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Home > Media

The Big Big Brother Phone Vote Con: Boo Fucking Hoo

11 August 2006

What more innocent pleasure is there in life than building up a good head of hate for some berk you've never met, then spending a tenner or so voting and re-voting for them to be booted out of the Big Brother house? Whereupon they'll vanish completely from what you laughingly refer to as your 'consciousness' (although you're sure there's a 'science' bit in there somewhere... 'sinescence'? 'Saucisson'? Whatever), because that's what you *paid* for with the money you earned picking your teeth at Superdrug. It's not like the housemates' tweezered removal, like the expunging of a tick swollen with the sucked blood of public attention, will give way to 100% ubiquity in all papers and across all media for the next two weeks, longer if they get a woeful television show of their very own. Nah - because this is Britain, you hear? And we play *fair*. You only have to look at the totally just and decent treatment meted out to the BB inmates by increasingly sadistic and power-mad producers to know that.

Alas, it seems it ain't so. In a dazzling feat of Machiavellian telly-twistage/an increasingly desperate attempt to keep slack-jawed viewers interested and/or riled (delete as applicable), 'Big Brother' has given agog viewers the chance to vote some of the bastards we hoped we'd never hear of again back into the house. This, far from being a nifty move, actually ruins any shred of dramatic tension that was previously engendered. It's like 'The X Files' carrying on after Mulder and Scully have snogged, only five hundred times more crap.

But it's certainly whipped up publicity, which is the DNA of 'Big Brother', its cells and its nasty toenails and spit. The trouble is that the idea may actually have backfired. Apparently Channel 4 may be obliged to refund the squalling fools - 2,700 of whom have complained - for their squandered phone vote money. The complaints are vociferous, most featuring the phrase 'we paid *good money* for this', in order to differentiate the legitimate funds used from the ones raised through selling drugs. Regulators are looking into whether or not it was inexcusably dodgy to exhort people to pay to vote housemates out forever, and subsequently allow them to be voted back in. If they decide that it is, the channel might have to refund 3 million or so. The Sun, champion of the little guy and the spoilt brat, has got up a petition, to go with its petition about not hanging dogs from trees, and about bringing one cute photogenic limbless/eyeless child back from a war zone, because that's almost as good as helping the other few thousand who aren't quite so cute. God bless them.

Firstly, if we may calmly address the complainants - not only is there a war on, there are about fifty fucking wars on, you mewling cretins. Get some perspective. Secondly, on what would you have spent that money you willingly and gladly and knowingly frittered away? Oven chips? Hair putty? A ringtone designed by NASA to instantly pulverise the frontal lobes of any unfortunate passer-by with its sheer nuclear-strength irritatingness? Thirdly, did you try and get a refund for the emotional investment you made in the new 'Star Wars' trilogy? Are you that easily upset? And have you ever quibbled over the thousand ways you are genuinely ripped off every day, by banks and service providers and your scrounging mates who never buy a round? Fourthly, does it even occur to you that the charities Shelter and the Teenage Cancer Trust were getting 10p from every normal vote, and so if you whine and pule about getting your money back, and the craven idiots in charge of refunds cave in and refund you, you are essentially doing your bit to whip the duvet from a shivering homeless person and yank the IV from a 14-year-old leukaemia sufferer? Well?

Oh and fifthly - what did you *expect*? 'Big Brother' has been running for several years, has snowballed into a summer-long beast with ever-higher stakes, and needs to employ increasingly drastic measures to keep twots like you engrossed. You're put out that the twist 'is on the viewers when it should be on the housemates', but if you couldn't tell that this has ever been the case, and that the viewers are mere speckles of bug poop on the less important side of the screen, then you shouldn't be allowed to even own a television in case you try to eat it.

You should be pleased they didn't take your dosh and use it to give all the housemates plastic surgery, so you can't even tell which bandaged, groaning nonentity you're voting out of the hospital. You should be grateful you've even got the money to waste. We should be demanding money from *you* for buying into the whole racket, and thus ensuring Channel 4 is unwatchable every evening until September, and that the osprey-shrieks of Nikki and the gumball-mouthed-mumbles of Glyn ring in our ears when we're trying to sleep.

Not long now. Not long. It's going to be OK. There will once more be documentaries, and films, and new drama, and surreal comedy. And one day even 'The Friday Night Project' will die alone in its seedy bed, like something out of 'Seven' only with stupider hair and fewer laughs. We're going to get through this. It's OK. It's OK.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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