In recent years it has been commonplace for British television broadcasters to fill their schedules with a new type of programme. The so-called 'Reality Television' programmes present real people in various situations rather than more established actors in dramatic roles. The popularity of reality shows such as Big Brother, X-Factor and The Apprentice has given American artist Andy Warhol's famous quote In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes even more relevance now then when he said it in 1968. The term 'reality television' has been increasingly applied to programmes which allow people access to appear as themselves, utilising actual or sometimes reconstructed scenes. The programmes are often made possible by the availability, ease of use and technical quality of the video camcorder. However, reality television cannot be solely defined by examples such as Big Brother, and according to some media commentators there are four distinctive categories of the genre featuring people in varying role. There are the representation of the emergency services, such as the police or ambulance services, in dramatised reconstructions of real events (999 or True Crimes), or real video footage recorded by video journalists and/or the specific emergency service (Trauma); the use of ordinary people as subjects of entertainment or humour in spontaneous or contrived situations (You've Been Framed or Balls of Steel); the use of subjects within a professionally produced fly-on-the wall or vÃ©ritÃ© documentary (Culloden: A Year in the Life of a Primary School); and allowing amateur directors to offer a personalised documentary of an event or way of life (Video Diaries and Video Nation).
It is not only the influx of reality television that has polluted the psyche of the nation; we have seen the rise of popularity of ordinary... [continues]
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