Tag Archives: big

Played in Chelsea

How real is reality TV? Dom Kureen takes a look at how the lines have become blurred since Endemol brought Big Brother kicking and screaming to UK screens at the turn of the Millenium.


‘Nasty’ Nick Bateman and a hastily assembled jury perched themselves around a table in the Big Brother  house late in the summer of 2000 (YouTube link here.)

The conniving housemate’s best laid plans and schemes had finally unravelled on day 35 of the series, when chief bloodhound (and eventual winner) Craig Phillips tracked the scent that had caused millions of viewers to jab their television screens and scream vicious curse words into thin air for more than a month.

At the time it seemed to matter, with loveable Scouser Craig the perfect foil for dastardly crater-faced villain Nick.

The sense of injustice was raw and authentic, the fact that until then those living at close quarters were unable to recognise the deviant’s mischievous antics only added to the ongoing nationwide exasperation. Tabloids stirred the pot, calling for Bateman to be deported and naming him ‘the most hated man in Britain.’


Not a convicted paedophile, a rapist, a murderer, a psychotic vigilante selling Crack-Cocaine to school children – The most hated man in Britain according to the dirt sheets was a 32 year-old dimwit who’d snuck a pen and a few scraps of paper past Channel Four security.

Josie, winner of BB11, she didn't look like this in the house.
Josie, winner of BB11, she didn’t look like this in the house.

Looking at it now, Nick’s indiscretions wouldn’t even generate a ripple among the needy, ravenous whoring of his reality show contemporaries, who play to cameras like neglected toddlers seeking the recognition of strangers.

What was once a genre grounded in the factual has evolved into a scripted sermon of soap opera rhetoric, aimed at advertising products and getting Twitter trends by promoting the interaction of idiots.

Modification became a necessity, people growing weary of 24-hour feeds dominated by snoozing, mastication and mundane jibber-jabber.

Even the juicy bits were rendered irrelevant by time-delay and on the spot editing, ensuring they were reserved as flesh for the next highlight reel.

Success inevitably spawns imitation. Just as Big Brother and The Real World blazed a trail for Celebrity Love Island and I’m A Celebrity, so The Osbournes unlocked the door for the curiously watchable Hogan Knows Best and worthless What Katie Did Next, the latter of which consisted almost exclusively of the obscenely-norked Katie Price berating her humbled hubby, Peter Andre, whose subdued emasculation led to universal sympathy and an even worse spin-off.

Katie Price: Vacuous TV show bombed after initially promising ratings.
Katie Price: Vacuous TV show bombed after initially promising ratings.

It came full circle at the end of the ‘noughties’, with the rise of exclusively scripted (un)reality TV, where scenes are set up solely for the satiation of a wide-eyed audience.

This all brings us nicely to Made In Chelsea; undoubtedly entertaining in a perverse, barely credible way. A make believe universe revolving around equal parts bitching, fucking, cocktails and cock tales.

The Hello magazine of the small screen, Spencer Matthews and co. proudly parade around South West London, their tail feathers gleaming, with not a hint of tangible hardship or hair out of place within the confines of a painstakingly conceived goldfish bowl.

The appeal lies in the voyeuristic observation of the jet-set lifestyles enjoyed by a gaggle of coiffured rich kids, playing with daddy and mummy’s fortunes, heirs to corporations who share body fluids and Jacuzzis in a state of perpetual down time.

It’s fun, but reality?? The veneers that adorn the collective cast’s faces are less phoney than the narratives that play out, act by act, for the consumption of long distance rubberneckers.

Even so, SW3’s brand of entertainment is indisputably several notches above the brainless ‘Real Housewives of…’ franchise and retains a modicum of value courtesy of engaging caricatures and slick presentation.

The continued saturation of the reality genre necessitates an amplification of salacious, unfeasible concepts to provide shock value, the lifeblood of these productions for over a decade now.

A childish public school graduate scribbling names onto scrunched up A5 crescents torn from a notepad no longer gratifies the lust of devotees, numbed by years of smut, hyperbole and recurring adaptations of good Vs evil.

