Well, I reckon it’ll probably look a bit like the last ten days of Celebrity Big Brother. Why? Well, look at what happened: an ugly incident of racist bullying took place on national TV (the kind of incident, by the way, that probably happens all the the time but usually without the cameras) and the incident produced a huge and inclusive public debate about racism and a wave of support for the abused party.
No organised debate or formal consultative process could have come close to the number and variety of contributions from all corners of society that we’ve seen in the last ten days. Channel 4’s entirely spontaneous ‘big conversation’ has been more useful and more productive than anything organised by a politician for decades. Friday’s big Shilpa vs Jade vote was a proper referendum on racism in Britain – and one that went better than almost anyone could have hoped.
The opportunistic politicians calling for Channel 4 to be censured, managers sacked and shows cancelled are either confused (they don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between the medium and the message) or venal (they see political advantage in looking tough on racism). I think Andy Duncan, his commissioners and producers (and his board) have done Britain a great service and, in the future, the whole episode will be remembered as a case study in the value of a second public service broadcaster.
Obviously I’ve been buying Kitkats like mad so I can get in the house and wreak terrible, bloody havoc among the terrible bloody people they’ve got in there. I’ve marked about half of them for immediate, no-questions-asked assassination and about half of the rest for some kind of humiliation (I’ll probably call it a ‘task’). My name shall be vengeance. Or at least annoyance. Anyway, the amazing Sezer‘s getting my vote for eviction this time round – both hateful and stupid. Perfect.
Do not tell me you’re not watching Nasty Pete, Wise Maggot, Vain (definitely not Gorgeous) George, Strange Traci, Sad Michael, Clever Dennis, Ditzy Chantelle and Cute Preston on the show of the year. I’m in awe. The unlikely offspring of Big Daddy Big Brother has grown up and is much better – more intense, more jaw-droppingly neurotic – than the original by about a mile. The fact that a non-celebrity is odds-on to win the bloody thing only makes it stranger and sweeter. Tune in.
It’s fashionable – compulsory in some circles – to knock Big Brother. In fact, the show is one of the small handful of genuinely indigenous forms thrown up by television. It’s important for all sorts of reasons: it wouldn’t be possible in any other medium, it adds much to existing formats, it changes the terms of the relationship between viewer and subject…
The celebrity variant is honestly even more compelling. If you’ve been avoiding it because you think it’s lowbrow, get off your high horse and tune in (and while you’re at it, think about how you might integrate a blog with the house… Should the producers add a ‘blog room’?).