Magazine article The Spectator

Ordinary Stars

Magazine article The Spectator

Ordinary Stars

Article excerpt

Television

In the past, as Daniel Boorstin pointed out, a celebrity was a `person who is wellknown for his well-knowness'. Now people appear on television because they have appeared on television. Big Brother (Channel 4) finally ended, having made stars of people whose only claim to fame is that they were once on Big Brother. They were all ordinary in a quite extraordinarily ordinary way. Davina McCall, who seems to have a sort of presenters' Tourette's syndrome, in that she barks out words for no discernible reason, told each exiting contestant that they were now to be shown `yer best BITS! Yer best MOMENTS!' These flashbacks consisted of them falling down, or sticking their bottoms out, or pushing someone into the pool or, in one case, urinating in the kitchen rubbish bin. These were people of whom it was impossible to say whether they were drunk or sober, since everything they did had an entirely random quality, bringing laughter without humour, hilarity without wit. `Kate is the awesome, AWESOME winner of Big Brother 3!' yelled Davina, though it would be hard to meet a less awesome person. Kate is unutterably ordinary, even dull. The image she left with us was of her failing to get her left leg into her jeans and collapsing on the floor. In Lord Reith's day you had to have slightly more to offer. Actually, you did last month. But no more.

Big Brother has been a very unordinary success for Channel 4. As well as making tens of millions of pounds (the 70,000 prize is puny when you realise that the public paid 2 million in phone calls just to eject the number 3), it almost doubled the ratings of the Graham Norton chat-show which followed it, and which has had disappointing ratings. Yet everyone agreed that these were the most dreary, the least appealing housemates ever, even less attractive than the people on Celebrity Big Brother - which is probably coming back this autumn. My hope is for a more upmarket version, perhaps an Egghead Big Brother. My choice would include Simon Schama, Oliver Letwin, Melvyn Bragg, Beryl Bainbridge, Dame Mary Warnock and Baroness Scotland as the token black woman. I'd like to see them wackily fumbling round in the shower.

Davina McCall shouts and runs a lot, and tries to persuade young people to do stupid things. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.