Last week BBBA veteran Goon asked members for their questions for Big Brother’s executive producer Alex Mavroidakis – and over the last couple of days he has answered them. Here are the answers to the first batch of questions:
Kingston: WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK ON BIG BROTHER?
Alex: Because it is the best show in the world. It is as raw and as honest as reality TV gets. We will never ask a Housemate to repeat a grab because they fluffed their lines, we will never ask a Housemate to stand slightly to their left so we can get a better shot, we will never tell a Housemate to change their clothes so they look better. Unlike other reality shows that have months in post production, Big Brother is a relentless machine that never stops until the last Housemate leaves. We live it, breathe it and love it.
Big Brother has the power of authenticity – we can watch Home and Away or Neighbours and there can be a death, or a birth or major stunt – but it is not real and the audience knows it. On Big Brother we could see something as ridiculous as a fight over a missing chocolate bar but the tears are real, the drama is real – the people are real.
Goon: HAVE YOU WORKED ON OTHER REALITY TV PROGRAMS
Alex: I have worked on The X-Factor, The Amazing Race, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here and The Apprentice to name but a few and none of them come close to Big Brother. It’s the original and the best.
hoopz: DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM INTERNATIONAL VERSIONS OF BIG BROTHER?
Alex: Of course, Big Brother is a global format. Every November I travel to Amsterdam for the Big Brother Exchange at the Endemol head offices. Every EP from every Big Brother around the world attends. We sit around a massive table with our little country flags in front of us (just like the United Nations!) and take turns to show video presentations of our most recent series. We discuss tasks that worked, twists and stunts, ratings and casting. Every Big Brother uses content dreamt up by other territories – it is always a buzz when an Australian concept gets used overseas and that seems to happen a lot! I remember last year Slovenian Big Brother recreated Friday Night Live almost game by game – it was so bizarre to watch all these Slovenians running around in costumes that we designed and competing in games that were born in Coomera! Last year I had the great honour of presenting first due to the resounding success of our ‘secrets’ concept – I expect several territories will use it in 2013.
timmydownawell: DO YOU HAVE A CLUE TO THE BASIC PREMISE OF THE SHOW
Alex: I’d like to think so. Depending on what circles you move in the answers will be different. For academics it’s about the aestheticisation of everyday life; a microchosm of humanity where people from all walks of life try their darndest to get along. For purists, it’s about the coveted show that entranced and captivated a country from day dot. For some mums. its about the fact they got to watch Uplate while nursing their kids back to sleep. For the casual fan, its a laugh. For me, its about the fact that the most surprising, funny and brilliant moments of TV are made by people just like you and me. Plus when we get it right it’s a lot of fun.
tw2g: GETTING CANCELLED AFTER 8 YEARS – DID YOU SEE IT COMING?
Alex: Its funny because in hindsight yes I did – but at the time it was still a big shock. The audience were fatigued – Big Brother is a massive viewing commitment and 8 years was long enough. It needed a break.
Successfully relaunching the series on Nine was an enormous challenge but one that the team met and for me it goes down as a career highlight.
Many thanks to Goon and Alex for making this happen, and also to all the members who posted questions. Check out Behind Big Brother later this week for more as Alex answers questions on his favourite series, the live feed and more.