Candid camera

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The Independent Online

Channel 4 has announced a new series of programmes seemingly devoted to proving that there is no such thing as privacy. The participants in Big Brother, we are told, will be filmed in the bedroom and the lavatory, although we are assured that their most intimate moments will not be broadcast. They will be permanently wired up to microphones, and their house is to be sealed. There will thus be no escape from television's newest torture chamber.

Channel 4 has announced a new series of programmes seemingly devoted to proving that there is no such thing as privacy. The participants in Big Brother, we are told, will be filmed in the bedroom and the lavatory, although we are assured that their most intimate moments will not be broadcast. They will be permanently wired up to microphones, and their house is to be sealed. There will thus be no escape from television's newest torture chamber.

And it all started so innocuously. In 1974, the BBC's "fly on the wall" documentary The Family was praised for its innovative quality. It stimulated a national debate on the state of British family life. In the quarter of a century that followed, however, the genre mutated into the "docusoap", until that died, having exploited everyone from learner drivers to vets to prostitutes. Recently, we have been treated to a spate of shows devoted to the drunken antics of the British on holiday in Greece and, of course, the English fans at Euro 2000.

Maybe Channel 4 should make a documentary about our seemingly insatiable national appetite for voyeurism. It might even make for quality television.

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