Since the advent of British reality TV with Candid Camera in 1948, the genre has exploded on to the small screen with a pace that increased with programmes like Big Brother and The Apprentice. Far from the light-hearted caught-on-camera moments that viewers enjoyed with Allen Funt’s hidden camera show, audiences now tune in to see cat-fights, bickering, and surprise evictions.
As the definition of reality TV show is stretched beyond recognition by producers and programme creators alike, we have to wonder whether the mantle of reality show fits the biggest names in the business, and whether they are accountable for who they drop into their pressure cooker environments.
- Reality TV definition:
Reality TV is a type of television programming which aims to show how ordinary people behave in everyday life, or in situations, often created by the programme makers, which are intended to represent everyday life.
…the Americans’ current infatuation with reality TV.
Reality television programmes like Love Island have come under fire for their choice of contestants with a specific body type: the slice of society on the programme is a thin one. Love Island is ranked as the most watched programme for 16-34 year olds, and has 1.6 million 16-34 viewers, which is 52% of the audience.
Reality TV programme Big Brother has always included housemates who are less than stable, even once having Nikki Graham and Pete Bennett on the programme. Some think they should have been barred from entering on the grounds of emotional vulnerability. The Big Brother producers would probably argue they make for better entertainment, and bigger view counts.
Big Brother 2018 has hit a new low in allowing Daniel Osborne on the show. Daniel has a history of threatening physical violence towards his ex-girlfriend, but at least he starred on The Only Way Is Essex from 2013-2015. A claim to fame, as small as it may be, seems to be the only requirement for prospective Big Brother contestants, regardless of their history.
Daniel was allegedly motivated to threatened Megan because he feared being unable to see their son, Teddy, if Megan began a relationship with someone else.
- ‘As long as you’ve got my son, you’re part of my property.’
- ‘You’re making Teddy cry because you’re a fucking slut.’
- ‘Shut your fucking mouth you fucking slut.’ To which Megan replied, ‘Don’t start hitting me or I’ll start going mad.’
- ‘If you go near another man I promise you I will stab you in the fucking throat. I swear on this boys’ life I will end your fucking life if you shag another man.’ Megan replied, ‘You can’t threaten me, Dan, so just stop.’ Dan then said, ‘It’s not a threat, it’s a promise.’
Their decision was obviously motivated by the desire for higher ratings: this season, after all, is called ‘eye of the storm.’ Daniel’s involvement in the show becomes less shocking when we see the whole line-up: this year’s programme is littered with the likes of Jermaine Pennant, a footballer who has served time in prison for drunk and disorderly driving, and Hardeep Singh Kohli, a presenter who was agreed to take six months of leave from the One Show in 2009 for behaving inappropriately towards a female colleague.
In a recent episode Hardeep’s co-stars questioned him about his disappearance from main stream television. He labelled his 2009 dismissal as ‘boring and nothing.’ He went onto imply that he was targeted for his race, saying, ‘if you’re a man of colour in this business, you get one chance.’