A broken spell



Its taken me nine years but I got there in the end. After being a passionate watcher of ‘Big Brother’ since it exploded onto our television screens, the magic has finally worn off and the spell has been broken.

In the beginning, there were ordinary people who wanted to take part in what was rightly (well, sort of rightly) called a “social experiment”. These people had no pretensions about wanting to be famous – they just wanted to take part. Their expectation was to be on the show and then to return to their normal lives, which most of them did (Craig Phillips being the winner and the notable exception to that particular rule). Also, at that time, Channel 4 was a fairly minority channel – most people were watching ITV so Big Brother really was a televisual experiment and no-one was quite sure what kind of a reception the show would receive – or whether the programme would ever be repeated. Of course it was. And that was when the problems began.

Not so slowly, but very definitely surely, the type of people coming on to the show changed; one popular expression which might be applied here is “media whores” – the sort of people who don’t really care what they have to do, as long as they get onto the television. The sort of people who aren’t really interested in the programme itself, and who see it very much as a stepping stone into the celebrity limelight which they crave.

Unfortunately, these people tend to forget that most famous people are famous for a reason – they have ‘something’ they can do; and simply having been on a “reality” TV show doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

The remnants of the current crop of hopefuls are proof in point. With the possible exception of Lisa, all the others seem to have their eyes focussed somewhere beyond the show itself; one wants to be a famous musician; several others want to be models; most of the ones who have (thankfully) already left the show don’t really care – just make them famous.

But the blame doesn’t lie exclusively with the people; the producers need to be held to account for what has become a travesty of ‘reality’. Big Brother is not reality. It is formulaic, predictable and ultimately vacuous, a it like the housemates, really.

Time to put this old nag in the knackers yard once and for all.


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