

Another way to get in is to dress like Darth Vader. I don't just mean wear a black cape and pretend to be asthmatic; I mean wear a full Darth Vader outfit. There was a Stormtrooper there too. They were supporting Jon, because he likes Star Wars. What an unusual choice of favourite film. He's crazy, isn't he?

So, anyway. Left work at 5:50. Arrived Elstree 7:40 and joined queue. Lost will to live at 8:40. Heard that redheaded veggie scouser Sissy had been evicted at 8:55. Started to gnaw own hands off at 9:30. GOT IN at 9:50! We were herded into three pens and taught how to clap and cheer by the warm up man. All of a sudden, it seemed worth it. I could see the house where the contestants, at that very moment, were preparing to say goodbye to Sissy. Then Davina came out and we all went loopy. Well, the bloke standing next to me metamorphosised from a mild-mannered computer nerd into a screaming loon, bellowing, for some reason known only to himself, 'DAVINA - SHOW US YOUR SHOES!' at such an enormous volume that my ears started to bleed.

Then Davina climbed the staircase to the exit and we all shouted 10, 9, 8... etc, completely out of sync, and Sissy emerged to a tumult of applause. At this point, we would have applauded Osama Bin Laden. Or Federico. No, that's going too far. I was straining to see over the top of the crowd, standing on tiptoe. I could see Davina's bump and Sissy stopped right opposite me, hugging a couple of 'fans'. Then she was whisked inside and we watched the interview on a screen on the side of the studio, cheering and booing as if we were at a pantomine.

At 10:30, it was all over. Sissy was brought out for a final bow and dig at Tanya, and that was it. We were let out of our pens, given a final reminder that we too could be the proud owners of a BB T-shirt if we wanted to buy one at the merchandise stall, and sent on our way. But not before Jon Tickle's twin brother came out to say hi. Talk about a micro-celeb - the brother of a BB contestant. But we found it exciting. Then we rushed back to see if we could see ourselves on telly.

We couldn't.

Official BB website

If you have any comments, questions, etc, please Email me.

If you came to this page directly from another site, please check out my blog, MarkCity.