I’ve written before about what I call “cellar floor television“, but the digging continues. William Harrison wrote Roller Ball Murder, then came Stephen King’s The Running Man. More recently, we had the Doctor Who episode Bad Wolf. But these were parody and “reality television” is beyond parody. Extreme Makeover set a new standard, but it comes as no surprise that Endemol have stooped to lower the competition to new depths.
So it was a hoax, and in a worthy cause. Still, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. This one, I think, was acceptable, on balance. I’m not sure whether the fact that I was taken in says more about Endemol or about my prejudices.
Of course, the publicity will have done Endemol no harm, and the media often use worthy material to peddle drivel. In some cases, it’s simply using the drivel to pad out an inadequate amount of material. Crimewatch UK, last time I saw it, still maintained a reasonable ratio of worthy material; the same can’t be said for Watchdog. But on other occasions, worthy causes are used as a form of advertising.