WRITING - THE INDEPENDENT
The freak show finished on Friday night, with Big Brother very unwell. Kate, the first female winner in the world, picked up the modest prize of £70.000 in front of millions of surprised viewers, who were left checking their phone bills to see why their vote had been diverted to Kate instead of Alex.
Jade's survival a few weeks before, despite a huge hate campaign by almost every paper in the country, was almost as baffling. But then again, there was danger that if she went so would the ratings.
The irony was not lost on me that this time two years ago, I was restlessly moving about in a hotel room, waiting for the morning.
I walked for an hour by the Thames, watching boats mow through the water. I began to sense this could be big. I was dreading it. Six hours later I was face to face with nine complete strangers who instantly forgot they were actually in a game show.
Most of them spent their time drinking tea or gibbering inanely at other times like deranged monkeys. This was a game show and I started to play, much to the annoyance of the tabloids, who in retaliation for me not being a tabloid reader and being, in their eyes, posh, decided to be judge and jury and crown me Nasty.
When the series ended we were given media careers by default, and when we followed this path we were lambasted for doing so. Fruit machines and posters and book sales made Big Brother even richer, contestants began to feel short-changed and at £30 a day for 24 hours of filming, who could blame us?
Big Brother gives you a tag that is hard to shake off. I know I can do more, but sometimes the industry is blind to its own hypocrisy and I will be judged on what I have done, not what I could be doing.
Big Brother is now very ill,especially since Conrad Green - the original producer left to go to the BBC.
The tea makers of the first series who now run the third series, totally forgot the rules of Big Brother. We got contestants that played to cameras and a Big Brother that played up to their egos by bending the game's own rules. Totally mindless tasks and even copious amounts of booze failed to be the catalyst they normally promise, and dumb Britain was the only winner.
The sad factor in this situation is that the housemates are no brighter than the average person in the street. Big Brother reflects society and watching it hurts us.
These new contestants will be exploited, with the inevitability of rain at Wimbledon. By agents who have more than a cosy relationship with Big Brother. As more old contestants seek legal advice, six now in total, as to the way they have been portrayed by Big Brother, time will tell if we will be subjected to any more of this orchestrated, manipulative viewing that the pro-ducers pass off as reality TV.
The truth is that the channel is all too happy with the increased revenues, which have saved it from another poor year. But at what price? The wrong kind of audience and a dumbing down of a good format - all for money.
Today? I am happy and have no regrets; you can only regret what you do not do and not what you have done.