Local stars in Celebrity BB line-up

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Tricia Penrose and Neil Ruddock star on this year's Celebrity Big Brother © Channel 5

Tricia Penrose and Neil Ruddock star on this year’s Celebrity Big Brother © Channel 5

The latest series of Celebrity Big Brother launched on Thursday, featuring two contestants with Merseyside connections in this year’s line-up.

Kirkby-born actress Tricia Penrose, 42, and former Liverpool FC defender Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock, 44, are among the housemates taking part.

In a new twist to the Channel 5 show, fellow contestants X Factor’s Rylan Clark and jockey Frankie Dettori were given the task of deciding which housemates would live in the main house or the surprise addition to the show: the basement, a filthy room which has no windows, hot water or shower access.

Clark and Dettori sent Scouser Penrose, who is best known from her role as Gina Ward in the nostalgia soap ‘Heartbeat’, to the main house because she “seems like a right laugh”, according to singer Clark.

She joined Steps’ star Claire Richards, fellow actress Gillian Taylforth and glamour model Lacey Banghard in the luxury element of the house.

Before entering, Penrose told host Brian Dowling: “I’m very laid back but don’t cross me or you’ll be in trouble. Denise Welch told me to enjoy it and don’t take it too serious… just enjoy it.”

However, Ruddock was demoted to the basement with other housemates, including The Hills’ Hollywood ‘power couple’, Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, Neighbours actor Ryan Moloney and former supermodel Paula Hamilton.

Ex-Liverpool footballer turned actor and television personality, ‘Razor’ Ruddock, was not originally meant to feature in the series.

He was a late substitute for Jim Davidson, after the comedian was arrested and bailed by police over allegations of sexual offences, before pulling out of Celebrity Big Brother on the same day as the show’s opening episode. Davidson “vigorously denies” the claims.

Ruddock, who played 152 times for Liverpool between 1993 and 1997, said: “I’m a big grizzly bear, I’m happy to get naked. I haven’t told my mates as I didn’t want them to know, so I hope they won’t be watching!”

About Steph Niciu, JMU Journalism