Big Brother 2011 Review – AKA The Only Way Is Borehamwood (Part One)
When Channel 5 and Endemol announced that they were bringing back Big Brother for its twelfth series I was ecstatic. The show on Channel 4 was brilliant, it broke down social barriers, it gave limitless hours of entertainment in the form of real drama, comedy and romance, and it was simply event TV that I personally thought was easily the best thing on UK TV, no matter what the general public opinion on the show was. It was pure entertainment.
The Daily Star became the official news outlet for Big Brother, and why not? Fair enough they print a load of lies, but the paper is owned by Richard Desmond, who also owns Channel 5, OK! and the Daily Express. Therefore I thought anything printed about Big Brother would likely be true, why would they lie about this?
The Daily Star first promised us that the prize fund was to be increased from £100,000 to £500,000. I thought that would be amazing! Finally a prize worthy of this competition, being in a house for three months. I thought this would promote the game playing in the house and produce contestants who actually wanted to win instead of the stock standard line of a house-mate – “I don’t really care about winning, or the money”. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a lie, the prize fund remained at £100,000.
Next, The Daily Star promised us the return of a full live feed on the tellybox! Fans all over the UK rejoiced! As of Big Brother 10 the live feed was axed in the UK on all formats although it did air for a few hours at night, a stupid decision as housemates were already sleeping at this point. This was the series that the show lost a lot of viewers and it was announced Big Brother would end after series 11 in 2010. Channel 4 gave us the live feed online with the final series (and again with a few hours a day on E4), the live feed online was perfect, no adverts at all. Yes, you had to pay £14.99, but that was a great deal for any fan. Besides the point Channel 4 actually gave away 1,000 passes for free at the start of the series, so most fans could pick one up at no cost. The success of this program was amazing, ratings were much higher than series 10 and the online pass product sold very well. Unfortunately for us, Channel 5 decided to axe the live feed completely, no online pass, no few hours a day on spinoff channel Five* either. Which for me was crazy, no-one watches Five*, their ratings would have gone through the room with the live feed on that channel. But alas, The Daily Star lied again, there was no live feed.
With the build up to the launch of Celebrity Big Brother, The Daily Star decided to let us know that big names were appearing in the house this year, such as Charlie Sheen! Word of this spread quickly and excitement for the show began to build up. But of course, The Daily Star lied again, there was no Charlie Sheen, there were no big names. In fact some of the contestants didn’t even have their own Wikipedia page…
The most shocking one of all was the infamous but forgotten “Golden Ticket” competition, where readers were encouraged to purchase the paper in order to “win a golden ticket where one lucky holder will gain entry to the Big Brother house this year and become a housemate!” – Funnily enough, after a month or so of running this competition the paper went quiet and it was never heard from again. I’m surprised there hasn’t been an outcry about this to be honest, if it was telephone voting on ITV it would be huge, but encouraging people to buy a newspaper to win a competition that doesn’t exist is disgusting.
This was all obviously a ploy from Channel 5, Endemol, Big Brother and The Daily Star to attract big ratings for the Celebrity Big Brother launch by coming out with crazy ideas, in the hope that the “casual” audience which they were aiming for would be taken in by the launch show and continue to watch, and not notice the blatant lies. This brings me on to my first big point. Throughout this series Channel 5 and Endemol have treated the viewing public with extremely little respect. I’ll expand on some of these points later on, but the editing on the show has shown blatant favouritism towards certain housemates, the fact they think people just want to watch people talk about sex and that nobody wants to see anyone over 30 on the TV, not to mention the fact that they only put pretty people in this year.
Channel 5 stated they were targeting the “casual” audience. This meant that many fans lost faith in the show, these are the bread and butter people, the people who create the buzz for the show, the people who talk online and in person creating a word of mouth advertisement for the channel. These people were lost by Channel 5 because they said they wanted to target the young audience. In fact, everything about this series has screamed “Hey! We are like The Only Way Is Essex now! Watch us please!!”. They don’t seem to realise that Big Brother on Channel 4 had roughly 4 million viewers in its later lower rated days. The Only Way is Essex has a peak of 1.4 million viewers. So it was no shock that Big Brother hemorrhaged viewers this series and averaged 1.5 million.
I’ll leave my Daily Star rant by mocking them. When The News of the World collapsed they tried marketing themselves as “the paper you can trust”. How laughable is that?
People do not like to be treated stupidly, and many people can see through rubbish editing, they have treated the audience like they have little or no intelligence and people dislike that. Just look at what is happening with The X Factor this year and their ratings, that is also because the production team got too big for their boots and started treating the audience like sheep who would believe anything if you say it enough.