Celebrity Big Brother UK update: 'racism' row spills over
The reason for this was largely down to the rag-tag bunch of has-beens and would-bes that the Endemol producers decided would be our entertainment for this year, and having watched the first few shows, I had to resist the urge to dip my head into a vat of boiling porridge, rather than watch any more.
However, a few days ago, things started to get very interesting.
Very interesting indeed...
Now, before I start, I should say that I'm not naive enough to believe that so-called celebrities would be placed into a scenario where they are expected to provide some form of entertainment for almost a full month solid without the producers of the show having given them at least some sort of prompting or preparation on what to do, what to expect and how to react in certain situations.
More importantly, I'm well aware of some of the alleged tactics employed by television producers of reality television shows in their various (and nefarious) attempts to maintain or boost ratings.
I should point out before I go any further that the ratings for this current series of Celebrity Big Brother started off quite promising. However, like me, a substantial number of viewers dropped off the radar after the first few nights, and things were looking very bad indeed.
That is, until a "racism" row broke out in the house which has not only sparked a headline war in the tabloid newspapers here in the UK, but made the top story on BBC News Online -- and reached the upper echelons of the UK and Indian parliaments, eliciting comments from the UK's highest-ranking politicians and provoking serious consternation in India.
It all started when three other female housemates, Jo O'Mera and Danielle Lloyd, led by former ordinary Big Brother contestant (and now a bit of a national institution) Jade Goody started ganging-up on the Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty.
What started out as typical Big Brother behavior was quickly leapt upon by a bored media and somehow transformed into a racism debate -- and the ratings quickly mushroomed as a result. Complaints ensued (the figure started at 10,000 and quickly jumped to 30,000 -- in excess of the record number of complaints for a TV show in UK history).
Then, various ministers from the Indian government jumped on the bandwagon, then the Chancellor of the UK Exchequer, Gordon Brown, contributed to the debate, along with the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, David Cameron. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell chipped in her tuppenceworth today too.
Before long, Channel Four were forced into making a statement, and found themselves scrabbling furiously to salvage what was quickly becoming an out-of-control situation.
Today, the show's sponsor, Carphone Warehouse, suspended their advertising arrangement with the show, and the whole situation started to look pretty grim indeed.
And finally, to make matters much worse than they had already been in the past few days, Big Brother spoke directly to Shetty in the Diary Room and the public were informed that the actress does not feel she has been the victim of any kind of racist abuse.
All the while former A-Team member, Dirk Benedict, continues to wander around the house with the cool and calm approach Face Man would have employed if such a storm was wreaking havoc all around him in the early 1980s.
I might just tune in and watch some more of this show before the series is out.