Sunday 18 September 2011

Live Feed or not? and why it is going slightly wrong.

The lack of a live feed is perhaps the most contentious issue for BB fans. But let us not lose sight that it was Channel 4 who forced the issue and took away the live feed citing quite reasonably, the cost, the extra staff and of course the legal issues in having a 24 hour feed.

I would like a live feed or live BB on TV 24-7 but it is not going to happen. Some say that there is no live feed because it leaves BB to edit how they feel. Again, I think this is true to a certain extent, but the live feed can also be manipulated equally as much as the real show, so the point is mute. However I believe there could be a live feed, but the cost per person would be quite high and therefore as a business it is not really viable for the channel in these tough economic times.

From an ex contestant point of view, I can identify with some really positive aspects of the show. The opening sequences are slick, the new contestants by and large are well cast, (give or take Harry and Alex) and the edit is fair. I think the mistake is having too many young people, as if they are trying to appeal to Daily Star (the owner of Channel 5 owns the newspaper too) viewers only. If they (5) want a show like this, then they should hire a villa in France and fill it with booze and young people and let the camera's roll.

I think 5 are trying to stamp their own identity on the show, and that is taking away from what us viewers really want. I am sure 5's hands have been tied by a greater power.

I am no producer, but I have argued before that the few ex-contestants that do have a brain should be employed by BB, because we know more than most what works and what does not with BB. Television is not always rocket science. Keep the format as is, cast people that job titles do not include models or singers, limit booze and food and have tough tasks.

BB should work and can work, but not if it is altered too dramatically to suit a certain audience, then it cannot work.

I am enjoying the series, but I believe it could be better - I am not saying I could change this overnight, but to make a difference you have to take a risk and if this means Endemol, the production company, saying to channel 5: "Sorry this is not working, we make it, you broadcast it but butt out as it is our franchise."

If indeed there are crisis meetings happening, as rumoured, then someone somewhere knows something is not right.

This is what I would do:

1) Face to face nominations
2) Endurance/24 hour tasks, or tasks that are designed to be failed then be passed. I have many ideas for this.
3) Booze and cigarettes need to earned not given
4) Cancel the oven clock to disorientate them (they don't have watches in the house)
5) Bring back the parrot or something that repeats key conversations
6) Wake them up earlier
7) Live streaming of some sort
8) No contact whatsoever with the outside world

What do you think can save the show? Do comment on this blog.



  1. If its one think i've noticed over the years, BB has become "softer". I remember times when they divided the house, put them on roundabouts till they were ill (bring back the live task!!), played tricks on housemates etc.

    Now its all about secret tasks and nothing much else (other then boring tasks).

    I completely agree with your 8th point. Seems this fundamental rule of big brother about their being no contact with the outside world has gotten slack.

    Ultimately, a live online feed, strictly back to the original rules/concept, some interesting twists and a better variety of housemates could save BB.

  2. Nick we definately need live feed. One hour of highlights late in the evening are just not enough to properly judge the house mates. I refuse to vote until some form of live streaming is introduced. I really feel that channel 5 have made a massive mistake this year by not introducing live feed.

  3. Not sure what can be done. I agree the house mates aren't the problem.

    I wish someone explained in detail the costs of running the live feed. As it's used as a excuse so much. But then in the C5 press release it stated that cost wasn't a factor in the decision.

    They've just completed an endurance task yesterday, a sort of variation on the old box task, but dressed as chickens in a coop, having to eat popcorn.
    So we got the action/result via facebook & twitter, removing all the suspense and drama out it before we've even seen the any footage. It's like seeing footie results on a biddy printer, and have to watch the match afterwards.

    Their use of twitter & facebook just hasn't been thought out.

    Starting to see think France's banning of mentioning twitter & facebook on TV is a good idea. So clueless muppets can't try to be hip and down with the kids, and fail miserably. The TV equivalent of dad dancing. Or George Lucas thinking JarJar Binks was going to be popular. The failout on LF facebook which has resulted in them restricting access to their content to registered users only, has excluded some viewers, including me.

    I've also noticed that any BB related hashtags rarely trending on twitter, even the official #bbuk doesn't seem to get enough tweets even after they started putting it in the shows. Tashie trended on Friday night, but that's been it for the last few days.

    All looking a bit dismal.

  4. Ideas from a 20yr fan from the beginning;

    1) No contact whatsoever with the outside world
    2) 24/7 live stream online (like every other country) & some overnight hours on TV.
    3) More basic editing, less music, SFX, name tags & no housemates in titles.
    4) Varied housemates; Age, nationality & sexual preference.
    5) Better tasks; Some 72hr (shifts) endurance tasks, less diary room tasks.
    6) Faceless, humourless Big Brother.
    7) Turn it back into Big Brother not TOWIE/GS.
    8) Don't focus on the "game" & bitching, let things happen naturally.
    9) Mess with their heads; unwinnable tasks, change the shopping, change the time, wake them at weird times, turn things on & off, stop the moving cameras for a couple of days & just use the static ones..?
    10) Make them really work for what they get & want to succeed.
    11) No gimmicks like Pammy, spaceship entrance & Jedward last year.
    12) Try to get a different crowd that don't boo everyone that isn't a model, talk to the house away from the crowd, don't tell or let the housemates hear how they are perceived outside.
    13) Keep it real!