Hulk Hogan: A good guy in WWF, bad guy in WCW... An entertaining wally in 'Hogan Knows Best.'
Hulk Hogan: A good guy in WWF, bad guy in WCW… An entertaining wally in ‘Hogan Knows Best.’

In 2016 reality TV is a three dimensional comic book, ideal for pickling the psyche and providing aesthetically captivating colour schemes. For Gotham, Keystone and Metropolis read Chelsea, Essex and, until recently, the Jersey shore.

How much further can the envelope be nudged? Only time will tell. For the next clutch of fame-hungry wannabes and gluttonous fans nothing seems taboo.

Prepare not to be shocked… in the most shocking way possible.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Celebrity Big Brother 2015: The year of the fame whore

Potato-faced American gossip blogger Perez Hilton dances in front of a camera, adorned in hot pants rapidly getting eating by the crack of his posterior, whilst provocatively rubbing his nipples as if he’s performing some kind of depraved mating dance for the viewers at home.

Perez Hilton

Katie Hopkins can barely mask her disdain (neither does she attempt to), displaying an impressive array of candid expressions, as others giggle, tut, sigh and have ostensible breakdowns in perfect symphony, like toddlers seeking constant attention and validation.

This is Celebrity Big Brother UK 2015, and the producers have somehow managed to increase the already excruciating levels of disgusting their previous editions revelled in.

While Hilton can be described as a self-aggrandizing bore who is merrily cast as a pantomime villain, the likes of Patsy Kensit and Keith Chegwin have attempted to steer clear of the eye of the storm, usually found snoozing the day away in between reluctant task participation and lethargically trotted out rhetoric.

Cami Li

The fans outside the studio boo and hiss, chanting obscenities and urging Bruv to “get Perez/Nadia/Patsy out.”

A combustible group of house mates have been deliberately thrown together for the sake of good television, and while there is some amusement in certain scenes, it soon becomes a tad overbearing, with Hilton’s shrill voice about as appealing as someone strangling a cat whilst simultaneously running its claws down a chalk board… or listening a Kerry Katona track… or sharing oxygen with Kerry Katona.

It’s not all bad news though, Katie Hopkins appears to have turned the tide, with her biting honesty and lust for confrontation a rare treat that’s flipped boos to cheers in the space of a few weeks.

Puerto Rican model Cami Li also has her moments, with her in your face vernacular, effortless put downs and gargantuan mammaries an imposing combination for her rivals.

For the likes of Kavana (a singer apparently) this might have seemed like an opportunity to reignite a moribund career, instead he has been this season’s vanilla, bringing little to the table other than an alcohol-fuelled rant against poor old Cheggers.

Callum Best has provided a bit of eye candy for female viewers and comes across as an affable enough chap, albeit with a thimble full of his more famous father George’s charisma.

Who will benefit in the aftermath?

Katie Hopkins has shown some cutting, dry humour and the audience have taken to her brutal honesty, she was desperate for fame, and will probably find herself promoted from D-List to C-List after the show.

Michelle Visage has purportedly blazed a trail for gay people across the globe (hasn’t the same trail been blazed already?) She’s come across as a strong-willed and honest individual in the process, earning plaudits from the show’s viewers along the way.

Cami Li has gone from being that bloke from The Only Way Is Essex‘s other half, to a potential bona fide star in her own right, she’ll have plenty of magazine/tabloid offers when she leaves the house.

Perez Hilton, loathe him or loathe him a little less, he has made an impact on the UK audience and spread awareness of his brand. Very much an advocate the ‘any publicity is good publicity’ ethos.

Keith Chegwin

The rest? No great shakes among them, with a couple of slippery fingered fellas kicked to the curb in the first few days; one for sexist remarks, the other for pulling a woman’s boobs out of her dressing gown.

A bizarre, fruity and somewhat addictive show, any one of these lunatics could be crowned champion. Hopkins would complete a full circle turn if she gained acceptance from a large section of the British public, but she’s bound to have a slip of the tongue at some point during the final week, and alienate northerners, people named Gary, or whoever she takes a dislike to next.

And what of the series’ most notable name, Katie Price? For those who say she isn’t air head: she’s an airhead on this evidence. In the spirit of a vulgar series and the words of David Brent from ‘The Office’: “Just a (£22m) pair of tits.”

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.