Don Foster MP*


Ahead of today’s start of the 5th series of ‘Big Brother’, research by the Liberal Democrats has shown that the number of reality shows aired mushroomed from 2 in 2000 to 13 in the first 5 months of 2004. At this rate, there will have been 28 by the end of this year.

Commenting, Don said:

“Viewers deserve better than yet another talent show for the talentless.

Main Image“The first ‘Big Brother’ was an innovative social experiment, but now programme makers should continue to be original.

“We need more exciting shows like ‘Faking It’, with fresh ideas in every episode. Instead broadcasters are ransacking the schedules for old ideas.

“Recent reports by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom, show viewers find that TV relies too much on copycat and celebrity programming. Broadcasters need to listen to viewers’ concerns, and make programmes that we really want to watch.”


Notes to Editors

1. The research targeted television schedules quarterly on the five terrestrial channels, and looked for reality TV shows on during the first week of the quarter.

2. This was a representative sample, and does not include reality shows shown at other times, such as the second and third series of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’ (ITV), or ‘Shattered’ (Ch. 4).

Reality TV shows on during first week of quarter, 2000-2004 (4th June)

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
BBC1 1 0 1 3 0
BBC2 0 0 1 1 2
ITV 0 4 3 3 3
C. 4 1 2 2 7 6
C. 5 0 1 0 1 2
Total 2 7 7 15 13
Source: the Times TV schedules, 2000-200, Radio Times 2004

Reality TV shows by title

Programme title

Castaway, Fame Academy, Celebrity Driving School

SAS, Are You Tough Enough?, SAS Desert, Are You Tough Enough?

I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, Survivor, Popstars, Soapstars, Pop Idol, Holiday Showdown, The Club, Melting Pot, Celebrity Fit Club, Hell’s Kitchen

Channel 4
Big Brother, Temptation Island, The Osbournes, The Games, Masters and Servants, Jamie’s Kitchen, Big Brother’s Little Brother, Operatunity, Fit Farm, Regency House Party, The Carrot or the Stick

Channel 5
The Mole, At Home With The Eubanks, Back to Reality, Great Reality TV Moments

Source: the Times TV schedules, 2000-2003, Radio Times 2004

3. A recent Ofcom report (Ofcom review of public service television broadcasting, 24/04/04) examined public perceptions of programming output. The report noted that:

“Viewers thought that television lacked innovation and original ideas, relied too much on copycat and celebrity programming, and on occasion talked down to its viewers.”
(Ofcom review of public service television broadcasting, 24/04/04)

4. The report went on to note the “dramatic recent growth in the number of ‘factual entertainment’ programmes… such as reality shows (e.g. Big Brother) and docusoaps”.

This article published: 27/05/2023

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank

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