Big Brother’s big cur­tain call

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Television -

HAILED by some as a ground-break­ing so­cial ex­per­i­ment, con­demned by oth­ers as ex­ploita­tive trash, in the last 10 years Big Brother has changed the land­scape of re­al­ity tele­vi­sion. Since its launch in July 2000, the show has turned char­ac­ters such as Jade Goody and ‘Nasty’ Nick Bate­man into un­likely TV stars, and is now bow­ing out af­ter 10 sea­sons.

The doors to TV’s most fa­mous house will open for the last time this sum­mer for the 11th and fi­nal se­ries, and we can ex­pect the usual petty spats, strate­gi­cally forged al­liances, un­der­cover ro­mances and cruel tasks which have be­come syn­ony­mous with the show.

“It’s go­ing to be mas­sive. Mas­sive, naughty, bad, great, good, evil, happy, fun, out­ra­geous,” says Dav­ina McCall, who has been the pro­gramme’s host since the start.

De­tails sur­round­ing the ea­gerly awaited show are a closely guarded se­cret, with even the pre­sen­ters be­ing kept in the dark. What we do know is that there will be some sur­prises, in­clud­ing twists and turns, as cam­eras fol­low the last group of strangers to live in the Big Brother house.

The first twist will see some hope­ful house­mates be­ing turned away from the house, be­fore they even get the chance to en­ter. This year, the fi­nal group will be an­nounced on the launch night, Wed­nes­day June 9, and it’s only then that each con­tes­tant will dis­cover whether they’ll be spend­ing their sum­mer with strangers or head­ing back home with their bags still packed.

Ge­orge Lamb, who will front the spinoff show Big Brother’s Lit­tle Brother with Emma Wil­lis, says this se­ries will hark back to the de­but se­ries, which broke new ground when it first aired on UK screens.

“It’s go­ing to be com­pletely dif­fer­ent - the bosses are go­ing to play with your senses, play with your mind and mess with con­ven­tion a lit­tle bit more,” he re­veals.

The 30-year-old adds: “It’s much eas­ier to fol­low the same pa­ram­e­ters and tweak it, than to rip up the rule book and say, ‘This be­gins again’. Hope­fully it’ll be the biggest and best year of Big Brother since year one.”

The re­al­ity show started in the Nether­lands back in 1999 and has since be­come one of the most suc­cess­ful TV fran­chises around the world. It is shown in more than 110 coun­tries, with more than 155 se­ries pro­duced in to­tal.

Big Brother has be­come one of the most talked about shows on telly, thanks to its eclec­tic mix of house­mates, in­clud­ing Pete Ben­nett from BB7 who had Tourette’s Syn­drome, ditsy hair­dresser Helen Adams and trans­sex­ual Na­dia Al­mada.

“Big Brother re­serves the right to change the rules at any time, so Big Brother is for­ever mor­ph­ing, even dur­ing a se­ries,” says McCall.

“I’ve never got bored - even in se­ries four, when ev­ery­one was like, ‘This is so dull, ev­ery­body’s so nice!’. For me, even in that se­ries, I was ad­dicted.”

The show has had its crit­ics. While it scored record highs with view­ing fig­ures of 9.2 mil­lion in its third year, which was won by Kate Lawler and Jade Goody be­came a house­hold name, it has lost au­di­ences in re­cent years, pulling in only an av­er­age of 2.2 mil­lion view­ers in 2009.

McCall sus­pects she might lose her com­po­sure once the se­ries kicks off.

“My feel­ing is that I might cry dur­ing the day while it’s hap­pen­ing. I think I’ll prob­a­bly do most of my sob­bing in the day or af­ter­wards,” she says.

“I’ve been do­ing a lot of rem­i­nisc­ing and look­ing back - I’m full of nostal­gia this year, look­ing back at ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pened in all the past se­ries.”

Hav­ing helmed Big Brother since it burst onto our screens in 2000, the 42-year-old reck­ons she knows the se­cret to win­ning.

“You have to be in­ter­est­ing, it’s not good enough just to be kooky or weird. I al­ways think they’re look­ing for multi-lay­ered per­son­al­i­ties,” she says.

“When you get in there, I would say hang back for the first cou­ple of weeks. The peo­ple who are re­ally loud at the be­gin­ning are the first out. I hate peo­ple who run around talk­ing to the cam­eras all the time. It’s not clever, it’s not funny, don’t do it.”

She con­tin­ues: “The other re­ally im­por­tant thing is, use the diary room a lot. We want to know how you’re feel­ing, and the pub­lic need to feel con­nected to you if you’re go­ing to win it.”

Lamb hopes peo­ple will give Big Brother the swan song it de­serves. “To watch it un­fold, with dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters like Nasty Nick who played it like a game, and try­ing to un­der­stand what they were go­ing through, it was con­cep­tu­ally a re­mark­able thing to pull off. Hope­fully peo­ple will have one more sum­mer of love with Big

Brother.”

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