In the year 2000, a ‘social experiment’, Big Brother, was aired in the UK. Based on the premise of George Orwell’s book 1984, housemates were put in a house with cameras following their every move 24 hours a day. Shortly after in 2001, the first series of Pop Idol saw Will Young appear as the winner, with its predecessor Popstars pitting a girl and boy group together, making a household name of Girls Aloud and making a bargain bin name for One True voice (who? Yes, exactly).
For some reason, the prime time Saturday night television shows like Blind Date and the Generation Game that saw us through the 90s seemed dated and boring. Ultra-produced TV shows were also on the way out, and the viewing public started craving something else: reality television.
When Big Brother first aired, the nation will absolutely gripped by the love Darren had for his chickens, the will they won’t they between Me and Tom, the eventual winner Craig and his cheeky charm, and most of all, the scandal of ‘Nasty’ Nick Bateman cheating. In fact, the scandal appeared on the front page of all of the national newspapers, aside from the Financial Times (it appeared on page three). So thus, a genre was born. The year after we were all glued to the television, gripped to the screen hoping our favourite Pop Idol would get everything he had every hoped and dreamed for.
We laugh with them we cry with them, and we slate them on social media, but laugh as we will, reality stars have carved out careers filled with success, and surprisingly, longevity. Apart from the absolutely cringeworthy ‘Party Wright Around the World’ (that actually made me screw my bum up), there are some reality stars who hit the big time. Jade goody, despite the controversy in Celebrity Big Brother was worth millions, and her untimely death has raised awareness of cervical Cancer across the UK.
But during the course of reality televisions lifespan, the genre has changed from something light-hearted and mildly exploitative, to something sinister and ugly. Alarm bells started to ring when Susan Boyle, a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent got taken to the Priory after the stress got too much. It was then, that the viewing public realized something: our entertainment comes at a very real price.
Churning along, the reality television machine has evolved to scripted reality shows like TOWIE and Made in Chelsea. These offer a certain amount of protection to the cast, as everyone has a ‘character’ and often a handful of them will enter a true reality show like Celebrity Big Brother or the Jungle and prove they are actually a pretty nice, normal person (sometimes this goes the other way and the person proves to be a massive helmet when you thought they were alright).
The trouble is, audiences love these shows because they make the idea of being famous glamourous, but attainable at the same time. Owing to this, the true reality shows like Big Brother have got a lot stiffer competition than they had back in the day. Maybe this is why, this year’s Celebrity Big Brother has sunk to the absolute pits of hell.
When you watch a reality programme and Gemma Collins seems like the nicest person on it, you know something desperately wrong is going down. (By the way, I’ve seen Gemma in action in real life and she is a muppet, before the ‘you don’t even know her’ brigade pipe up).
The way the farce and carry on was allowed when David Bowie passed away was inexcusable. Obviously, the exec producer bombed some MDMA before he made all of the decisions surrounding the situation. For a start, filming Angie’s reaction was the absolute lowest of the low. Regardless of her past with him, he is the biological Father of her child and she shared many years with him. She had every right to be upset. Secondly, letting the whole farce go on where Tiffany thought David was dead was absolutely horrendous. Alright, Tiffany is a total bint, does she deserve to think a fellow housemate is dead? No. With that, and the awful rows between Lady C and the rest of the campmates in the jungle, one does actually wonder how long it will be before the Hunger Games is a reality, and we fail to make the comparison between ourselves and the Capitol.