The current series of Celebrity Big Brother has two contestants with links to Harrow and the surrounding area. UK grime artist Lady Sovereign was born down the road in Wembley, whilst ex-footballer, turned film-star and all round hard man, Vinnie Jones began his footballing career at Wealdstone in 1984.
Vinnie and ‘Sov’ will be the last celebrities to live in the house as the programme is set to be scrapped by channel 4 after it’s eleventh regular series this summer. The question is, will anybody actually miss the show when the doors close behind the winning contestant for the last time?
When it first aired in the UK in 2000, it was immediately apparent that Big Brother would become the Marmite of British television. You would either love it or hate it. However, as the series’ have dragged on and the ratings have fallen, one gets the impression that most people would sooner eat a whole pot of Marmite in one go, than take an active interest in the show.
A common excuse for being a fan of Big Brother is that you can watch it once and become addicted. On that premise it should be regarded as dangerous as heroin. People wind up watching it religiously every night hiding behind the simple excuse: ‘I’m just addicted’. Strangely, these people never seem to want to be addicted and never have withdrawal symptoms after the series finishes.
‘Random and pointless’
The most striking evidence that nobody will miss Big Brother is the fact that the winner of the show, the public’s favourite out of all the contestants, fades into immediate obscurity once the doors close and the cameras are turned off.
The only time you might actually hear or see ex-housemates is when they appear on one of Big Brother’s countless ‘sister shows’ which seem to be on constant repeat on E4. One of these shows is Big Brother’s Little Brother. It consists of pointless games and quizzes which are only vaguely related to happenings in the house.
An example of just how random and pointless this program can get was seen on Wednesday when presenter George Lamb conducted an investigation into the size of celebrity housemate Ivana Trump’s earlobes. In essence these shows take up valuable air time and serve a very small audience.
It is not just Big Brother’s sister shows which are a waste of airtime. If you want more than your scheduled daily dose of ‘reality’, rest assured you can always watch your favourite housemates sleeping on live coverage throughout the night. Most would agree that watching people sleep is not only unnecessary, but, more importantly, just about as boring as television can get. On that premise, this particular aspect of the show will certainly not be missed when Big Brother finishes for good later this year.
Some of the happenings in the house are just completely maniacal. Just this week viewers were made to endure footage of two naked ‘celebrities’ childishly giggling whilst kicking snow at each other in the Big Brother garden. ‘Great TV’ you might say, but it is never long before you stop and realise that this is, in fact, just mind-numbing nonsense. At that point you are filled with a feeling of disturbing guilt as you realise you will never get those ten minutes of your life back.
The ‘noughties’ was the decade of reality television but it seems the ‘glory days’ of Big Brother have all but disappeared. Reality television is still a successful concept, but the continued success of programmes such as the X factor and Strictly Come Dancing shows that people are now more interested in watching something which requires, at the very least, a little talent.
When a programme has been running for ten years you might expect it to live long in the memory of the viewing public. However, I do not think anyone will be surprised when Big Brother quickly fades into a distant memory of a time that once was.