Good Riddance Big Brother

November 7, 2018

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And with those fireworks (or lack of) on Bonfire Night, Big Brother has finally come to an end. For good, hopefully. Following ten years on Channel 4, the super-surveillance reality show moved to Channel 5 in 2011 and has miraculously churned out another 8 series since.

Presenter Emma Willis has expressed a great sadness at Big Brother’s demise, breaking down in tears a few times during the season finale. She hopes deep down that somebody somewhere will help to revive it – but how many of us agree?

Now, we all remember the glory days with Davina back on Channel 4. From the eccentric Nikki Grahame with “who is she?!” in 2006, to tacky-barbie-wannabe-twins “Samanda” the year after, there was plenty of hilarity to keep us going night after night. But here we are, over a decade later, on a different channel with very different viewing figures.

Viewership peaked in 2002 at 5.8 million. It has had a relatively steady decline since then, down to 1.2 million viewers during the 2017 series. Surely the observation of humans in an enclosed space has worn thin on the majority of the population? Either that, or we see enough of morons across our social media feeds now to fill the void.

Big Bother

The Celebrity version of the show only seems to have caused drama over the years. The race row between Jade Goody & Shilpa Shetty in 2007 received 45,000 viewer complains, with people pleading for the show to stop. This year, soap actors Roxanne Pallett and Ryan Thomas got into dispute over an alleged abuse claim from Roxanne. Whilst the nation got behind Ryan Thomas pleading his innocence, it was only because the alleged punch was caught on camera that led to the public siding towards him. Ofcom received 11,000 complains. Is this what entertainment has come to?

As this year’s final came into sight, the contestants made their pleas to be kept in until the bitter end. Wanting people to be “proud of me” and calling the experience “the most amazing thing in my life” were popular remarks. A personal favourite was Sian’s comment: “I’ve bought a certain dress for the final and I really wanna wear it”. Unfortunately for her, and the dress, she was evicted three days before the final.

Aspiring vlogger and Big Brother ‘superfan’, 18-year-old Cameron Cole was crowned the winner of the final series on November 5th. A favourite to win in the run up to the final, his time in the house split viewers opinions. He came out as gay to his housemates during his tenure in the house, and whilst some viewers wished him a “Happy Coming Out Day”, others accused him of gameplaying as his ‘family and friends already knew’. Despite this, the public who tuned into the show seemed to appreciate his courage and voted him to win.

And as great as this was, obviously something went wrong. Big Brother dynamite Nikki Grahame tweeted the winner 15 minutes before Cameron was crowned on screen. It’s safe to say, fans were fuming. Grahame clearly wasn’t told that the show was on a 15-minute delay! Well done Nikki, you ruined the last ever Big Brother finale.

What do the public want?

Thankfully for most, new shows have established themselves which the public are now fully invested in. Love Island, ITV2’s hit reality dating show now in it’s fourth series, had average views of 3.96 million this year. A staggering half a million more people watched the final in comparison to the first episode, making the 2018 final ITV2’s most-watched episode of TV ever. A national frenzy overtook the country during Love Island, despite the FIFA World Cup games also enticing the nation all summer.

The Great British Bake Off, which moved to Channel 4 in 2017, had better viewings than Big Brother ever has. The 2018 final had 7.5 million viewers, with each finalist having a strong backing from the public. Perhaps these figures show us that we’re going soft and care more about love and baking than watching other people mope about and argue for weeks on end?

Big Brother has barely touched the surface in the press this series. Take this, and the fact that the boss of Channel 5 himself said, “I’d be much happier with a channel without Big Brother on it,” and it sounds like a pretty good thing that things are finally at an end.

Drama From Down The Years

This year on Big Brother, 27-year-old Lewis Flanagan made crude remarks relating to the holocaust. Now he has moved back in with his mum and is gutted he lost out on £100,000 “because of one stupid sentence”. Looking for sympathy, Lewis? Not here.

Another housemate, Ellis Hillon, was shortly removed from the Big Brother house after her historic racist tweets about 9/11 surfaced.

So many housemates have been removed in previous series because of explosive arguments and racism. The entertainment value of this runs thin very quickly. Unfortunately, there seems to be only so much that housemates can talk about civilly before erupting into huge arguments.

The ‘social experiment’ aspect of Big Bother which originally drew in viewers seems to have taken a different direction where people just want fame. So much so that ex-winner Brian Belo even says he is happy the show is ending. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if anybody decides to rescue the sinking ship.


Author: Laura

Laura has been sharing her opinions on all kinds of popular culture for over a year, with a strong focus on great music and questionable TV. A massive Geordie who has a love of all things Newcastle United, when she isn't sprinting across the Tyne Bridge to St James Park, we normally find her in-front of the TV watching Shrek, Coronation Street or Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

Twitter @loz_wald


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