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Big Brother housemates defend National Trust tours

5 comments - Posted on September 27 2013 at 05:47pm

Dexter Koh - National Trust Big Brother house tour

Former Big Brother stars have backed the National Trust’s public tours of the show’s house, with 2013 housemate Jackie Travers describing it as ‘part of our culture’.

The conservation charity – which says it ‘works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces’ – had been attacked for its decision to associate itself with the Channel 5 reality show.

One of the most vocal detractors was former Conservative MP Anne Widdecombe, who told BBC Radio 4: “I do think something has to stand the test of time before you can seriously call it heritage. I don’t think it needs to be tawdry and celebrity-obsessed.”

Current Tory MP for Shewsbury Daniel Kawczynski was harsher still, describing the move as ‘hare-brained’, ‘puerile’ and ‘irrelevant’.

However, contestants from this summer’s series were quick to rubbish the criticisms during a debate at last night’s gala party celebrating the opening of the house, which is located at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire.

Travers, the fourth person to be evicted from the show, commented: “Big Brother is part of our national heritage and it’s part of us as well. Why not involve this in the National Trust?

“It is part of our culture now and lots of young people have actually grown up with Big Brother, so this may not be the stately home in the traditional sense, but certainly it is a national treasure.”

> Click here to see our exclusive photos of the Big Brother house

Dexter Koh, who finished as the runner-up in the grand final, said: “I personally think it’s a good idea, because like it or not I think the youth of today is brought up on social media and reality TV.

“But not only do they watch us doing crazy stuff and getting drunk, they also listen to our problems and our lives. If we can teach something and change opinions, then we’re doing good as well. Reality TV isn’t just about entertainment, it’s about doing good for society.”

Ivo Dawnay, the National Trust chief who came up with the idea for the tours, added: “My theory is that it’s about tolerance as well. We’ve seen so many different people of all different sort of backgrounds coming through the house. It has shown the nation, in a way, a mirror of itself.

“We deliberately invited a couple of people here who were massively opposed to this, because I’m always keen to get the Daily Mail very very cross, but unfortunately they failed to show.”

The scheme is part of ‘The London Project’, a new department created by the Trust to provoke discussions about heritage and attract younger audiences.

Only 500 places were available on the tours, with fans snapping up all of the tickets within hours of them going on sale.

Browse pictures of the ex-Big Brother housemates at the National Trust house tour launch party:



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5 comments on this article

  1. Brekkie says:
    Fri 27 Sep Reply !

    Really is the BB no-stars. Never though I’d agree with Anne Widdecombe on anything but as much as I’ve loved BB over the years I agree that a visit to an annually changing TV set isn’t something they should be doing – though have no objection to the house being opened up to the public.

  2. gillpaget says:
    Sat 28 Sep Reply !

    BB Realty show is good to see where so many people live together.IT also helps us to understand more about others A lot of good has come from BB.

  3. Wally ! says:
    Sat 28 Sep Reply !

    It used to be good! But Gill a great deal of Bad has also come from this show for E/G Jade Goodies Racist rants, bullying, Intimidation & Discrimination is Still rife, & lets not even mention the manipulation by the producers Including plying the HM with alcohol? :down: :shock:

  4. Sam says:
    Sun 29 Sep Reply !

    Coming from the Anne Widdecombe who appeared on the celebrity entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing, eh

  5. Sam says:
    Sun 29 Sep Reply !

    I just thing the whole stereotype that BB creates a whole ‘famous for doing nothing’ culture and is all about being celebrity obsessed is ridiculous. People don’t just get famous for appearing on Big Brother anymore. That’s not what it’s about, imo.


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