Reality Bites Big Brother
There are some things we never thought we’d see on TV – Politician George Galloway dressing up in a leotard and purring like a cat, Les Dennis having a breakdown in a garden swing, Jedward getting ‘vajazzled’, and comedy Jim Davidson being handcuffed to a Nolan sister. Yet all these things happened, and who can we thank for such TV gems? Step forward Big Brother.
Every year we say we won’t get sucked into the reality game show, but with online media, social media channels and newspapers reporting on every sordid detail, there’s really no escaping it.
There’s no denying we’ve always been a bit of a nosy nation, but since the launch of Big Brother in July 2000, we’ve taken it to a new level. We’re no longer interested in the mundane issues of what our next door neighbours get up to. Now we want to go further afield and know what every Tom, Dick, Harry, and celebrity are doing, and with whom! We’ve taken to watching their every move in a house full of cameras to see how they interact with people and what makes them tick.
The civilian Big Brother show has made household names of the general public such as Brian Dowling and the late Jade Goody who both went on to have successful careers in the public eye. The celebrity version, which launched in 2001, has also helped to re-launch a host of celebrities’ careers including Mark Owen and Rylan Clark.
However on the flip side, things aren’t always so pretty. When it comes to celebrities, not all publicity is good publicity. Celebrity Big Brother can make or break a career. Who remembers TV presenter Vanessa Feltz having a meltdown on the first Celebrity Big Brother after being nominated for eviction. To say she wasn’t happy with the news was an understatement. She scribbled words on a chalk board such as “incarcerated, diffident, disparate, and frustrated” which didn’t sit well with viewers.
Then there was TV personality John McCririck making derogatory comments about women, which caused havoc amongst the other housemates and contributed to him losing his job as a horse racing pundit.
And the latest series of the game show has been no exception. Within four days randy boyband member Lee Ryan from Blue had jumped into bed with two glamour models and Boxer Evander Holyfield caused controversy with his homophobic remarks. The trouble is, these dramas are the main reason viewers watch the show in the first place. We wait to see who will crack under the pressure of the cameras, who will start the first argument and who will kiss someone they shouldn’t.
The fact is, like it or not, it makes great TV.
Social media also plays a massive part of reality TV these days. As viewers we show no shame in vocalising our thoughts on what we’re watching via our favourite social media channels. We rant on Twitter about who we like and dislike and we update our status on Facebook encouraging our friends to ‘like’ and join in the debate. We even vote who we want to kick-off the show via online links.
Of course there’s not just Big Brother when it comes to feeding our reality craving. The show started a whole new craze for similar reality shows, including The X Factor, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Geordie Shore, The Only Way is Essex, Made in Chelsea, Wife Swap and many more. And the behaviour in these shows is just as outrageous. Some celebrities really will do anything to get on the front pages.
Just the way we like it!
You can catch Celebrity Big Brother weeknights on Channel Five.