Big Brother ten ends tonight, another summer of excellent telly over. This year’s show has been one of the most interesting for some time, a subtle ebb and flow of win and fail muddying the waters and making it impossible to call a winner until the very last minute. It has also – despite their having been around 18 housemates overall – felt small, intimate, with a fixed “cast” which dwindled down to the final five in a soapy, satisfying narrative unafraid to shamelessly play with the emotions of the viewer (usually, to be fair, anger, hatred, pity and more anger). Early favourites were exposed as trivial annoyances, those who made a bad first impression have emerged as front runners and for the longest time there seemed to be a distinct possibility that the winner could be a man who looked like a flabby Wolverine and did nothing all day but swear and masturbate, ensconced in a duvet.
For a show fighting for an audience – indeed for its very survival on the channel of its birth, a fight it lost before it even aired – it has been very low-key and lacked the OTT attention-grabbing antics of earlier series. If anything, it was closest to perhaps the second series; after the show had found its feet in series one, it was building to the twat-a-rama of the later seasons while still new and shaky enough to feel fresh and innovative, populated with housemates with more idea what to expect than their predecessors but still defining what it is to be a Big Brother contestant.
This time, of course, everyone knew the score. Some much better than others, of course, but all eyes were open. So it became a battle of wills between the participants and organisers, a redefinition of the rules of engagement was in process. The freakshows were being done away with, replaced by almost a new format. Rules were bent, broken and abandoned. Nominations discussed openly, with permission, and frequently didn’t happen. Housemates left the house on day trips. Written communication with the outside world (in the form of Tweets) occurred. There was a massed breakout into the camera runs. The authority of Big Brother was questioned, disputed and ignored. It was a different show. A new show.
And next year, it’s over. Our loss.