As what seems like the one billionth series of Celebrity Big Brother has come to an end, and the word celebrity is used in its very loosest sense, LSi reflects on the longevity of this TV show format and whether it’s really worth watching.
Certain trends often implicate the popularity of a series in the television world; having a Christmas special commissioned or moving to a prime-time spot usually a more positive sign, whilst being moved to a sister channel, such as BBC Three, is normally a negative one. However, having a series decommissioned and moved to Channel 5, is essentially sentencing a series to live out its remaining life in exile. This has become the fate of the Big Brother franchise, which had seen its viewing figures continuously plummet while on Channel 4. This may have been a process you were involved in yourself, disillusioned by the standard of ‘celebrity’ Channel 4 could attract.
However, if you are so inclined to read papers such as The Mirror, The Sun or The Daily Star, you will have found that the latest series has been almost impossible to avoid. The producers on Channel 5, to their eternal credit, appear to have sat down and decided to abandon any attempt for critical acclaim in exchange for boobs, bigots and bedlam. With an increasing contestant selection of models, celebrities who have had careers shrouded in controversy, cast members of docu-soaps including that of the ever-popular Made in Chelsea, and a selection of celebrities whose careers are all but over and will do anything for the publicity.
Edging towards as much controversy as possible, Channel 5 have revamped this dying TV format into a show that, despite hating yourself while you do it, you will tune in to every night to watch celebrities you vaguely remember humiliating themselves as a last gasp attempt to hold on to another 15 minutes of fame.