The tenth series of Big Brother kicks off tonight, with sixteen housemates due for a nasty surprise, as they will be required to spend their first few days sleeping on the living room floor, with no access to the bedroom or bathroom. (Tee hee.) Any of the housemates who are unable to cope with that will be evicted on Sunday, apparently.
Will I be watching tonight? Yes.
But will I be watching religiously every night, as I have done for each of the past nine series? Probably not. Or at least that’s my firm intention.
Why? Life’s just too short – especially when you have an 18-month old boy who frequently drags you out of bed on the wrong side of 5am – and the format is, despite the producers’ best attempts to spice things up, starting to get a little tired.
Blame whatever you like. Maybe it’s Channel 4’s desire to avoid controversies such as the racism, bullying and fighting which have marred recent series; great for short-term ratings and media coverage, not so brilliant for the programme’s long-term reputation. It could be the growing sense of ennui that comes from watching a show for nine years. (Very little feels truly original now, just variations on a theme – although there were some real highlights last year, such as the head-to-toe bodysuits that jolted housemates with electric shocks.)
Or perhaps it’s just that we’ve grown tired of the never-ending procession of former housemates desperately clinging on to Z-list status. Truly, Big Brother has not produced a ‘celebrity’ of any enduring duration since the late Jade Goody, who emerged way back in 2002. (Sure, there’s usually at least one girl every year who becomes lads’ mag fodder, but they are no more celebrities than the football WAGs who appear on other reality shows.)
Certainly each year’s winner and the more memorable among the supporting cast of characters tend to be discarded and forgotten increasingly quickly these days. Anyone seen last year’s winner since her exit from the house? Anyone even remember her name? (It was Rachel Rice, the Welsh, too-good-to-be-true goody-two-shoes, by the way.)
So, anyway, my plan is to watch the first couple of days and then to tune in only for the eviction shows and the more amusing tasks – I figure that will save us at least five hours’ worth of TV time per week, which I’m intending to use partly to catch up on the 150 hours of backlog on our Sky+ box and hard drive. God forbid, we might even do other, non TV-related stuff – after all, it is lovely and sunny at the moment.
That’s the plan, anyway. How capable I am of resisting temptation and slipping back into old Big Brother viewing habits remains to be seen. I’ll check back in a few weeks and let you know.