Big Brother Launch: The End Is Nigh
BIG BROTHER LAUNCH: Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm ALERT ME
Ten years ago, as the news of Nick Bateman’s secret name scribbling spread across the nation with the kind of disbelief usually reserved for Presidential assasinations (“I’m very disappointed with yourself Nicholas”), we Big Brother virgins realised that something naughty and rather wonderful had burst into pop culture. Like the gossip-mongering, Heat-reading generation of vacuous celebrity junkies we were, we had found a standard to rally around: a programme that would lead us into a new era of television where anyone could be a star.
It is almost impossible to calculate the number of shows (both entertaining and downright depressing) that were given confidence by this first stab at reality television. X Factor, Pop Idol, The Apprentice, I’m Not A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, none of them would have existed without that bunch of norms who entered an East London compound in the summer of 2000, unsure if anyone would even bother tuning in to watch them boil eggs, smoke cigarettes and do tasks.
Sadly, in the manner of most child prodigies whose climb to fame is both meteoric and unexpected, the show started to struggle for new material in later years. Big Brother completed its seminal work in the mid noughties (who can forget Anthony and Craig, Science and Maxwell or Kinga and that bottle) but recently it has been sliding into farce in a manner that would have made George Best tut. If Big Brother was a pop star, it would have been falling out of clubs, fighting photographers and making s**t albums for several years now.
Whether it can recapture some of its former glory in this final series remains to be seen, but one thing is certain – if it doesn’t, it won’t be for the want of trying..