Okay so if the Ku Klux Klan burn a cross on your lawn and lynch your mother and you don’t actually use the phrase, “Stop that you racist!”; it ceases to be a racist act?
Well, that’s been Channel 4’s inestimable defence in the whole Big Brother debacle. I think they’re confusing it with another well-known series’ catchphrase, “I’m A Crucified Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.” Thank goodness the respected Bollywood film star Shilpa Shetty (pictured, above) finally used the “r” word because it seems that’s what it takes for a TV company to do their moral and legal duty.
As writers have been discussing in pubs for ages, reality shows have already done great damage to television. They are largely cheap-to-produce TV fodder, which don’t use commissioned scripts or writers. These series devour what little writing work is available and devalue our industry.
On the plus side, TV companies have recently sussed that these reality shows bring in no repeats or overseas sales. A television company’s library is one of their greatest assets. I look forward to the companies explaining that to their shareholders and board.
It was inevitable that to maintain and gain ratings that reality shows would have to become more bear baiting and extreme. It’s only because the Christians and the Lions weren’t available (panto season you know) that we ended up with Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty. It’s already become an international incident.
Channel 4, Endemol, Ofcom and the powers-that-be have shamefully let the kicking continue which, to me, makes them as morally culpable as any bullies or racists. How long before the first sniper, on a grassy knoll in Elstree, waits for a celeb to be evicted by Davina and we have our first Celebrity Shooting?
Now there’s an idea for a new series. I’ll get onto my agent at once.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
In a guest post for this blog, Gail Renard, Chair of the Guild's TV Committee, argues that Celebrity Big Brother has proved to be a reality show too far.