Big Brother 2016 in review: New Year’s Resolutions for the show

2 comments - Posted on December 31 2016 at 04:29pm

Big Brother 2017

A New Year means Resolutions, but what does Big Brother need to fix in 2017? Here are six of the biggest problems – including break-outs, punishments and promises…

Over the past week we’ve been looking back on the past year in Big Brother: we revealed our five most read articles, and tried to end it on a positive note by counting down our top ten highlights.

But you probably knew a rant was brewing, and now the New Year fireworks have fizzled out, it’s time to review some of 2016’s most talked-about issues.

Here are six New Year’s Resolutions the powers that be should be making to improve Big Brother in the months ahead…

Big Brother 2016 - The Other House living area

1. Make better use of the Other house…

We’ve mentioned how thrilled we were that an extension was added to the Big Brother house at Elstree Studios. What wasn’t so thrilling was how it was wasted.

Said extension became a second house intended for the ‘Others’ twist during last summer’s ‘civilian’ series. Unfortunately, that twist wasn’t as good as it could have been: there was no clear structure or format to it, and then it was completely ruined by the housemates (more on that in a moment).

Once the cover was blown, the Others moved in to the main abode, and their old home became little more than a glorified task space.

It’s extremely likely that the extension will be used as a second house again this year, so the producers need to ensure its purpose is well thought out. (It’s much more than just a secret bedsit.)

And it’s probably best to avoid using the extension as a task area – the more housemates are aware of it, the more wary they’ll become of what’s going on in it. (Unless, of course, they’re going to start doing huge-scale, arena-like tasks in the style of BBUSA.)

Big Brother 2016 - Emma and Victoria break out of the house
Victoria finds out about the Other house after breaking out

2. …and don’t let the housemates break out

Housemates breaking out to the camera runs has become a major problem over the past year, and Big Brother needs to put a stop to it.

Remember how the Others twist was ruined? That happened when a few rebels broke through a fire exit and discovered Alex Cannon and Jackson Blyton, who had supposedly been evicted, living in the Other house.

Letting housemates run amok may allow for a few brief moments of drama in a highlights show, but the novelty has long worn off, it affects the reality in the house, and it’s now compromising Big Brother’s top-secret plans.

Ideally the producers would eject culprits on the spot, but they at least need to stick with the precedent they set this year. Emma Jensen was warned the first time she broke out, and the second time she was removed; this rule should be applied to future civilian AND celebrity housemates.

Celebrity Big Brother summer 2016 - Stephen Bear hurls an object across the garden and smashes a mirror

3. Be more even-handed with punishments

Come to think of it, punishments in general need a bit of a rethink.

During the last Celebrity series in August, there was a distinct feeling among many viewers that Big Brother didn’t come down as harshly on some housemates as he did on others.

While Aubrey O’Day got a final warning for spitting in Bear’s food, Bear only got a formal warning for smashing a mirror – and we don’t know whether Marnie Simpson was ever told off for flashing her boobs in Saira Khan’s face.

Later, the Daily Star even alleged that Bear received four formal warnings that were never broadcast. While Channel 5 has never confirmed the newspaper’s report, it did admit in a statement in 2014 (the year of Helen Wood) that not all warnings “are included in the material broadcast”.

Really, no housemate should be allowed more than three warnings before they’re shown the door.

Big Brother 2016 - brand new live show set

4. Extend the normal Big Brother

Seriously, Channel 5? Your best ‘civilian’ Big Brother in three years and it’s the shortest series ever? Nuh-uh, not on. Please put it back up to the minimum of nine weeks (64 days).

Yes, when the show’s bad you might want it to be shorter, but it’s still better than People On Benefits Make You Laugh Out Loud or Nightmare Cats Next Door or whatever you’d put on in its place.

The thing is, when it’s good, seven weeks isn’t long enough. You gave 10,000 BC a second run, so there’s no reason why Big Brother should be cut short!

Big Brother 2016 live launch show - Emma and Victoria Jensen
Emma and Victoria Jensen, Big Brother’s most recent duo

5. Don’t screw up the (potential) pairs twist

Public auditions for the next Big Brother recently opened, but with a twist. There were a few groans when it was revealed this time, wannabes must apply in pairs.

It has been stressed that pairs may be split up later – but if you’re jumping to conclusions, the obvious one is that the 18th series will feature only joint housemates (two people competing as one).

BBUK would be far from the first Big Brother to do this: Australia, South Africa and India are just some of the versions that have paired off contestants for twists.

Unfortunately, these schemes are usually more miss than hit – it’s awkward when viewers love one member of a duo and the other doesn’t prove as popular.

If UK bosses are adopting the pairs twist, they should think carefully about whether they can do it differently.

Big Brother 2016 - the game is changing trailer

6. Don’t make promises you can’t keep

One of the most annoying things about Big Brother is when it makes huge promises it can’t keep, and last year BBUK had one of its biggest let-downs ever.

Channel 5 insisted 2016’s ‘civilian’ run would be “very different”. Rylan called it a “brand new” show, and Emma Willis said on launch night: “This series we’re starting all over again. We have the biggest shake up in Big Brother history.”

A lot of fans were sceptical, but most were willing to give to give bosses a chance – especially after they put their money where their mouths were by investing in the Elstree overhaul.

Sadly, the sceptical ones were proven right. Although the cast of housemates made last year’s series excellent, in terms of production it was business as usual.

Big Brother 2016 launch show - Emma Willis introduces the others

The promise that “the game is changing” failed to materialise; there were no permanent changes to the nominations format, and its biggest problems went pretty much unsolved.

While there was a much-appreciated increase in normal Diary Room nominations, the process is still subject to a few too many twists. There also remains no solid, clearly defined criteria to decide who faces eviction (in the Channel 4 days, it was the two or more housemates with the most nominations).

Big Brother is now the ‘boy that cried wolf’ of UK reality shows: we can’t think of any other that promises so much and delivers so little. If the producers are going to keep doing things their way without listening to any of the feedback they get, they could at least do fans the courtesy of not falsely raising their hopes.

  • Now it’s time to focus on the new Celebrity series – we’re rather excited to find out which All Stars are going back in, especially after seeing the epic new house! The launch airs tomorrow at 9pm on Channel 5 and 3e, and we’ll be covering it with live updates. Stay tuned to bbspy over the coming weeks to keep up to date with the action!

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2 comments on this article

  1. Brekkie says:
    Mon 02 Jan Reply !

    I suspect when C5 took over their aim was to make a Big Brother that would make long term fans forget about the live feed.

    So they made it so bad it now doesn’t even get into the top six problems about the show.

  2. mr.blobby says:
    Mon 02 Jan Reply !

    yeah but Helen Wood was a special case, memba? :down:

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