Reality TV’s Top 10 Toe-Curling Moments
Reality TV gets a bad rep for courting controversy – yet shows like Love Island continue to captivate us in our millions.
Love it or hate it, the genre has served up some deliciously discombobulating moments that have made our jaws drop, left us crying with laughter and reminded us that pop-culture content can be legendary.
Let’s gaze in wonder at Reality TV’s top 10 toe-curling moments.
1. X Factor – Sharon gets owned by a door (2007)
X Factor judges Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne couldn’t contain their laughter when contestant Dawn Gerrard told them she was an apprentice horse jockey.
The chuckling continued as Dawn began to sing, leading head judge Simon Cowell to send Louis and Sharon out of the room – with Sharon so overcome by the giggles that she turned headfirst into a swing door.
2. I’m a Celebrity – Gillian ‘faints’ (2010)
With her stash of spices concealed in her knickers and bushtucker trial freak-outs, nutritionist Gillian McKeith provided many memorable moments during the 2010 series of I’m a Celeb.
But it was her live bushtucker trial that topped the lot, when Gillian was voted by the public for what would have been her seventh trial. Everyone wondered if Gillian would pull out as she had done previously, but things took an unexpected turn when she collapsed live on air – leaving viewers and contestants alike speculating whether it was real or fake.
3. America’s Next Top Model – Tyra loses it with a contestant (2005)
Contestant Tiffany Richard’s nonchalant attitude to being eliminated from the show did not sit well with host Tyra Banks, who tore into her for not taking the competition seriously.
And when Tiffany tried to justify her reaction, Tyra totally lost it, screaming the now iconic line “I was rooting for you”, which has cemented its place in the popular consciousness in the form of a fantastic gif.
4. Celebrity Big Brother – Denise vs The Twins vs Nicola (2012)
Denise Welch, Nicola McLean and twins Karissa and Kristina Shannon were in their element as they danced and sang along to karaoke classic ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’. But when Denise got a little bit overexcited and pulled down Karissa’s pyjama bottoms, the twins lost it.
What started off as fun night ended with the twins threatening to sue Big Brother, Denise crying in the garden and Nicola sat at the top of the stairs, screaming at Big Brother to let her leave.
5. Britain’s Got Talent – Simon gets egged (2013)
You don’t expect much comedy once the Britain’s Got Talent auditions are over. However, viewers got just that in the live final when Opera duo Richard and Adam were belting out a beautiful rendition of ‘The Impossible Dream’.
But things got nightmarish when out of nowhere, a member of the orchestra started pelting head judge Simon Cowell with eggs before being promptly escorted off stage by security – props to the guys for carrying on with their performance like true pros.
6. Real Housewives of Atlanta – Street Fight (2009)
The Real Housewives are no strangers to verbal altercations, but the street fight between Nene Leakes, Sheree Whitfield and Kim Zolciak was next-level nuts.
The three ladies met up to try to make peace but tensions soon reached boiling point, leading Kim to make a hasty exit (with Lindsay Lohan’s dad by her side – random right?) and Nene and Sheree followed her out onto the street where they continued to argue and Sheree, as she succinctly put it, “felt the need to tug on her [Kim’s] wig” – epic.
7. The Celebrity Apprentice – Joan goes off (2008)
When contestants Annie Duke and Brande Roderick ganged up against Melissa Rivers and got her fired, her mother and fellow contestant Joan Rivers was furious.
What followed was a hilarious tirade from Joan, which well and truly put the two women in their place.
8. Kitchen Nightmares – Amy’s Baking Company (2013)
No one will ever forget the first Amy’s Baking Company episode of Kitchen Nightmares. This was a restaurant where the customer was always wrong and the owners actually ejected and verbally abused dissatisfied diners.
Gordon Ramsay did his best to try and improve things – but after one argument too many, he admitted defeat and left the rambunctious restaurant to it.
9. The Great British Bake Off – Baked Alaska gate (2014)
The Baked Alaska fiasco in series 5 of the Great British Bake Off was the talk of the nation and it all started when contestant Diane Beard removed fellow contestant Iain Watter’s ice cream from the freezer as it was setting.
Iain ended up with a runny Baked Alaska, which he impulsively threw in the bin before it had been judged. Rumours of culinary sabotage spread like butter across hot toast, although telly insiders insisted that his sponge-based dessert didn’t disintegrate due to a dastardly stratagem.
10. Strictly Come Dancing – Bruno falls off his chair...again (2018)
With his lively critiques, expressive hand gestures and vibrant personality, Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli has established himself as the fun judge.
And he delivered comedy gold in the 2018 series during his critique of Faye Tozer and Giovanni Penrice’s Waltz, when his over-zealous reconstruction of the routine launched him into the lap of head judge Shirley Ballas.
Reality TV might not be everybody’s cup of tea – but there’s no denying it consistently produces wonderful watercooler moments that keep us bewitched and bewildered.