Welcome to iVillage.co.uk! or Join our Community

Want more iVillage? Sign up for our NEWSLETTERS
iVillage logo

The legacy of Big Brother

17 July 2001

Death threats, doomed relationships, divorce… As we fall under the spell of the next series of Big Brother, James Moore examines the legacy of the show so far

When celebrity drama queens Vanessa Feltz and Anthea Turner got over-emotional on the set of the first Celebrity Big Brother no one was too amazed. But when a man held a knife to the throat of another housemate on the US version things were certainly getting out of hand.Out in the 'real' world, many of us find trying to get to work or doing the shopping a trying enough experience. So it's no surprise that being monitored 24 hours a day while trapped in a house with a bunch of strangers can have dramatic and sometimes disastrous results.

There is increasing evidence that many of the housemates – both here and in the other versions of the hit format around the globe – have struggled to cope with the pressures of reality TV. In the American version of the show, bartender Justin was thrown out for holding a knife to a fellow contestant’s neck, saying: ‘I'm going to slash your throat.’ And while no housemate has yet gone as far as a Swedish contestant on Survivor – who committed suicide after leaving the show – Big Brother has been blamed for break-ups and bizarre behaviour all over the world.

In Portugal one couple infuriated MPs and the Catholic Church by having sex on air (they married shortly after) while in Denmark three participants walked out overnight in a huff. In the Australian Big Brother even housedog Ebony had to be removed by programme bosses after becoming withdrawn and depressed.Here in Britain, BB2’s Brian smashed crockery to relieve his frustration, Josh suffered from insomnia caused by the worry of being booted out while Paul was so worn down by the pressure of constant eviction he even saw UFOs flying over the house. And who can forget Vanessa's very public tears on Celebrity Big Brother?

read more: