Big Brother : What’s Gone Wrong?
Moving a show to a new channel is always risky, but there are some TV juggernauts which are thought to be move-proof. Big Brother, with its mix of drama, voyeurism and unwitting stars was thought to be one of them, but all is not well down in Borehamwood.
Big Brother is losing viewers rapidly, with the first five episodes dipping on average to 1.7 million – almost half of that of the last series on Channel 4. In terms of Channel 5 numbers the channel is gaining 10% on its normal 10pm timeslot, but the show itself is haemorrhaging viewers. Why are they deserting? We have some theories..
Channel 5 said that no-one wanted a live feed – they were wrong. Part of the attraction for the core audience was being able to see, unedited, what the housemates were up to. There were even hearing impaired fans who put their lip reading skills to further use by relating what the housemates were saying when the sound was cut for legal reasons. Without the live feed, the viewer is never going to get the jump on the production team, which was part of the fun.
No water-cooler effect
A major attraction in BB was always the sense that you were watching it with everyone else you knew. When a show is in the papers every day, on every online TV site, trending on twitter and generally ubiquitous it’s easy to discuss it with people, to heighten the drama and to share opinions. The lack of viewers means that the average person watching the show is less likely to be able to talk about it with friends and therefore the water-cooler effect is lost.
Some of the best moments from BBs past were due to clashes between younger housemates and older housemates. In this year’s house the age range is slimmed to only 12 years with the oldest housemate being 30 years old. This is the slightest age range of any BB yet, with the average gap over all series between the youngest and oldest housemate being 21 years. The lack of diversity in experience leads conversations in the house to be dull and provocative for all the wrong reasons, and is a turn off to anyone over 30 who doesn’t just want to listen to Tom talk about masturbating.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and we’re really feeling the loss of Davina McCall. Brian Dowling just doesn’t have the same charm and exuberance as McCall, who could make even the most anodyne day in the house seem like a Borgia family picnic with her enthusiastic gurning. Brian is a complacent host assuming that half of the work is being done for him by the baying crowd, and his mistakes are not endearing, they’re just amateurish.
What do you think? Can BB redeem itself or have Channel 5 made too many changes?