I can't believe it's over. BigBrother, that is. My summers will never be quite the same again.
If you're already thinking "oh good grief, you sad deluded creature", then why don't you scroll straight down to the comments box and add your pitying vitriol there, rather than wasting valuable seconds reading what follows?
After ten years, and 267 housemates, the doors of the House have closed for the final time. Brian's exit interview with Davina is as far as Channel 4's franchise will ever run. Big Brother is no longer watching, and neither can we. The last wall-to-wall TV hours have been filled, the last tabloid column inches have been written, and the last suburban wannabe has attempted to make Great Britain love them. The lines are closed, the votes have been counted and verified, and it's now time for us to say our goodbyes.
I don't know about you, but I've been watching from series 1 show 1. It's there in my diary for Tuesday 18th July 2000 - "On C4 the start of Big Brother, it's great". Well, there hadn't been anything like it on TV before, not unless you count some beardyfolk on Taransay for Castaway, which wasn't quite the same. By the following week I was writing "Big Brother on C4, at last an hour of the stuff - gripping." And when the first eviction show kicked Sada out a few days later, I was really annoyed when a mate "rang up during Big Brother, grrr." It didn't take long to get hooked. And I reckon I've watched 80-90% of all the daily shows ever since. Yeah, even BB4.
I moved to Bow one month too late to have Big Brother on my doorstep. Otherwise I could have walked down to Three Mills and yelled at Bubble over the fence, or stood by Davina's little bridge and tried to wave at Jack Dee when he got evicted. But I missed out. The first BB house disappeared soon after I arrived, and its old meadow is now littered with giant pipes preparing to construct the Lee Tunnel. And thebridge, that's gone too, replaced by a giant lock which allows non-existent Olympic freight traffic to pass upstream. Big Brother defected to Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, which is a bit far away from here on a Friday evening, so I never did get to go to an eviction night special. Too late now.
And why did I keep watching, year after year, night after night? Possibly for the wholly artificial situation, and the audacious notion that umpteen people might want to live out three months of summer in full view of the public. Possibly for the tasks, which were often wildly inventive and brought out the best in those conscripted to take part. Possibly for being part of a shared national experience, admittedly with shrinking influence year on year. But mostly I watched for the people. My social circle isn't wide, and here were ten, twelve, fifteen people I could get to know and attempt to understand or learn to avoid. Not an alternative bunch of mates, nothing so sad, but an annual opportunity to observe the mysteries of human interaction and maybe get a bit better at it myself in the process.
I got invited out for drinks in town last night, twice, by two of my handful of friends. But I turned both down so that I didn't miss the last ever four hours of Big Brother. I convinced myself that watching the final show on video afterwards wouldn't have been quite the same, so stayed in with a cup of tea and watched what I deemed to be a bit of history. And they both know me, so they understood, and they might even bother to invite me out again sometime. If you're reading this, mates, I expect to have a lot more unallocated time next summer. The show of the decade has been evicted, and it's time to get out of the House.