Square Eyes: Big Brother – so it’s back!

…On Channel 5. Yes that’s right, after months of dragging it out in a more than pathetic attempt to relaunch the channel, Richard Desmond and Endemol have finally (pretty much) announced the return of Big Brother.

And about time too, it’s been away for ages, something like 6 months… wait! 6 MONTHS! That’s right, the ‘final’ ever series ended on Channel 4 in September and now 6 months on, it’s been given a five year lease of life. What an anti-climax that was!

I’ll admit here that I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Big Brother. I hate pretty much everyone on the show, the presenters and the producers – but it’s one of those shows which has always had the ability to suck me in like a fly to a light bulb. And I believe that even when it was axed it still had legs – in a way Channel 4 were almost still quitting whilst they were ahead (certainly if you look at their viewing figures). I was therefore fully expecting the show to one day rise up from the ashes and return to our screens – but this is too soon.

Channel 4 were right to stop the show when they did. It had become overkill, a shadow of what it once was. The show was stale and often dull – there was potential there, but it needed a break. It needs some time off our screen for new ideas to be formulated and a fresh look taken to the whole show. If that was to happen, I’m sure many would have welcomed it’s return to our screens in 3 or so years time.

But Channel 5 under the control of Media whore Desmond, can’t possibly wait a second longer. Like a spoilt child, it’s so excited about it’s latest purchase that it is currently desperately scrambling to get a Celebrity version ready in time for August… AUGUST, less than a year after the show finished ‘forever’. And as if that wasn’t quick enough, this will be followed IMMEDIATELY by a full ‘general public’ series which will be followed again in January by another Celeb edition…

I can only see this as a massive mistake. The re-launch needed time and effort – all this will have is a load of cash chucked at it and hope for the best. Believe it or not, that doesn’t often make good telly!

The BB House - disused in this photo, already under renovation in reality

Then there’s the fact it’s on the disaster zone that is Channel 5. Say what you want about Channel 4, they do at least have programme-making skills. Yet it’s sad to say that now, 14 years after it’s creation, I’m still to find anything I want to watch on Channel 5 (except The Mole which was an exceptional show in the late 90’s). The Channel is still confused about what it wants to do and the re-launch hasn’t helped, by taking the networks worst show (Live from Studio Five) and making it unbelievably worse (OK!TV). I know the new ‘Big Brother’ will be made by Endemol, but 5 will still have a big influence over it and in my opinion, that can only be a bad thing.

And that brings me nicely to Endemol – the big winners! The five year BB deal is rumoured to be worthe £200 million to Endemol, who must just be thrilled someone has brought it. It won’t end the independent production companies financial troubles, but ti will cushion them and I do believe this is good as Endemol can and do make some really innovative TV.

So hide away haters, another ‘Summer of Bruv’ (eurgh – dreadful tagline) is coming. I personally can’t see it becoming any bigger than BB was on C4 (although I’m sure Desmond’s media empire will try and change that), or for that matter any better. But I do look forward to the new series – more with intrigue than interest, as to what C5 will do with the show. If it’s not a cleverly thought out fresh start though, I think it could be back on the slippery slope to cancellation before it’s already begun!

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