Sorry, Big Brother, but no one was watch­ing you

The Observer - - Comment & Analysis -

For­some peo­ple, the news of the ax­ing of Big Brother may have come as a shock. Was it still on?

While in any real way, the con­cept flat­lined years ago, it had its big cul­tural mo­ment, and for longer than it was given credit for. For my sins, I still watched Celebrity Big Brother, though, in­creas­ingly, my sins weren’t the point. It turned into a kind of celebrity ca­reer re­hab scheme, with “cast­ing” that verged on ir­re­spon­si­ble.

The di­ary room be­came an un­of­fi­cial pa­role board, sani­tis­ing and re­launch­ing Z-lis­ters and repro­bates who sim­ply wouldn’t have been al­lowed on Strictly Come Danc­ing or I’m a Celebrity – though Celebrity Coach Trip might have had them, if the coach was set to drive into a ravine.

Re­al­ity tele­vi­sion has its own strict food chain and some­how Big Brother, the orig­i­na­tor, had ended up scrab­bling at the bot­tom along with Celebs Go Dat­ing. A pro­gramme that once re­flected our­selves as a na­tion had turned into a mir­ror to check that we were still breath­ing, be­cause clearly any­one still watch­ing was brain­dead.

That said, if it ever re­turned, re­an­i­mated like an unlovely, whinge­ing, fame-crazed Doc­tor Who, would I watch? Ab­so­lutely! RIP, Big Brother – un­til the next phone vote.

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