TV: Big Brother 11 Launch Night / Channel 4

Posted on June 9, 2010

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I don’t pretend to understand how the Endemol UK empire is built. Every time an Endemol programme is aired there seems to be another division pop up. I can’t keep up.

That’s not a criticism by the way. The latest Endemol baby I’ve become aware of is Remarkable Television.

The final credit on the end slate on Channel 4‘s often-troubled ratings winner seems appropriate. Remarkable TV appear to have pulled out all the stops. In comparison to past launch nights of the marathon entertainment series, Big Brother 11 bristled.

Aside from a momentary lapse of concentration on the part of the sound man when housemate Corin tottered down the final runway (the VT sound was drowned out by the sound mix from outside the house), the opening show was a slick presentation. Having all 81 competitors await their fate during the show was a simple and effective alternative from past shows when the desperate wannabees all competed for those first precious moments attention by donning ridiculous outfits. The fact that housemates knew each other already wasn’t a problem either. Relationships were already established. There was none of that usual uncomfortableness. This year for the first time in years we didn’t gawp in wonder at the newbies wondering whether we’d ever get used to this ridiculous collection of people. Somehow, this years bunch didn’t cross the line of intense irritation. At least not yet.

This isn’t a love in. I’ll probably change my mind entirely in a few weeks time. In fact, a few hours in the office tomorrow and I bet I’ll be ribbed for this. I don’t really care.

But this year’s launch of the formats swansong has another enviable asset in it’s portfolio.

The Big Brother website reclaims some important real estate for the brand. It’s design reflects the huge effort made on the commissioned carpets and wallpapers inside the house. The photography of the housemates is out of this world. And the layout of the pages clearly designed and coded by the very best.

And whilst I’m on the subject, I’m loving the amount of space taken over by the programme banner. That’s a bold statement. The layout of the page is similar to the BBC template design, but somehow it feels richer – possibly because of the background wallpaper.

No-one should underestimate the importance of the website. It’s not a web-only alternative for those of us who live our lives on the internet. It achieves something considerably more important. It underpins the brand identity. It completes the circle. It says ‘we’ve made every effort and we love this’.

Regardless of what you think about the Big Brother franchise, this was more than half decent entertainment television. It was good to see Davina McCall back in her usual spot – clearly displaying how much she feels at home with her role on the programme. The housemates seemed reasonably interesting. And there’s the bittersweet pill of a potentially engaging series finishing for good at the end of the summer.

And on that basis the people at Remarkable TV (or should we just call them Endemol?) should feel proud. Channel 4 will either feel relieved or excited or both. And everyone else should take note.

The picture on this blog post is embedded here from the Channel 4 website. I didn’t ask to use it because I’ve been quite complimentary about the programme. If you’d like me to remove it, then get in touch.

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Posted in: TV