C4 Big Brother doc: The Reality Star that Changed Britain

Brekkie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#1
Not sure if this is out there yet via the usual sources but last night C4, the original Big Brother UK broadcaster, began a three-part documentary called Jade Goody: The Reality Star that Changed Britain.

A quick reminder that Jade was a housemate in BB3 back in 2002, one who very much divided the viewers. She was vilified in the press, but innocent enough really (she was stupid rather than mean) and finished 4th. She then went on to become a major breakout star of the show, getting her own reality shows and becoming famous enough to be invited to do Celebrity Big Brother in 2007. And then it all went wrong - she was involved in the infamous race row with Shilpa Shetty, which became so serious there was no crowd at her eviction (and the show got 50,000 complaints about it). It then took a tragic turn as she went on to the Indian version of BB (to prove she wasn't racist, and I think Shilpa was hosting it) and whilst there she found out she had cancer, and tragically she died a couple of years later.

Now I was going to give this a miss as I was never a fan of Jade and more specifically the type of "celebrity" she came to represent, but by all accounts the first episode was a major nostalgia fest, with contributions from original host Davina McCall and Little Brother host Dermot O'Leary, plus various Big Brother and C4 execs, and it being as much about the show as about Jade. I'll watch it on catch up at some point, but the show has given fans hope that perhaps C4 isn't quite done with Big Brother yet and would be open to it returning. Already it is noticeable people are overlooking the C5 era when reminising about the show - for true fans Big Brother ended when it ended on C4 back in 2010.
 
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Brekkie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#2
Can't recommend the first two episodes of this highly enough for any BBUK fans from the classic C4 era. Although framed around Jade it really is all about the show and how it created a star out of an ordinary working class girl - then how it all went wrong when she returned into Celeb BB. It's a brilliantly made documentary with really insightful contributions from Davina, Dermot and the big executive producers of the early years - and the second episode concentrating on the race row not only reminds us how big a national and international story that became in Britain, but reveals much more about the motivations behind the twist of Jade returning, the casting of that season and the big Masters and Servants twist which kind of lit the touchpaper to the rows that followed.
 

timmydownawell

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#3
It's funny because I was thinking about CBB and Leo Sayer breaking out of the house, not even realising it was the same CBB that Jade was on, and thinking I must look for that because that was so good, and then you brought up this show went and I downloaded that, completely saving me the trouble. #bizarrecoincidences #spooky
 

Kingston

Canadian Royality
#6
The tabloids are arguably worse than anyone who has appeared on the show.
In Jade's case she played right in the hands of the tabloids up to the very end. One thing I dislike about the Jade Goody story is the martyr status she's achieved and how she's portrayed as an innocent, naive little girl, who was chewed up and spit out.
 

starry

Well-Known Member
#7
In Jade's case she played right in the hands of the tabloids up to the very end. One thing I dislike about the Jade Goody story is the martyr status she's achieved and how she's portrayed as an innocent, naive little girl, who was chewed up and spit out.
I haven't looked at her as a martyr.

But I do look at Big Brother as something the tabloids picked up and jumped on to help their sales and then spat out when they thought that would generate more sales for them. CH5 buried Big Brother, but the tabloids started the decline. I thought their hypocrisy with the program was quite obvious.
 
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Kingston

Canadian Royality
#8
I haven't looked at her as a martyr.

But I do look at Big Brother as something the tabloids picked up and jumped on to help their sales and then spat out when they thought that would generate more sales for them. CH5 buried Big Brother, but the tabloids started the decline. I thought their hypocrisy with the program was quite obvious.
Jade was the perfect storm of tabloid fodder and she was just as much a part of the game as the tabloids were.
 

Kingston

Canadian Royality
#9
Also looking at the show in general up until the Race Row production were just as guilty of playing the game right along with the tabloid media... Even if coverage skewed negatively any amount of press was a licence to print money for everyone involved. Countless times production have admitted the need to push boundaries was there. So much so that after the lukewarm reception of BB4 production went out of their way to inject as much controversy in to the format as they could.

“Nasty Nick” being a perfect example of this. BB’s rating skyrocketed in the weeks after his removal. Even a character like Makosi who had a ton of negative coverage as a result of her actions in the house still went on to enjoy success on the outside. In fact aside from winning the series she was better off because of her downfall than she would have been otherwise.

So called “hypocrisy” and the divisive nature of the show is what made BB what it was. Even in latter years a certain level of negativity towards BB was more of a badge of honour than it was anything else.
 
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starry

Well-Known Member
#10
I was never into the hate industry around Big Brother, there's no doubt the producers encouraged it, whether all the HMs bought into it is another matter entirely. I was more interested in it as a social experiment, seeing how different kinds of people interacted under unusual circumstances. Some HMs annoyed me but I don't think I ever spouted abuse, I didn't feel the need to project hate from my self onto others. I thought a long time back that the experiment was as much on the audience, they got manipulated just like the HMs. Vote to evict - more hate - more votes - more money. Vote to save would have been more interesting, or at least a mix between the two as I think the AU version may have tried from what I remember. But once they had established the negative perspective it was very difficult to get the show away from that. It most likely restricted the kind of HMs who would apply or who they would want to get as well.
 

Brekkie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#11
It was very rare for any reality TV show "villian" to be much more than a "love to hate" figure and hence beyond the show they could thrive, especially as there wasn't really a reason to "hate" them anymore. The CBB race row is probably where that line was crossed as it bought underlying issues in society to the forefront, and back then thankfully it was pretty much unanimously agreed Jade and co were in the wrong, even if some were denying it was a race issue. Sadly I fear had it happened in the last couple of years she wouldn't have got the criticism she deserved the way the world seems to have sadly regressed in the last few years, ultimately landing us with proven racists and liars in positions of power.
 

Kingston

Canadian Royality
#12
I was never into the hate industry around Big Brother, there's no doubt the producers encouraged it, whether all the HMs bought into it is another matter entirely. I was more interested in it as a social experiment, seeing how different kinds of people interacted under unusual circumstances. Some HMs annoyed me but I don't think I ever spouted abuse, I didn't feel the need to project hate from my self onto others. I thought a long time back that the experiment was as much on the audience, they got manipulated just like the HMs. Vote to evict - more hate - more votes - more money. Vote to save would have been more interesting, or at least a mix between the two as I think the AU version may have tried from what I remember. But once they had established the negative perspective it was very difficult to get the show away from that. It most likely restricted the kind of HMs who would apply or who they would want to get as well.
At this point I think you're blowing things out of the water here. For as much as the show attracted so called "negativity" there was always an abundance of positivity to go along with it.

I also can't think of a single UK HM who questioned their involvement in the BB machine who wasn't successful in returning to complete obscurity after the show was over. There are also only a very select few HM's in any UK series that left the house in worse shape than when they entered.
 
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