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Image copyright: see contents page of each issue. All other material © Visual Imagination Ltd 1998 - 2002
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Feature: Big Brother 3

Too Hot for Television

Watching you…

From Nasty Nick to Mingin’ Jade, we look back at the popular show’s best bits as we prepare for the third uncut Big Brother adventures to hit DVD…

Is DVD the only way to find out the real truth about our favourite films and TV shows? Certainly, the behind-the-scenes Features, Commentaries and Interviews give us a better idea of how the final product was achieved (and what was lost along the way), but few DVDs reveal as many new insights and perspectives as the Big Brother Uncut releases.

For the ardent BB fan, there is nothing quite so frustrating as reading about the drunken, debauched antics of the house-mates in one of the tabloids, then tuning in at 10pm to find all the salacious stuff isn’t being shown. Or, even worse, watching one of those late night live broadcasts and being periodically treated to a silent five-minute view from the chicken coop for ‘legal reasons’. We may be watching Big Brother, but an Orwellian ‘big brother’, in the guise of Channel 4 producers, is also deciding what we should and shouldn’t see and hear.

For those determined to devote every waking moment of their lives to the show, Channel Four’s own little brother, E4, offered live around-the-clock coverage, a first for British television, albeit with some pre-watershed regulations enforced. For now at least, what makes the Big Brother DVD releases more enjoyable than the broadcast and web-site versions? Well, besides the ‘adult content’, the compilation overcomes one of the basic problems of reality TV, it’s not scripted. Hours can go by where nothing of interest occurs – some would suggest that applies to the series as a whole – and it can be frustrating to sit through a whole day’s events and the highlight is someone burning the dinner, or forgetting to buy enough toilet rolls, or setting a world record for the world’s tallest sugar cube tower – which actually happened in series two! Still, it’s more compelling than anything that’s happened this year in EastEnders.

To be honest, the first Big Brother was, by and large, pretty dull except for one week. That week, of course, was the uncovering of Nick’s dastardly plan to subliminally influence voting by waving names on a bit of paper in front of selected house-mates faces. As Craig and co confronted Mr Nasty, the live webcast became the most watched on-line event in British history, but those watching on TV alone were shown a small part of the bigger picture. Thankfully, when it hit DVD, the 90-minute main feature has devoted a third of its running time to the machinations of Nick and his fateful unmasking and shameful banishment. Now, small comments and mannerisms that seemed meaningless before, could be appreciated in all their surreal glory.

by Jason Caro

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© Big Brother
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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Ultimate DVD #34B
October (Big Brother) 2002
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