So the current series of Big Brother will only be remembered for its plummeting ratings figures. “Worst Ever” comments the Guardian on those of last Friday night. Is the public’s appetite for this freakshow, that has so often had the epithet “dumbed down” applied to it, now diminishing?
As far as I see it the celeb version continues to fascinate. After all that was the scene of Shilpagate, the feline antics of Gorgeous George and various Jackson siblings televised close-up (though alas not poor Michael). I think this proves how celebrity has a hold over us. Pick up most papers at the weekend and inside will be a tv section that looks like Heat magazine with little titbits and factfiles about the great and good.
Celebrity is making further inroads into politics. Yesterday’s tv bulletins showed Joanna Lumley amongst the Gurkas that she gained rights for by applying televised pressure on Phil Woolas in Parliament. Had she stood in Norwich North the result could have been very different. Former BBC correspondent Martin Bell, the man in the white suit was elected in 1997. And now in 2010 Esther Rantzen is having a go. Her pompous comment that she would “take advice from Luton South to see if they feel that I could still offer something that they would value” seems to have been answered in the affirmative, even though the target of her ire Margaret Moran (the claimant of dry rot treatment in a home not the constituency or London) is standing down – isn’t that a song by the Beat?
What we really need to see are more normal people in Parliament who’ve had a bit of life experience. At 27 Chloe Smith‘s youth is not what bothers me; it’s that whilst clearly being capable, she is on closer inspection another machine politician. Her last secondent as a management consultant was to Conservative Central Office. It seems that pretty much no-one under 40 (and some older) in politics today has never really had a proper job. There are plenty of examples in the Labour party too.
Like most of the population I haven’t been following the current Big Brother #10 but many have drawn parallels between the series and political participation trends. Then again many who dicuss reality tend to bunch lots of diverse things together. Dragons Den is not Big Brother is not Britain’s Got Talent. Big Brother is not reality, as is pointed out in online journal Darkmatter. The quip applies to all of them.
Can’t wait for the next celebrity one though.