TV Times - Why the Big bother?

AFTER seven long months, we finally have the news we’ve all been longing to hear.

Yes, we will see Big Brother again. And the best news is, it’ll be on Channel Five.

Or Five, or 5, or whatever it decides to call itself that week.

As far as we were all concerned, Big Brother died last September.

Billboards across the country mourned the end of an icon.

In truth, the soul of Big Brother died several years earlier, its concept heavily worn and in desperate need of a break.

The final proper series was horrendously boring and got worse as each week went past.

It was a fantastic decision to call time on the programme last year as Channel 4’s contract with the rights owners came to an end.

The high profile ending provided by Ultimate Big Brother ensured the audience looked back fondly on what had been.

Nasty Nick, Jade Goody, the overblown Fight Night.

Viewers had the chance to remember what Big Brother had brought to television rather than the sleaze, boredom and vacuousness tags that it was often burdened with.

Channel 4 had made an inspired decision to give the series which had defined the channel for a decade a good send off.

Perhaps we would see it again in the future and have renewed appreciation for it after some time apart.

But Channel Five have refused to let sleeping dogs lie.

It is somewhat understandable for Five to pick it up.

If they can transfer Big Brother over rather seemlessly, it could easily be the channel’s biggest ever programme... though declining viewing figures were a major reason behind Channel 4’s decision to drop Big Brother.

But the size of figures the programme was getting even at its lowest point would represent a hit for Channel Five.

Richard Desmond, who bought the channel in July last year, spoke about landing Big Brother from day one.

Desmond is the owner of newspapers such as the Daily Express and the Daily Star, the latter of which has been known for its fanatical coverage of Big Brother.

How would the Star cope for a full summer without Big Brother to plaster on its front page each day?

Desmond’s involvement could have a truly positive knock-on effect for Celebrity Big Brother.

His publications love celebrities – he owns OK! magazine after all.

Rumours have already started to swirl about who producers will target for the first Channel Five incarnation.

Huge six figure sums have been quoted that will be offered to US actor Charlie Sheen.

Given Sheen’s bizzarre rants over the past few months, handing a live platform to that firework is certain to create sparks and pull viewers in.

If they go about it intelligently as well, Big Brother could be revitalised.

The series needs a fresh approach rather than continuing and hoping for the best – something Channel Four did for the last few years.

I remain incredibly pessimistic about Big Brother’s return and can see it going the way of Neighbours which has suffered a drawn out decline since the jump from BBC One.

But there is hope the quality will be resurrected, along with the brand itself.