Are the media suffering cold sweats as the drip feed of Big Brother is ripped from their arm once and for all?

In the beginning, BB could always rely on the media for a dose of free publicity. It was a mutually satisfying relationship; papers filled pages, blogs chewed on the fodder, talkback lit up, Catharine Lumby got a byline and on a good week, the PM might get a sound bite and maybe, just maybe, a parliamentary inquiry…

But this year, despite stacking the house with an Aboriginal girl with a dirty mouth, an asian lad, a racist, a grandmother and a belly dancing midget, the media didn’t bite.

Ask yourself: where was this year’s turkey-slap moment?

Aside from bagging out the deeply unwatchable Kyle and Jackie-O in the first days of Season Eight, the media, just like the viewers, weren’t interested.

But in the spirit of feeding off the still warm carcass of Big Brother, Crikey has compiled a list of controversial moments from eight years of footage of twentysomethings flirting in a spa that BB, hand in claw with the media, has managed to spin into news:

  • 2007: The ‘news’: Let’s talk about the tragedy of stillbirth. The reality: The producers of Big Brother concoct a game for the housemates that requires them to look after a baby doll, in the full knowledge that one of the housemates had a stillborn baby. The housemate breaks down, the media light up.
  • 2007: The ‘news’: Let’s talk about censorship. The reality: A housemate refers to himself as a “dense c**t.”
  • 2006: The ‘news’: let’s talk about s-xual harassment. The reality: Two housemates slap another housemate in her face with their g-nitals. ‘Turkey Slap’ is launched into popular lexicon, resulting in the eventual headline “Turkey Slap Baby Joy.”
  • 2006: The ‘news’: Let’s talk about s-x. The reality: The Prime Minister jumps on parent groups’ outrage over the airing of Uncut. ACMA launches an investigation and finds that Ten breached the code on two occasions: the airing of a housemate massaging a female housemate with his p-nis exposed, and a song about s-xual fetishes. Two censors are taken on by the network and crew are urged to bone up on the finer points of MA15+. After renaming the late night program Adults Only, the producers eventually bow to public pressure and can the weekly infrared-lit montage of housemates washing their rude bits in the shower.
  • 2005: The ‘news’: Let’s talk about homophobia. The reality: A housemate is homophobic.
  • 2004: The ‘news’: let’s talk about refugee rights. The reality: A housemate tapes his mouth shut to promote awareness of refugee rights, creating many minutes of dead air on live television. BB refuses to give him a car.
  • 2003: The ‘news’: Let’s talk about body image. The reality: A BB cameraman is overheard calling a housemate fat.
  • 2003: The ‘news’: Let’s talk about racism. The reality: A housemate tells a racist joke.

And for some misty-eyed nostalgia, please refer to Wikipedia for the sparkling CV of FHM shoots, breakfast radio van driving gigs, Neighbours guest roles, and nightclub hosting slots that have been launched from the loins of Big Brother. (Watch out for the revelation that the Logan twins (yes, that’s right, who?) became the first set of twins to trek the North Pole.)

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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