August 25th

Celebrity Big Brother 2008 Axed

Channel 4 has axed next year’s series of Celebrity Big Brother.
Jade Goody: Controversial
Jade Goody: Controversial

The broadcaster said the move is part of a programme of “creative renewal” and the series, which attracts huge ratings, is expected to return in 2009.

Celebrity Big Brother sparked huge controversy earlier this year when a record 54,000 viewers complained at the allegedly racist bullying of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty by the likes of Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd.

Gordon Brown, then visiting India, was drawn into the row.

Channel 4 was forced to broadcast apologies ahead of the start of the current eighth series of Big Brother, following an Ofcom ruling which revealed that further instances of racial abuse had occurred but not been shown to the public.

The decision also comes as this year’s series of Big Brother is failing to make as big a splash as usual, even though it has still attracted healthy ratings.

Not running Celebrity Big Brother will mean 29 hours of new programmes will be needed to fill the gap in January.

Jodie Marsh, who was given a hard time by fellow contestants last year, has said she never wants to speak about the show again.

The model broke down on tears several times after being relentlessly attacked by TV host Michael Barrymore and Respect MP George Galloway on the show.

She summed up her feelings in an interview with Sky News earlier this year.

“They voted Michael Barrymore as the runner-up,” Marsh said.

“I couldn’t believe it. They voted Michael Barrymore second when everyone had watched him bully me for the last week on TV.

“My first thought was that I just hate Britain – I hated Britons. The country is really screwed in the head. How could they do that?”

Comedian Jack Dee won the first series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2001. Other winners since it became an annual event have included Mark Owen, Bez, non-celebrity Chantelle Houghton, and Shetty.

The show, which would have been the sixth series next year, has also featured appearances from names like Michael Barrymore, George Galloway and Pete Burns.

Source: Sky News

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