I know I’m not supposed to admit this, but I have never understood the appeal of Big Brother. Of course, it would probably help if I actually watched an episode, but life’s too short.
As far as I can tell, Channel 4 choose contestants who they judge are most likely to start arguments, cry, be offensive and have sex – in other words, the most damaged, the most lonely, the most confused… or, put another way, the most entertaining, and the most likely to pull in the viewers.
A few years back I attended an event at the House of Commons that had been organised by Channel 4 so that MPs could discuss the relevance of BB to modern day politics. MP after MP fell over themselves to prove to the collected TV executives and smattering of teenage “target” audience members that they were really cool and hip and down with the kids, dropping numerous references to the most recently broadcast series of BB to prove that they actually did watch it.
What no-one there was willing to say was that Big Brother has no lessons for modern democracy. Whatever its dubious attractions to its admittedly large audience, the greatest attraction to its producers is that it’s cheap to produce. And that’s the only quality mark it needs.
Whisper it: this emperor’s not wearing any clothes. Shhh…