It has been announced that this will be the final season of the Australian series of Big Brother. It started here in 2001 and I have been a fan since day 1. Initially promoted as a fly on the wall experiment, the first season or two was really great as the House Mates (HM’s) did not know what to expect. Indeed the first series of HM’s even wondered out loud if it was still being shown on TV at all.
As time went on and more people saw the show, potential HM’s, the viewers and hopefully Big Brother himself would figure out what was going on. While the HM’s and the public often knew what was going on before it was revealed on TV, BB was often slow to react. BB was soon seen to be an easy way onto TV and into other jobs in the media. There have been several female HM’s appearing in men’s magazines, several others getting onto TV and radio and indeed two former HM’s (Ryan Fitzgerald and Bree Amer) went on to host Friday Night Live with original crowd warmup guy come voice over guy come FNL host come stand in host Mike Goldman. This year, former HM’s Tim Brunero, Nathan Morris and Chrissy Swan made several appearances as panelists on Big Brother’s Big Mouth.
As the show got older, fans became more questioning and critical of the show. Unofficial website Behind Big Brother Australia became a popular meeting point for fans as well as a place where stories were broken, sometimes correct, sometimes not. It has been said by many hardcore fans that the audience of the show have grown up with the show but the show hasn’t grown up with the audience. This is especially the case because many people have been able to see the UK version of the show which is aimed at adults. The stereotype of the show here in Australia has had the show and the voters purely in the teenage girl market.
Over 8 years, the format did not change much overall. With the exception of this year, nominations were on Monday, tasks started early in the week as did shopping. The tasks carried on during the week. Friday night eventually became Friday Night Live (or Friday Night Games) night which is a series of games which enabled the winner special nomination powers and other rewards. Midway through the show’s life, there was a new show called Up Late with Mike Goldman (or as I called it, Up Mike with Late) which was a late night live view of the house. Unfortunately for the viewers, Up Mike became an excuse for money grabbing games and puzzles and became less and less about the happenings of the house late at night. Up Mike did not make an appearance this year.
Another controversial show was an Adults Only show that was needed because of the early time of the Daily and Eviction shows. While these shows were often an excuse for a bit of T & A (usually in the shower or the spa), it gave a glimpse of the HM’s that the ordinary shows could not show. These shows have had various names including BB Uncut and Adults Only. The new show Big Mouth has been part Uncut, part discussion show this year in an adult time slot.
During the run of the show, there have been 3 hosts. Comedian and author Gretel Kileen was the original host from series 1 until last year’s series 7. Critics said that Gretel just became too tired and jaded with the show while her fans have said that she was the glue that kept BB together and has been the one constant in the show apart from Mike Goldman. In a controversial move, Gretel was replaced in the current series by radio hosts Kyle & Jackie O. Kyle was often critical of the show and fans were critical of him, especially after being a house guest himself last year. The original plan was for Kyle to go into the house for a weekend but he could not handle it, quoting severe migraine. He went on to abuse the female BB on duty in what was one of the better moments in last year’s series. Meanwhile Jackie O hasn’t been short of critics either with people saying that she has a long line of unspectacular TV failures behind her.
Of course, there have been many memories (good and bad) over the past 8 years. There many incidents that attracted media attention. There was the Merlin “free th refugees” protest where an evicted HM held up a sign that was supposed to say “Free the Refugees” but the E fell off. Undisturbed by that, Merlin went on to gaffer tape his mouth shut and refuse to speak on the eviction stage. There was the infamous turkey slap incident of 2006, celebrity and other guests, many complaints regarding the adult programs, voting scandals including the reinstatement of a wrongly evicted HM and a lot more. There was also a (B grade) Celebrity BB as well.
There are many highlights, many incidents, many memories. This post has just a few of 8 years of memories. This week marks the final week of Australian BB with the final on Monday 21 July. After this, there will be no more blogs or episodes of Erk to the Diary Room. However, that of course will mean that Drue & I will be able to concentrate on Erk Pod which will continue as it has during this season.
So after Monday, it’s time to go ………………….. Big Brother.