Big Brother 2023 flop

OPINION: As the Big Brother reboot reaches its final, here’s how ITV totally RUINED the long-awaited comeback

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Some things live up to its hype, and some things sadly don’t – and Big Brother 2023 on ITV is firmly in the ‘bitterly disappointing’ pile of TV flops.

I have been a lifelong fan of the reality show, and have been writing about it since the very first series in 2000. Yes, I am that old. Whether it was on Channel 4, its birth place, or later on Channel 5, I stayed loyal.

It’s always been a fascinating social experiment, and every series I’ve wondered how I would cope in the same situation. However, this year I’d rather have been IN the house than WATCHING it!

I was always dubious about the show coming back and, in my opinion, ITV totally ruined the return of Big Brother in 2023. And here’s why…

Cast of Big Brother 2023
The cast of Big Brother 2023 (Credit: ITV)

Cast of Big Brother 2023 on ITV wasn’t diverse enough

One of my main complaints about the ITV Big Brother reboot was the uninspired cast. Yes, there were lots of boxes ticked – disabled, immigrant, Muslim, posh and stupid. But, despite their apparent differences, so many of the cast were so similar.

The oldest person was 50, and Farida got booted out first! Most contestants were between 20 and 30… Not exactly a wide range of life experiences.

As a social experiment, it failed at the first hurdle – with the oldest, most opinionated person booted out first. Okay, so that wasn’t strictly BB’s fault as the viewers voted, but there was certainly some very biased editing! Like the viewers, I saw the pattern of the show following a tried, tested and, frankly, boringly predictable pattern. Most of the loud and opinionated people were voted out first. With the quieter housemates coasting to the final.

Producers failed to address bullying

BB could easily have stood for Blatant Bullying instead of Big Brother. There was Kerry’s perceived bullying of Farida, and Paul’s seriously targeted behaviour towards Noky, while viewers also accused Olivia of bullying.

Later, Big Brother was hit with more than 1,000 Ofcom complaints as viewers accused housemates of “bullying” Trish and Noky. And Tom’s disrespect towards Yinrun was almost certainly influenced by his ignorance (and disinterest in learning) about her culture.

If I wanted to watch people being unkind to each other, I’d watch Parliament Live. At no point, even during the uncomfortable Halloween night, did BB step in. There were no consequences for the housemates, until they were voted out. And then… Well, and then, they received the softest interview ever!

Tom on Big Brother Late and Live
Tom being interviewed post-eviction on Big Brother: Late & Live (Credit: ITV)

AJ Odudu and Will Best were the wrong hosts for Big Brother 2023 on ITV

Hosts AJ Odudu and Will Best just didn’t work. Aside from the awkward and all-too obvious autocue reading, they were just too soft. There were no consequences for the contestants, who were all given far-too-easy exit interviews.

Viewers slammed AJ for her eviction night presenting, with some claiming her presenting style was “awkward” and “unnatural”. I’m sorry, I usually love you AJ, but I agree.

She did look on fleek every week though. But I seriously missed the days of Davina McCall and Emma Willis’ tough questions.

The launch show bombed

Big Brother 2023 started less with a bang, and more with a dull pre-recorded show. In previous series, the housemates headed into the Big Brother house live – and anything could have happened. Knowing it wasn’t live on the first night just didn’t seem right.

And the VTs were WAY too short! Introducing the housemates has always been a highlight. But the launch night’s VTs just seemed rushed. The housemates didn’t reveal much in the short clips apart from their jobs and a little summary of themselves. We wanted more!

AJ Odudu and Will Best on Big Brother UK
AJ was criticised by fans (Credit: ITV)

Big Brother 2023 on ITV was too rushed

So my main complaint is how rushed the series felt. Rather than lasting all summer like previous series, Big Brother 2023 was just six weeks. Just as the social experiment aspect started to become interesting, the housemates started getting thrown out like candy at Halloween.

As the housemates divided into gangs, the young versus the old, bullies versus angels, there was no time for barriers to be broken down. Yinrun remains the most misunderstood housemate because there have been no team-building tasks, it’s all been about tearing them apart.

There was no Saturday episode to dissect what happened after eviction, which was incredibly frustrating. And the secret evictions were total mood killers.

Too many secret evictions!

In a bid to fill their quota of evictions in a shorter time frame, four housemates were turfed out via the backdoor (not a euphemism). Some of the biggest characters in the show – Kerry, Tom, Jenkin, and Matty – were all robbed of a live eviction. And so were the viewers.

I was livid about this, and so were the fans. One fumed: “You’re actually trash for all these back door evictions. Matty deserved a live eviction to have his moment! You’ve robbed him of his moment! Too rushed! TRASH! #BBUK.”

Another said: “Keep thinking about how Matty was evicted. Like it’s soooo mean and for what reason? Especially considering he’s come in 6th place and has been in that house so long. He deserved a live eviction for sure.”

A third wrote: “It’s awful how these housemates are not getting a proper eviction. That’s four now. Not keen on Matty, but he made it to the final week. And the others could have heard exactly what the viewers thought of them. Very poor end.”

Rebekah Vardy talks about her experience in the jungle
Rebekah Vardy is tipped to appear on Celebrity Big Brother (Credit: ITV)

Celebrity Big Brother announced for 2024

Okay, I have my huge problems with Big Brother 2023, but damn right I’m still going to watch the celeb version next year. However, producers need to learn from their mistakes!

And I don’t want a McFly member and a reality show veteran. I want Phillip Schofield. I want Britney Spears (well if her sister can go on IAC?!). And ITV better be trying to sign up Piers Morgan!

Basically, if you’re going to do a celeb version, make sure there are celebrities. Watch this space for news of the cast when it’s announced! Big Brother may well “be watching” the housemates, but we’re watching Big Brother. And we are the critics they need to impress…

Read more: Big Brother UK fans fume as ITV ‘leaks results of eviction during live stream’

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The Big Brother 2023 final airs from 9pm on Friday, November 17, 2023 on ITV1 and ITVX.

What did you think of the return of Big Brother in 2023? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor