Former MP and outspoken Christian Ann Widdecombe has entered...
Following the news that Anne Widdecombe is set to appear on Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother, we present five other Christians who have subjected themselves to appearing on screen in front of millions...with mixed results
1. Stephen Baldwin (Celebrity Big Brother, 2010)
When Channel 4 themed their seventh series of Big Brother 'Hell', the evangelist and actor Stephen Baldwin must have considered it the perfect opportunity to make his faith known. Baldwin would taunt the devil head in the house, calling it a "loser" and read his Bible for an hour each day. The press frequently accused him of trying to convert the other contestants and (perhaps because of this) Baldwin failed to win much support from viewers. After being voted out of the show, he said: "As a Christian you got me in the hell house and let's just say I did the best to be a representative of the King of Kings and God almighty in heaven." He's since given an interview to Premier where he admits being "a freak" for God.
2. Gareth Gates (Pop Idol, 2002)
Fifteen years ago, a new TV show took the nation by storm. Pop Idol saw ordinary members of the public compete to win a talent show, which would be broadcast live to millions in its final stages. Will Young won the first series, but Gareth Gates was a close runner up. Even a severe speech impediment couldn't stop him from belting out tune after tune and the popstar has gone on to carve out a successful career on stage, starring in Les Miserables and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat. But before Gates rose to fame through Pop Idol, he was a committed Christian. You can even see him pictured on the front cover of Abundant Life Bradford's album Divine Exchange. More recent headlines haven't covered the singer in glory, but his recent tweets about attending HTB Church suggest he maintains a connection with Christianity.
3. Rev Kate Bottley (Gogglebox, 2014-16)
After Rev Kate Bottley starred in this amazing video of a wedding flashmob which garnered millions of views, the Gogglebox producers got in touch. They wanted the Reverend and her husband and daughter to appear on the reality TV show where viewers watch other viewers viewing TV. It may not sound like compelling viewing but the series took off and boasted audience figures of 4m. Such is the popularity of the show that Kate Bottley was even been called "the nation's favourite priest" by The Sun newspaper. The vicar has since gone on to have a successful media career appearing on a variety of TV programmes including Celebrity MasterChef, Hairy Bikers Cracking Christmas, The One Show, and (of course!) Songs of Praise.
4. Zoe Basia Brown (Love Island, 2015)
Of all the reality TV shows in existence, Love Island isn't one you'd imagine a Christian volunteering for. But in 2015, the model Zoe Basia Brown took on the challenge. Before going in she told Digital Spy "I am Christian, and I've been going to church for the last couple of years - I go every Sunday. There's obviously going to be couples doing whatever in the house and that's fine for them but for myself I want to keep my own dignity. I don't want to do anything that my mum or dad or priest will see and they'll be ashamed of." Unfortunately, Zoe by her own admission wasn't able to maintain the high standards she set for herself. The programme showed her going to bed with a fellow contestant and later admitting: "I’m so ashamed of my behaviour in this villa, I would never behave this way in the outside world." Since the show aired, Zoe has stayed out of the media spotlight and turned her Instagram profile to private. It's another reminder of the huge challenges that can accompany appearing on TV or having a high level of fame.
5. [Dweeb] / Tim Alford (Singing with the Enemy, 2007)
The premise of this BBC Three show was intriguing: What would happen if two completely different bands had to work together and overcome their musical and personal prejudices? For the second episode of Singing with the Enemy, the since disbanded Christian rock band [Dweeb] were paired with "sex positive lesbian band" Paparazzi Whore. The producers were obviously hoping for fireworks and [Dweeb]'s frontman Tim Alford admitted that choosing to appear on the show would be "a real risk", adding "I hate the way Christianity is portrayed in the media – you are either a nutjob or a cheese fest. In reality Christianity is neither of those. Christianity has changed my life – and we wanted to show how alive Christianity is despite the risks." The programme turned out to be an amazing example of Christian witness. Led by Tim, the band were shown praying together, loving those who were different and standing up for their Christian principles. Their refusal to compromise combined with their eagerness to spread God's love was a refreshing and perhaps unusual example of Christians being depicted in a positive way on prime time TV.
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