So the latest installment of Big Brother started last Thursday, and to be honest, I had no idea it was back. The last I heard, Brian Dowling was involved somewhere. I knew Davina McCall had jumped ship (a wise move), and to be fair, Emma Willis does seem a more than capable replacement. I have every sympathy for her, having to put up with that group of nonentities. How on earth can you still watch Big Brother? Fair enough – it used to be good back in the days of Kate Lawler, Helen Adams and Brian Dowling (himself featuring as a contestant), but it unsurprisingly seems to have gone rapidly downhill. The switch to Channel 5 tells you everything you need to know about the quality of the programme. Channel 4 clearly recognised it had lost its magic. And it’s on for 10 weeks?! Thank God Wimbledon’s about to start.
I watched most of the opening episode, and weeped in despair. Not necessarily at the people involved – just the sheer repetitiveness of it all. I’ve seen it all before. And a guy swooning to the camera in his audition video? Please God, no. I noticed there was a Welsh contestant again (there always seems to be one – I’m Welsh too) called Sam Evans. The last great one I remember was Glyn Wise (back in 2006). I’d like to think I would want to support this latest acquisition, and – fair play to him – he has represented Great Britain and Wales as part of their deaf football teams, having been born with 70-80% hearing loss. He is probably a lovely person. Do I want to watch him play games and eat cereal? Hell, no.
Switch over to BBC1, and the ninth series of The Apprentice is currently on air (with You’re Fired still taking residence on BBC2). The companion show is often more entertaining than the programme itself, plus it has Dara Ó Briain as the host. I no longer watch The Apprentice anymore – as with Big Brother – it’s the same old, tired format every year. 12 (or however many there are this year) brag about footsteps on the moon in the opening titles, sit glumly in that little, dingy corner cafe after one forgets to turn the calculator on, before the losing participant thanks Lord Sugar for firing them, and then gets shuffled out of the boardroom to boast in the taxi: “He made a mistake.” One clown this year even said at the start of the series: ‘Lord Sugar can expect phone calls from me at 2 o’clock in the morning.’ Yes, let’s wake an elderly man in the dead of night.
The only reality TV show that continually seems to hit the mark is I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! This largely seems to be down to the presence of Ant & Dec. And contestants I’ve actually heard of. Most of them, anyway. I still struggle to sit through this, to be honest, as I have a DVD player, a remote control and a brain. So, whenever I happen to catch a glimpse of The Apprentice, or some loon screaming in the Diary Room chair, I merely think: ‘Reality TV? You’re Fired.’