Animal Big Brother hits problems
by our man who is no stranger to monkey business, Donald Twain
Having exhausted almost every titillating combination of human stereotypes in its current format, Channel 4 executives had high hopes that Big Brother’s attempt to showcase the talents of a contingent of animal contestants would breathe new life into the twitching corpse of reality television
|Big Brother 8: Animals That Are Absolutely
Guaranteed To Not Get On had even the most jaded of fans
tuning in to see what would happen when a giraffe, a gerbil, a moth, a
Bengal tiger, an alligator and a magpie entered the famous Big
Brother house to embark on a nine-week popularity contest.
The show’s producers were confident that the combination of an alien
environment and unfamiliar species would spark some truly horrifying encounters—if
not raunchy, inter-species bonking action involving lots of teeth, claws
However, as has been widely reported by the bewildered media, the animals have reacted to this excess of new stimuli by simply nodding off, or in the case of the gerbil, makeshift hibernation. On the opening night, crowds gathered outside the house to watch the animals enter one by one to huge cheers and flashing cameras. Enormous screens on either side of the house beamed live feeds of the action to the open-mouthed public as they watched the first movements of the new housemates. However, to their enormous disappointment, the tiger—hoped by many to be one of the main protagonists in the conflict—padded around the house for a bit, before gathering some blankets from the dormitory and curling up in the diary room.
Hopes were raised in week three when the decision was taken to mess about with the lights and make some disagreeable noises, in the hope that the giraffe and the alligator, at least, would be spurred into action. But this cunning plan failed to have any effect on the slumbering beasts, other than coaxing the gerbil out of hibernation to be harassed by the disorientated moth. As a last resort, production staff entered the house last week and awkwardly manhandled the snoozing animals into the living area and arranged them in a circle. Anticipation reached fever pitch as the magpie opened its left eye and focused blearily on the giraffe’s brightly-coloured ear markings, but the stiff-necked animal failed to rise to the challenge and the thwarted bird waddled over to the gerbil instead and stole it's duvet. The rest of the cast remained unconscious throughout the incident.
have learned that the show will be axed next week if conflict does not
materialise, giving rise to grave concerns that the nation’s initial
disappointment could haemorrhage into a massive aneurism of absenteeism
and binge drinking.
Elsewhere, Channel 4 bosses are facing some tough decisions, as they will now have to replace the shows which would have starred the animal evictees of Big Brother 8 had it been the success they expected. The tiger and the moth were scheduled to co-host their own midday chat-show to compete with ITV’s Loose Women, and it was generally agreed that the magpie would star in its own sitcom.
It is unclear what will happen to the now well-rested beasts after the show ends. London Zoo—which supplied many of the animals in the first place—is reluctant to take them back as they are sure to 'send takings plummeting through the floor', as one unhappy keeper put it to us. Rolf Harris was approached to help find new homes for the failed stars, but he refused, saying: 'I might find room for the gerbil and the alligator if Angelina Jolie agrees, but the giraffe, moth and bird are right out and she's not prepared to hump any pussy but her own."
Story © Donald Twain 2005. Picture and construction © utterpants.co.uk / 050705