Saturday, 11 September 2010

Big Brother: Orwellian Nightmare Cancelled Due To Falling Ratings

So farewell then, Big Brother.
It seemed fitting that the Ultimate Big Brother grand finale was won last night by Brian Dowling.
Or - as The Sun summarises him today - "Gay Brian, 32 - who shot to fame after winning Big Brother 2 in 2001".
Well, shot to late night TV phone-in quizzes and panto anyway.
Since Channel 4's first series in 2000, Big Brother has brought into the nation's living rooms a broad cross-section of youngish Britain, with queers in there as a matter of course; a lesbian nun, a tranny from Madeira, a bisexual with Tourette's, various hairdressers, Pete Burns...
All human life was here?
Maybe not.
The end of Big Brother was marked with a laudatory leader in The Times today, 'Day 3711':
"...Taboos, once they are broken, can swiftly appear incomprehensible. Big Brother, which Channel 4 finally evicted last night, broke plenty. Celebrity, only a short decade ago, usually involved at least a pretence of talent. The voluntary surrender of privacy, now widespread through the internet, was fascinating ten years ago in a way that future generations may never understand.
"This much, many may regret. But Big Brother, in its early years, broke progressive ground, too. While exhibitionist, promiscuous and at times startlingly ignorant, housemates also invariably espoused an instinctive tolerance to which Britain had not, hitherto, managed to give voice.
"The welcome triviality of homosexuality in Britain today could perhaps be traced, in part, to the regular appearance of gay housemates on our screens, behaving no more outrageously than anybody else. Races, too, mixed on Big Brother in a manner almost unremarked upon, save for a few confected rows.
"Fans will remember the fights, the punch-ups and the MP for Bethnal Green & Bow pretending to be a cat. Not everything about the legacy of reality television, however, is trivial. In today’s X-Factor Britain, where races and sexualities intermingle on our screens in the mistaken belief that they have talent, very little of what Big Brother taught us may now seem surprising. But it was."
It would be easy to overstate the case for Big Brother, and its role in changing and shaping the nation's social attitudes over the last decade - just as it is easy to dismiss it as a trivial distraction - but Fagburn thinks there is much truth in what The Times is saying.

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