Feature: Can 'Big Brother' bounce back?

Big BrotherWith Big Brother now returning to our screens in August of this year we ask ourselves one question: Can Big Brother really bounce back?

To find out, we need to go back in time a little. Cast your mind back to summer of 2006. You'll remember Big Brother riding high, enjoying rating and critic success and although suffering scathing reviews from broadsheets such as the Guardian, Big Brother was the recipient of front page grabbing headlines for 13 weeks every summer.

Every inch the controversy machine, Big Brother would thrive and benefit from the Ofcom complaints viewers submitted. The weird, wacky and mentally unstable contestants were being used at Big Brother's disposal and viewers were delighted with the outlandish actions of water throwing Grace and tourette sufferer Pete.

Even a suicide threat from Asian housemate Shabaz didn't manage to pop Big Brother's bubble. Was this show unstoppable? How did Big Brother manage to ride every wave and come up smelling of roses every single time? There's one reason: bosses were not worried by Ofcom complaints or Channel 4 bosses. Instead, they'd come back a few weeks later with a brand new idea more weird and wacky than the last one.

Big Brother 7 ended with a peak of 8.2 million in its two part finale. The producers had done it again. Produced a smash hit summer reality show as unpredictable as the last, and still on the tips of everyone's tongue. We were sure to see Big Brother again, not least because Channel 4 had just signed another three year deal with production company Endemol, but it was one of Channel 4's few rating hits. We only had just under six months to wait...

The build up to Celebrity Big Brother 2007 was as mysterious as ever. Was there a cow in the garden? No, but there was a slot in the wall that WE, the viewer could use to communicate with our celebrity chums. You don't remember that because it was never actually used.

We switched on our television sets one cold night in January 2007 to find a bunch of has-beens grace our screens. Nevertheless, they seemed an entertaining bunch. Again, Big Brother was enjoying ratings success and producers decided to throw a spanner in the works: the celebrity housemates were to wait hand-and-foot on a celebrity family. Donny Tourette legged it over the Garden fence, but hey ho.

Who was that celebrity family to be? You probably already know, but for those of you who have been living under a rock since 2007, it was the Goody family, no less. Jade Goody returned for a second stint in the Big Brother house with her (supposedly) famous family and felon boyfriend Jack Tweed in tow.

A simple twist that was introduced to stir up the dynamics of the show proved to be a twist to far with racial abuse allegations being thrown around in the press. This was the spark an international debate that even Big Brother couldn't hide from. With the incident being mentioned in parliament and Jade Goody figures being burned in India, Big Brother's bubble was well and truly popped.

Although this did wonders for the show's ratings initially, the hype was short lived and a reality juggernaut was left in tatters. The result? A full Ofcom investigation was launched and unedited tapes were sifted through. An on-air apology was broadcast and new rules were put in place to ensure that this was never to happen again.

Big Brother 8 returned to our screens in May 2007 with one of the higher-rated launches. The success was to end there. The show and franchise saw a steady decline from there on in, at its lowest only averaging 2.5 million for Big Brother 10. Only picking up in its final year, Big Brother showed it had some staying power.

The reason for the decline? Big Brother producers shied away from controversy and each highlight show had to meet certain regulations before it was to air on television that night. Big Brother was restricted. Handcuffed and chained, the big guy couldn't move. All its life, Big Brother thrived on controversy and needed it like we need air. It was being suffocated and the results were clear for all to see.

Fast forward to 2011, Big Brother fans baited their breath as we hang on to every report, each time our hopes becoming more of a reality. On April 7th 2011, our dreams came true as we all (officially) found out that Big Brother was to return to screens this August. Our savior in the form of Channel 5.

With a new channel and a new start, it's clear that Big Brother will again get the love and attention it deserves. It will again become the channel's flagship program, and Channel 5 will rely heavily upon Big Brother to pull in the numbers it so desperately needs. For this reason, Channel 5 will ensure that Big Brother will once again enjoy front page coverage for 13 weeks and beyond. Not least because it's owner, Richard Desmond owns a plethora of print publications stemming from OK! to The Daily Star.

Free of the shackles that Channel 4 imposed way back in 2007, Big Brother will once again shock and maybe, just maybe, become the smash summer (or winter) hit it used to be.

To answer the question that forms the foundations of this talking point: Can Big Brother bounce back? Yes, indeed it can.

Telly Mix would love to know what your opinion is of the well-documented move to Channel 5 and what it means for the franchise. Good or bad? You decide! Pun not intended.

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