After a five-year hiatus, Big Brother, the iconic reality show, is making a comeback on ITV, set to air on October 8th at 9 pm. The question on everyone’s mind is whether a show, once deemed past its prime in 2018, can regain relevance in the vastly transformed cultural landscape of 2023.
ITV’s approach to the revival is different. The new series, hosted by AJ Odudu and Will Best, promises a unique “sense of ITV-ness,” aiming to make reality television feel authentic once more. However, the show faces significant challenges in the wake of heightened awareness about contestants’ well-being and mental health. The tragic suicides of Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, as well as presenter Caroline Flack, have sparked crucial discussions around the ethics of reality TV.
In the early days, Big Brother was groundbreaking, offering an unprecedented glimpse into human behavior under the watchful eye of cameras. However, the show’s approach to portraying contestants as two-dimensional figures, either heroes or villains, seems outdated in today’s context. Society’s perspective has shifted, demanding more empathy and responsibility from broadcasters, especially concerning the mental health of participants.
ITV acknowledges these changes, emphasizing the importance of duty of care and welfare for contestants. The network aims to present a raw, unfiltered version of the show, stripping away artificiality while ensuring the well-being of the housemates. The challenge lies in finding a balance between authenticity and protecting the participants from the pressures of fame.
The concept of Big Brother, where ordinary individuals vie for fame, was revolutionary when it first aired in 2000. It showcased the raw dynamics of human nature and catapulted contestants like Jade Goody into the limelight. However, the show’s later seasons struggled to maintain the initial hype, especially after controversies like Roxanne Pallett’s false accusations against fellow contestant Ryan Thomas.
Big Brother’s impact on television cannot be denied, but the question remains: can it recapture the magic that made it a cultural phenomenon? The revival’s success depends on its ability to adapt to the evolved societal norms and viewer expectations. As viewers eagerly await the new season, only time will reveal whether Big Brother can reinvent itself for the modern era or if it will remain a relic of the past.