Tag Archives: Big Brother

The sun is shining in the Big Brother house

On Wednesday night Sunshine Martyn was chosen as one of the ‘lucky’ few to enter the Big Brother house for the final series of the country’s favourite reality television show.

Sunshine on her first full day inside the Big Brother house

No sooner had her face appeared, shocked and confused on the big screens outside the house, my phone began having it’s very own nervous breakdown. Due, in part to my ludicrously varied message tones, it sounded like a fire alarm that was slowly running out of battery and crying out for help.

In an effort to calm the poor thing down, I duly opened the first of the messages, only to be met by a series of expletives so obscene that to repeat them here would be frowned upon even by those who inhabit the most liberal end of the so-called ‘blogosphere’.

All the messages followed a similar tone and they were all from people who, like me, have spent the best part of the last year studying journalism with Sunshine at Westminster University. Everyone was clearly as shocked as ‘Doc Martyn’ herself.

Needless to say, it was not long before I sent a number of similar messages, but Sunshine herself summed up exactly what we were all thinking and texting (albeit in a more conservative fashion), with her first words upon entering the house: “What just happened?!”

Sunshine is different

Three days on, I have had time to come to terms with the fact that somebody I know is actually on Big Brother. But there is still one question playing on my mind: why would anyone want to go on Big Brother in the first place?

A common belief is that you have to be ‘stupid’ to apply for Big Brother. However, throughout this year I have been acutely aware that Sunshine has consistently achieved some of the highest grades in the class. All the while sprinkling gentle reminders that she is actually studying to be a doctor and that she might not want to be a journalist at all.

So, far from being ‘stupid’, Sunshine is one of the brightest people I know (no pun intended). But the question remains, why is she going on the show? I think a better analogy is that you actually have to be ‘different’ to want to go on Big Brother. And Sunshine is certainly different.

She was often seen trooping into the newsroom, on an overcast day wearing blue sunglasses and matching blue lipstick (or various other combinations of unconventional, yet, i’m told ‘fashionable’ accessories), looking like she had just walked off the set of a Lady Gaga video. Before she even took a seat, Sunshine would invariably address the class with a story beginning: “you’ll never guess what happened to me…”.

At this point, I would usually turn back to my computer and ‘finish off my emails’ or continue ‘checking my facebook’, but not in such a way to ignore her tales. Instead, because they sometimes lasted a while, I would casually tune into Sunshine’s surreal ramblings as if it were a background radio, knowing that they would rarely fail to bring a little humour into my morning.

Sunshine ready for a day in the newsroom

My conclusion from nine months of being regaled with her colourful stories is that these ‘things’ that happen to Sunshine are a million miles away from the sorts of experiences we ‘normal’ people encounter in our day-to-day lives. I am amazed that so many exciting and random things could happen to one person, but it is no coincidence.

At times I would glance around the room and see other people raising a smile too, safe in the knowledge that they were enjoying the day’s story just as much as myself.

Mixture of intelligence and comic appeal

The fact that Sunshine has now succeeded in being chosen for Big Brother is the beginning of another interesting, and exciting chapter in her life. I look forward to the inevitably witty and creative tabloid headlines and weather-related puns, although not so much to reading the no doubt manipulative and slightly exaggerated stories they introduce.

Whilst she is understandably yet to venture out of her shell in the house, I think she will grow into a very entertaining housemate who offers a rare mixture of intelligence and comic appeal that has been absent in previous housemates. In this sense, Sunshine is truly unique, and I am backing her all the way.

Previous winner’s of the show have risen to fame, but more often they fade back into the relative obscurity of everyday life. However, for Sunshine, everyday life is already vastly different from yours or mine. If she wins the final series of Big Brother, I have no doubts that she is capable of determining the direction in which she wants to go, whether it be a career in presenting, modelling, journalism or medicine, when you look past the slightly eccentric exterior, Sunshine has the personal qualities to succeed in any one of these fields.

As for the financial reward, I would like to think she would use her £100,000 winnings to pay off some student loan debts and go on holiday, before giving us, her poor journo classmates a chance to fight each other for whatever is left, simultaneously allowing us to play a very minor part in the extraordinary puzzle of her life. I’m starting boxing lessons tomorrow. Please join me in voting for Sunshine to win.

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Good riddance Big Brother

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.

‘Mind-numbing nonsense’

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.

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