Big Brother Fans: Fickle

Big Brother fans across the country will be looking on in interest this afternoon to see if close friends Caoimhe and Shabby actually make good on the threat they made last night and walk off the reality show. If they do join the small percentage of renegade contestants to actually storm from the Elstree compound, then we won’t be hearing any whoops of delight from show producers.

When the pair came to the diary room resolved in their decision to leave yesterday, they were persuaded to delay their exit until the morning, whereupon they would be allowed to walk if their determination was still undimmed. But this was not a case of making the girls sweat, indeed if anyone was sweating it was the execs on the other side of the one-way glass.

Producers have long understood the importance of holding on to the most unpopular (and therefore the most interesting) housemates and following the exit of the dizzily myopic Sunshine on Friday, they were probably panicking at the prospect of losing their three most watchable contestants in the space of two days.

Producers will definitely understand and fear the public’s penchant for removing characters that annoy them in knee-jerk eviction night purges, only to feel the pang of boredom once the object of their derision has departed. This phenomenon was illustrated to perfection in 2003 when producers engineered the return of Jon Tickle. Evicted for his odd little habits and apparently dull demeanour, he was thrust back into the house by the very same voters who had shunned him just a few weeks earlier. It seems people very rarely know exactly what they want from television programmes and Big Brother fans are apparently a long way from being exceptions to that rule.

One-girl tantrum machine Nikki Grahame was another iconic housemate that bosses obviously thought had been killed off before her time. She was tenuously shoved back into the Big Brother house a couple of weeks after the public gave her the chop in 2006 and despite a few complaints at the time, Channel 4’s decision to readmit her was vindicated when she topped a poll of most popular housemates ever last month. Were these people the same ones who voted her out twice a couple of years back? Of course they were.

It’s for this reason that Channel 4 will be hoping that Caoimhe and especially the forthright and outspoken Shabby will be staying in the house for at least another couple of weeks yet. Want to leave girls? Why don’t you sleep on it? Please.