A Spotlight On… Reality TV…

(A uni piece – Slightly different angle from my usual writing. )

We are currently living in a world where reality TV dominates our conversations, our press and our of course our televisions. But the question is, does reality TV actually reflect reality? Are the contestants of Big Brother or The X Factor a true representation of British society?   

 The first night of the 2010 Big Brother series attracted an audience of 5.9 million. The opening X Factor show reached a peak of 11.7 million viewers. These so-called reality television programmes clearly have the viewers hooked to their screens. This leads me to wonder why- surely if such shows presented real life and nothing more then we could just watch our Nan making a cup of tea or our friend reading a book.

 The truth is that we don’t and the reason is that it would be boring. Hence reality TV shows more than just real life. This television phenomenon showcases extreme personalities in a hyper-controlled environment. Characters like Big Brother 7’s Niki (AKA who is she) or The X Factor’s Jedward have used such shows as a springboard for fame based upon their intense personalities.

 Taking a closer look at The X Factor, after the four month process competitors emerge as ready-made stars. Their talent and personality are shaped to create the perfect Pop star and win the number one Christmas single. Most real musicians, however, spend years of their lives struggling for a big-break.

 Big Brother, similarly, shows an intensified and edited view of reality. In 2007 contestant Jade Goody was accused of racism and bullying. This lead to thousands of complaints and added control by Big Brother. Surely these are real issues in society, but yet they are removed from what is apparently ‘reality’ television.  

 After a quick look at reality TV it seems that maybe the producers should consider re-thinking the word ‘reality’.  


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