Farewell Big Brother – for now at least

So Big Brother is to be axed from Channel 4 according to an The Sun. Let’s hope the news is true. The show has really run its course. That has been said several times in the past but with ratings falling every year it was a surprise that Channel 4 signed another three-year deal with Endemol, meaning that an 11th series is locked in.

Last year Channel 4 showed its desire to chase ratings when it kept housemate Alexandra in (remember her? No me neither) despite proving one of the worst bullies the show had ever had the displeasure to host.

All the signs were there last year that it had run its course, but Channel 4 has ploughed on and has been rewarded with some of the lowest ratings in years for the 10th series. I think this is good news for Channel 4. Yes it leaves a hole in its schedule, but surely that is a creative opportunity as well and a challenge to be met?

Not only having ratings been low, but it was virtually ignored by the media. Even the stalwart Sun provided no haven. Not even a NIB, a tiny paragraph, each day has been warranted.

Channel 4 executives looking for coverage of their once cash cow must have been dismayed, or more likely depressed, by its absence from Britain’s media diet.

There is no denying that Big Brother has provided us with much entertainment. There was a time when casual viewers would more regularly tune in on a Friday to see an eviction (Channel 4 says 38m viewers watched Big Brother at least once – that’s 69% of population), but that time has past.

I suspect many of us could pass the housemates in the street this year and not recognised one of them. They are going to be more shocked by its axing than anyone. More shocked that they have been in there for more than 80 days and few will know who they are.

No D-List media careers are going to be kick started this year. What’s a former Big Brother contestant to do? Opening up a new branch of Lidl might be a stretch even for the winner which ever loser that might be.

According to reports though Celebrity Big Brother might still return and there’s nothing wrong with that. I can see that still have a good set of legs and exciting interest.

I can also see the format being adapted and tweaked. If it goes anywhere that’s what it needs most. New ideas. As it is the lack of innovation that has as much as anything done it for this show. It has turned into something relentless. Kind of like The Long March – but probably less fun (and not in China). Maybe it won’t be the same show exactly and maybe it won’t be on the same network. There is nothing to say that it has to be on Channel 4. You could easily see ITV or Sky having a crack at taking the format on. I’m pretty sure there is life in it yet – just not 13 weeks of life.

As that was the one thing above all others that struck me this year. It was more or less the only thing that struck me this year as the updates from the Big Brother press office popped into my in box was how the day count inexorably built.

Big Brother used to be much shorter and have fewer contestants, but when you get an email and the headers says day 67, 75, 80 and 84 you have to ask will this show never end? Well yes it will and it the very near future – but I’m pretty convinced that in some form or another it will be back.



  • Jeremy Lee

    Please God no, ITV and Sky, don’t buy this show. Both broadcasters have a habit of trying to breathe life into tawdry, moribund formats. Unsuccessfully. Let it just disappear completely so that the next time we see it is on one of those ‘did we really watch that’ shows in ten years time.

  • Gordon Macmillan

    Jeremy I thought you loved what Sky has done with Gladiators?

  • Jeremy Lee

    Errrrr, no. Awooga

  • John Gallen

    Maybe they could turn it into a ‘Mobile TV only’ programme. Foolish viewers could watch on their way to and from work or whatever and they would have Channel 4’s best revenue source right their in their hands – sms. Sure how could these addicts resist !!

  • john lush

    I won’t believe it until it happens, the fact that they are still planning to do next year, makes me think that if thats a success they will carry on.

  • Bella Ikpasaja

    Yeah, I’m with John Lush on this…that tripe may carry on longer than we hope… Chav-tastic TV!

  • http://www.bobashwood.com Bob Ashwood

    The first series of BB was a ‘entertaining’. That was it’s job. My goodness me, it worked. However, the whole concept of ‘reality TV’ is not really reality. If you put a mongoose and a snake in a cage, they’ll fight. One will die. Bullfighting and cockfighting is ‘reality live performance’. What I’m about to say my be apocryphal, but ‘it’s part of my reality’. Apparently the on ‘Wife Swap’ they had a couple of racist families. They swopped wives. Nothing happened. They got on, by all accounts. They didn’t run it.

    If you were on that show, tell me I’m wrong. I’d love to know the truth.

    When it comes down to it, I view it as as ‘fabricality’.

    That the low denominator approach that, I must confess, sell.

    What’s new?


  • http://twitter.com/Ruttledge SEAN RUTTLEDGE

    As good old Pete would invariably say
    coughWANKERS !