Big Brother

Why Nineteen Eighty-Four still matters
It's 70 years since George Orwell published the dystopian classic which introduced us to Big Brother.

It's Only a Game

Paul Jackson explores how Big Brother became the TV phenomenon of a new millennium.
Paul Jackson explores how locking strangers in the Big Brother house became the TV phenomenon of a new millennium.

The show, which spawned the reality genre, proved that showing ordinary people could make great TV, thereby democratising the celebrity process. And viewers, who watched in their millions, could change the story as it went on. 

Includes insights from John De Mol, the Dutchman who dreamt up The Golden Cage (which later became Big Brother); Tim Gardam, the man who brought it to Channel 4 in July 2000; and former contestants Anthea Turner and Nick Bateman.

Producer: Paul Kobrak

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2003.