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THINGS we've learned this week.

l One: Celebrity Big Brother wasn't put out of its misery, as many of us had rather hoped.

It has ended up on Channel 5, which in a way is roughly the same thing.

Big Brother was an interesting concept when it first aired in the summer of 2000. Locking up a roomful of strangers and televising the results wasn't something that had been tried in this country before.

But eventually all the contestants began seeing it as a chance to earn their 15 minutes of fame, which sort of ruined BB as a programme and turned it into a showbiz agent's waiting-room from hell.

The celebrity spin-off had its colourful moments, too. George Galloway's feline impersonation, obviously, and John McCririck parading around in his underwear -two incidents that drove many viewers into weeks of expensive therapy.

CBB, it turns out, is still with us - on Channel 5, home of quaint numbers of CSI reruns. I had a look the other night, having absolutely nothing else to do.

Among the housemates are a priapic rapper, someone from The Apprentice, and a Hollywood wannabe who once appeared in Cheerleader Massacre 2 and who plainly regards the wearing of a full complement of clothes as a nuisance.

And 82-year-old Lionel Blair.

Five minutes was all I could take. Just as I dived for the off-button on the remote, I had a passing, sullen thought: cockroaches aren't the only things that will survive a nuclear winter. We'll probably still have Celebrity Big Brother as well.

l Things we've learned, two: If you still like to believe that our politicians are above using the honours system as a way of rewarding their friends, think again.

Among David Cameron's mates, allies and Tory donors recognised in the New Year's Honours list was one Lino Carbosiero. His hairdresser.

A "celebrity crimper", he was made an MBE for services to hairdressing. History may remember him more as the man who reportedly switched the PM's side-parting from left to right.

l Things we've learned, three: Cancer Research UK's Dryathlon challenges people to stay off booze for all of January. It's for a very good cause; and even if you don't register for it, it's still an idea worth pursuing.

A friend has started it and says he already feels much better. I've bet him a bottle of Chardonnay that he won't last the full month.

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