Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Big Brother is watching you...

Yes, it's back! And on my birthday too, so there's a present I wasn't expecting.

After being axed (about 5 years too late in my opinion) by Channel 4 in 2010, Big Brother is about to be re-launched on Channel 5, and am I excited by that prospect?  Well, yes, actually.  I am.  Mainly because the telly's been so bad lately I've been turning to QVC for entertainment and nearly bought two handbags and a pair of EMU boots due to boredom!

But I actually - believe it or not - enjoy Big Brother.  Ok, maybe enjoy isn't the right word, as ever since BB4 me and my husband have done nothing but moan throughout the entire God knows how many week's it's on (too many), but I can't stop watching it!  It's like a nasty little habit I just can't seem to break, but I'm not going to apologise for it.  It might not be everyones cup of tea (and Christ knows you need something a hell of a lot stronger than tea to get you through most episodes), but just because I watch it, it doesn't mean I've got a lack of intelligence or don't appreciate decent TV, or am just as bad as the sad bunch of fame-hungry wannabe's who enter the house.  That's a narrow-minded attitude and, quite frankly, one I'm tired of having to defend.  It doesn't make you a superior being just because you slate reality TV, and it doesn't make me an idiot just because I watch it.  My viewing habits are very wide-ranging but I don't see why I should have to prove myself to anyone.  Blimey, I'm getting off that high horse now, it's making me quite dizzy!

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah.  Big Brother.  Back in the early days (series 1, really) it was nothing more than an untried and untested social experiment, and something which captured most of the nation's attention, (I said most).  I can still remember everyone being huddled around the computer at work watching the live feed the day Craig in BB1 found out that 'Nasty Nick' had been cheating, and called that house meeting that was to eventually see Nick Bateman unceremoniously ejected from the Big Brother house (I actually ran home from the train that day because I didn't want to miss seeing him being thrown out - live!)  I enjoyed that series more than any of the others, because it was done properly.  BB2 was also a favourite series of mine, but after that it started to go downhill at a rapid rate of knots as the world of celebrity culture took over and everyone suddenly wanted to be famous.  It descended into nothing more than a vehicle for the 'I want to be famous for doing nothing' brigade, and meant that we no longer watched the show with interest, as we did in the early days, but watched it purely to moan at, but I still watched it.  And I'll continue to watch it for as long as they continue to broadcast it which, if Channel 5 don't make some serious changes and just continue to hammer it into the ground as Channel 4 did in the end, won't be for too much longer.

But it's not just the UK version of Big Brother that I watch.  I've seen how a few other countries do their own versions, and that was the interesting thing for me, because it made me realise how bad ours really turned out in the end.

I was a huge fan of Australian Big Brother (same format as ours, just done a hundred times better), and I love BB USA!   The American version, however, is a completely different game to ours, because it is a game, not an excuse for a dozen Z-list wannabe's to sit on their arses for 3 months waiting for Max Clifford to call!  The American Houseguests (not mates) have to think, they have to strategise, make deals, form alliances, because there is no public vote in the US version.  The houseguests themselves decide who gets evicted, so they actually have to work hard to stay in the game.  They have to do something.  If any of the UK contestants were thrown into the BB USA house they'd probably run screaming to the Diary Room crying like a baby! Especially if they ran into 'Evel' Dick Donato, probably one of the greatest ever players in BB USA history!  And a huge miss in this year's show, but that's a whole other story...actually, I wish they'd stick him in our house.  I'd love to see how that turned out...anyway...

'Evel' Dick Donato - Best Big Brother USA gameplayer, ever!
Now, I'm not sure exactly how many ex-BB USA contestants have gained some kind of "fame" after they leave the house, but I know for a fact that the majority of them go into that house in L.A. for the money, not for what it can get you when you leave because, for the winner of BB USA, half a million dollars awaits!  No skimping on the prize money there then!

And there lies one of the fundamental problems with BBUK.  After a few series' the prize money became irrelevant because they all thought they could gain just as much, if not more, with photoshoots and personal appearences once they were out of the house.  Winning didn't matter, gaining some kind of "fame" did, so all we got was them sitting around doing nothing, complaining they were bored while they waited for their turn on the cover of whatever magazine was that years official BB mag.  Some contestants a couple of years ago were even overheard saying that they only really needed to stay in the house for around 3 weeks to get themselves noticed then they could leave and just enjoy being "famous"!  Now, whether that same level of "fame" can ever be reached again with ex-BB contestants remains to be seen, but I know for sure that the kind of contestant we're going to see when the real BB starts (forget the celebrity version. The thought of watching Kerry Katona trying to ressurect her career - again - doesn't fill me with any kind of excitement) will be the usual mix of weirdo's, wannabe's, glamour girls, and the token person over the age of 35, just so's they don't get accused of being ageist.  And nearly all of them will be going into that house in the hope that a media/modelling/presenting career awaits them on the other side.  I hate them all already and I don't even know who they are yet...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Channel 5 really have shaken things up and we're going to get some changes but, apart from Brian Dowling taking over from Davina McCall (of which I'm very happy about - didn't rate Davina myself, her shouting used to do my head in on eviction nights!) I'm not sure anything will be any different.  I'm hoping for bigger and better tasks, a more authoratitive Big Brother who actually commands some respect from the housemates, and contestants we might actually like, but I'm not holding my breath.  I'm looking on the extremely negative side and then, should any surprises happen, it'll be a bonus.  I'm a glass half-empty person, I can't help it.

I'll still be watching though, no matter how crap it is, because I do like a good whinge and Big Brother can prove to be a great vehicle on which to vent your frustrations.  Yes, I'm disappointed that a good idea that started out so well turned into nothing but a Z-lister Zoo, but it's still weird to think of a year without BB, in this house anyway.  So once again we'll put ourselves through it, probably hate the lot of them from the second they walk in, moan every night through the high(low)lights show, and vow never to watch it ever again, knowing that we'll be still be there next year when (if) it returns, ready to go through it all again.  Because I do actually enjoy it...in the weirdest, weirdest of ways...

I don't just rant about reality TV you know, I've actually written a couple of books!  And you can check them both out here! The two-decade spanning, sexy and glamorous 'No Matter What' http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00537TKN8 /ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_vk24nb01A3GGE  and 'Too Much Trouble in Paradise', a romantic comedy set mainly on the island of Tenerife. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Too-Much-Trouble-Paradise-ebook/dp/B005628JE6/ref=pd_sim_kinc_1

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