  5. It is very obvious that channel 5 have taken over the original concept of BB and are trying to reinvent it and give it a new feel - by playing music over the action, having Marcus the narrator be more subjective than objective, allowing them more contact with the outside world.
    As an avid BB fan throughout the years - this "new" channel 5 BB is not what we want to see. We want the original format where the original rules, twists, tasks apply. Plying the housemates with booze is not the answer either - it's just turning the show into a boozy horny sexual tense scene - which is not exactly what we wana see on our screens. having the awkward tasks, having the priviliages and not just being allowed into the secret room - this is BB at it's best - Glyn from BB7 - his reaction when we discovered the secret room - that's BB gold - not this cringey, awkward, embarassing BB which in the end is making the viewer feel like a fool for watching it which in the end is going to turn them off BB.

  6. The boring ones usually survive to the final week. To mix things up, how about the contestants with the most nominations being immune from eviction and the safest (i.e. those with the lowest number of votes) facing the public vote?

    This means the viewers get a chance to boot-out the quite ones early on and would totally bewilder the housemates, especially as they are not allowed to discuss nominations.

    I would also stop telling the house who faces eviction. Currently, the ones who know they are safe for another week know they can relax and generally be boring, whilst the ones who face eviction try to be more entertaining. If they don't know who faces eviction, they all have to raise their game.

    The issue I have with face to face nominations, is you get a gang mentality. Once a couple of people get say, 3 votes, the others are likely to be influenced to nominate the same people.

    I hate the new editing, particularly the 'previously' clips during the main body of the show. Channel 5 are trying to manipulate the viewers more so this year than any other.

    We definitely need a live feed of some sort. Last year Dave was in my opinion, the funniest person in the house, but you probably would not know this if you only saw the main show.

    Where is the comedy factor amongst the housemates? Last year we also had Ben, Mario, John James and Josie providing the laughs.

    Channel 5 could ditch Bit On The Side to help cover the costs of a live feed. Would anyone miss it?

    Looks like Rebeckha is favourite for eviction. I love the fact that viewers are likely to vote to SAVE Heaven this week and vote AGAINST her next week.

    What reason will there be to watch BB in it's present form once Rebeckha's gone?

  7. Plenty to think about here Nick, not least your interest in being employed in some sort of advisory capacity *lol*.

    First things first. I might have expected you to be a bit more positive about Live Feed. You said in your opening paragraph that "The lack of a live feed is perhaps the most contentious issue for BB fans. But let us not lose sight that it was Channel 4 who forced the issue and took away the live feed citing quite reasonably, the cost, the extra staff and of course the legal issues in having a 24 hour feed."

    You are right. It is contentious and is also the most important issue facing the programme and the subsequent loss of the audience. As I have said before, Ch4 lost their collective nerve during and after the Shilpa Shetty incident. They took a foolish risk (of bringing in the disfunctional Jade clan) and it backfired spectacularly. After that they never took a risk and as a consequence they removed anything from Live Feed remotely interesting. (Plus they decided to keep anyhing that looked like a news story back for the main show.) Channel 4 attempted to kill Live Feed (as it had been) deliberately. They were attempting to back out of the show and did not really care about the future of BB. The cost of providing it (staff and kit) is a red herring, part of the smokescreen. We don't believe cost is the issue. If they stopped paying the people they have censoring Facebook and their own website they would have some cash left to re-employ sensible skilled people to carry out the technical and administrative aspects of the feed. (If the quality of the skills and the educational qualifications of the Facebook Channel 5 admins can be judged by the quality of their language, posting styles and decision making then they will probably be free to pursue other employment opportunities elsewhere once Facebook posting is simplified by the provision of Live Feed.)
    Legal issues can be reduced with common sense. We live in an increasingly litigious society; the risk wont go away. Again, my view is that the risk of being harassed by vulture-like lawyers is not the reason either. The real reason that we have no Live Feed is because all the young trendies on the production team took the view that Facebook was the solution to socialising BB; bringing the target audience to them in a risk free manner. Their new voting strategy relies on block Facebook voting by people who are reluctant to pick up the phone and vote. My view is that they chose the Facebook solution first and having talked themselves into believing it would work decided to drop Live Feed (and dropped the audience as well). Th truth is of course that they tapped into the articulate core within Facebook who can use all social media for their own ends, rather than have an external social media solution imposed upon them.
    No doubt Mr Ford is a bit aggrieved that we haven't gone away, while his audience has.