Written by Media

The Mind Washing of a Big Brother World

Sadly, I’m talking about the TV programme, Big Brother – in particular, Celebrity Big Brother.
Now I know that this is futile exercise, and no matter how much I say or write isn’t going to make a single iota’s difference, but sometimes the coverage that this programme gets infuriate’s me.
In a weekly email, Newsnight’s editor Peter Barron tried to defend the programme’s coverage of George Galloway’s “eviction” even going so far as to have Jeremy Paxman pre-record a piece to camera that was played to Galloway when he left. There are some legitimate questions that Galloway needs to be asked, but getting involved in the farrago that is Big Brother is not the way to do it.
Yesterday, saw The Guardian dedicating its main photo to the winner of the programme – “ironically” a non-celebrity.
Then, and most infuriatingly of all we come to Kathryn Flett, the television critic of The Observer. I’ve spoken before about quite how infuriating I find Flett. She’s given a full broadsheet page to review television and the best she can do is spend paragraph after paragraph talking about Big Brother, while managing to squeeze in just a couple of sentences for The Virgin Queen.
I’m always going to agree to disagree with reviewers, but it’s not even as though this matters for Flett. She readily admits in her first paragraph that only 5.9m people watch an average episode of the programme. A similar number, she points out, watched Stephen Fry on Who Do You Think You Are. One of those programmes gave as an insight into things such as the advent of industrial agriculture and the horror of the Holocaust. The other, er, didn’t. Sadly, despite “the other” being on seven nights a week, Flett didn’t find time to watch one hour of Stephen Fry. Her loss.
But this is, to me, an example of the media culture that a small section of society lives in. Flett explains that all the emails she got were about Big Brother. I say that she needs to get some new email correspondents. Just because lots of metropolitan meeja types have nothing better to do, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the country hasn’t got better things to do.
If you wander around London during the rush hour you’ll see lots of people wearing white headphones. But the majority of the population do not own iPods.
Look, I’ve no real objection if hordes of people want to spend their time watching the programmes that share the nutritional values of grass, but I please don’t assume that the rest of us share your interest. Most people don’t read Heat, and they don’t watch Big Brother.