Reality TV Is Good For You, Sky One

by | Sep 4, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

Julie Burchill makes a pithy, passionate defence of our number one guilty pleasure and proves that “opponents of reality TV are against life itself.”

What to say if you disliked it

Julie Burchill on TV Is Bad For You

What was good about it?

• The childish excitement experienced by “Britain’s leading intellectual couch potato” (her words) when she got to sound a factory horn to wake the lolling Craig when he dozed in the Big Brother house

• The use of A-ha’s The Sun Always Shines On TV as the theme tune

• Steve Johnson, author of Everything Good Is Bad For You, sanctioning our adherence to reality TV by stating: “Our brains work overtime following the various storylines. To map that social network in your mind is more sophisticated than we realise.”

• Julie’s humiliation of Germaine Greer for attacking reality TV, appearing on it, then attacking it again. And she also ridiculed Germaine’s comparison of the Big Brother house to fascist concentration camps.

• Julie’s argument that all entertainment is manufactured, therefore we shouldn’t look down on shows such as Popstars.

• Time Out’s gay section edition Paul Burston pointing out that “gays on reality TV are like what straight people think gay people are like: sexless or funny; not fully rounded.”

• Nadia Almada’s sensational new blonde hair

What was bad about it?

• As much as we love reality TV, Julie Burchill’s rallying cry was often crass. “To all you TV snobs, I say: Get over it”.

• And she’s wrong to think that reality TV is a celebration of working class people. It’s not. It’s a chance to see working class people from a comfortably safe distant.

• Tony Wilson saying – as if it’s a bad thing – that “we watch, like a Formula 1 grand prix, for the crash.”

• John Humphrys getting needlessly steamed up: “It’s dishonest; it’s demeaning; it’s deeply and profoundly boring.”

• Julie’s dismissal of Jonathan Ross and The Generation Game with Larry Grayson – and her defence of Jade Goody who is now, Julie insisted, an A-list celebrity.

• Narinder Kaur mixing up her past and present tenses when she said: “I was a desperate wannabe” as she explained that her main motivation for going on Big Brother was so that she’d get an invite to Kylie’s party.

• The inaccurate claim that Will Young’s Evergreen was the biggest selling single in pop history

• Julie not being brave enough to tell Big Brother 4’s Lisa to her face that she’s wasted the 10k she’s spent on plastic surgery. “It hasn’t helped much, poor bloke,” she claimed from the safety of the studio where she added her narration to the film

• Phil Tufnell giggling at Jayne Middlemiss’s pain when Lee Sharpe snubbed her in favour of Abi Titmuss on Celebrity Love Island. Anyone who isn’t rated above Titmuss is entitled to sob for hours.

• Julie’s claim that Nadia’s Big Brother win was “the most moving thing I’ve seen in my life.” That is pathetic on so many levels.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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