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Can BBUK learn anything from Aussie BB?

16 June 2008

Posted by Brekkie

We’ve often posted here about how great BBUK is and how crap BB Australia is – and generally speaking in the last few years that’s been quite true, but there are still a few things where BBUK could benefit from their Australian counterpart.

Production wise in terms of the experience the housemates, and therefore the viewers, get has been far superior in BBUK, with better tasks, better twists and better housemates – with each year offering something different, rather than a carbon copy of the previous years.

However, when it comes to how the show is packaged there are things where BBUK could learn alot from BB Australia.

BUILDING THE HYPE

Beginning at the beginning, this years pre-season promo campaign was outstanding for BB Aus and really served it’s purpose in getting viewers interested in the show, and also indicating that there were changes in store for the new season. Meanwhile BBUK stuck to the standard format it has used for a few years – flashes of the new logo, “countdown” ads and the house ad – which only served to tell people Big Brother was back, but didn’t give any reason to watch, especially to those who deserted the show last year. The result – the lowest rated launch show since the live launches began in BB3.

Similarly promotion wise at the end of both the launch show, and especially the first eviction, the viewers were given very little reason to keep watching. We needed to be enticed with teasers of some changes to the rules or new tasks coming up – the promise of a wedding was not enough.

However, no hype means no let down. We all know how often BB Aus fails to deliver what it’s promised – with tonight’s big prize reveal being the latest example.

STOP TALKING!!!

Secondly the daily shows – as annoying as Mike Goldman is, at least he keeps it short and sweet. Marcus Bentley always seems to say 100 words when 10 will do, with his most annoying observation being that “all of the housemates are in the house”. Never – thank you for informing us none of them have popped down to the shops or out to the pub!

Worst of all though is how it’s assumed BBUK viewers have no memories, with long winded recaps of key events narrated to us by Marcus often two or three times in an episode, where either a “Previously…” segment at the beginning or just the basic assumption that viewers remember what happened yesterday would be much better.

Generally though of course our shows benefit from the longer running length – and especially the later time slot, meaning we’re not seeing a censored family friendly version of the housemates.

YOU ARE LIVE ON CHANNEL 4

Finally let’s talk about the live shows. With the launch show there are strong similarities between the both, but Davina’s house tour and the simple format of HM VT, walk through the crowd and straight into the house works much better in the UK. However, where BBUK really lets itself down is the evictions.

For the first four series the eviction shows really stood out as the highlight of the week, with a good balance of pre-eviction features including nominee profiles and chats with friends and family before Davina announced the result from the studio, with the very effective one minute walk from the studio to the house, which visually worked very well.

In BB5 they decided that the crowd outside deserved more of a show, so Davina moved out, the pre-eviction features were axed and the show basically became a standard highlights show with the eviction tagged on at the end. For the first time the house could hear the crowd when Davina linked to the house, and how they reacted to each nominee. In later years chants of “Get XXXX Out” became common place on eviction night too.

Although Big Brother soon realised that interviews with the evictee couldn’t be conducted effectively amongst the crowd, they stuck with Davina hosting outside and linking to the house amongst the baying crowd – until now. In what is pretty obviously a last minute decision, Davina is linking to the house from the silence of the studio again, which has widely been welcomed by viewers, but she still hosts the rest of the show outside.

This has only really highlighted how poorly produced our eviction shows have become lately – with the transfer from outdoors to studio being particularly messy. Unlike BB1-4, it’s obvious the studio isn’t designed with this in mind, but since BB5 the link to the studio hasn’t been there – and the show suffers for it.

Although BB Australia’s set up isn’t ideal, especially now with the cut from HM revolving out of the house to revolving out on stage, at least it still stands out as the eviction show. We don’t need an hour of highlights on eviction night – and sacrificing just 5-10 minutes for some simple features profiling the nominees and talking to friends and family really would make all the difference, along with designing the studio with a link to the outdoor crowd in mind, and then BBUK evictions really would be back at the top of their game.

BUT…

All that said though, so far Big Brother 9 in the UK seems to be heading in the right direction. IMO we’ve had the best first week since BB6 – the housemates and tasks so far are certainly more interesting than anything we had last year and in just a week it’s provided much more entertaining viewing than the last two months of BB08.

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