Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Castaway: What's Gone Wrong?

Castaway 2000 was a groundbreaking series that was on BBC TV in, you guessed it, 2000. It was a genuinly interesting social experiment: 36 people, chosen as a representive sample of the UK population, put on an island. It was Taransay, in Scotland, and there was only 1 house there, with 1 family. Everything else had to be built, and they were self-sufficient.

I remember coming in from Asda one day with my parents, and putting in on, eating a chocolate muffin. It was a really nice muffin, and Castaway was great. It was about two-thirds of the way through the series, however. I caught the rest on UKTV. It was a genuine social experiment: there was a diverse mix of people - young and old, black and white, male and female, straight and gay. There were families, couples, single people. There was a small school for the children.

The BBC recently announced that they're making a new series, and it starts on Friday. I looked on Wikipedia for any information about it. It's set, this time, on Great Barrier Island, in New Zealand. The location of the first series was great, no need for BBC to get bigger and better every time, much like Big Brother. Maybe another UK location? Oh well. So they're on this island in New Zealand, which has a population of, oh, 900 people. So, there's a lot of castaways then. It's in a public area, near to a campground popular with school parties and families, so filming could be interrupted by stray ramblers. There's a town within half an hour that has a shop, chemist, airstrip, and a golf club.

So they're not really being 'cast away' anywhere.

They released a list of the contestants today, and I'm afraid that it's gone from societal representation to reality-tv staples. The black/asian/fat/old/dubious sexuality boxes have been ticked, and everyone else is pretty. They also have the standard 'reality tv' ambitions and personalities: one is a loner, another a former lap dancer (Shipwrecked 2006, anyone?), another thinks the world will one day live in peace. There's a couple of hippies, and someone who hates hippies. A couple of people who promise to 'rock the boat' and another wants to be an MP.

So, the BBC have taken one of the genuinly innovate and interesting reality tv shows, that was eye-opening and watchable for all the right reasons, and ruined it. It's turned into Big Brother.


Sarkins said...

lol aww. Well I think that all reality TV will gravitate towards Big Brother in the end. It's a formula that has proven to make money, so that's what they do. Can't blame them really, but it is annoying.

Anonymous said...

Except the BBC don't actually need to make money...

Mike said...

True, the BBC don't need to make money, but they also don't need to chase ratings, stricly speaking - technically they're just about making good quality television. But they still chase ratings, and let programs suffer and be compromised for the gain of them. And every time Eastenders beats Coronation Street they seem to throw themselves a party, too.