January is a depressing time of year. As a nation we collectively look down at the scales, and even lower at our bank balances, to inspect the damage caused over the Christmas period.
While we try to compensate for our behaviour with the inevitable raft of new year's resolutions, most of them enjoy as much longevity as a certain overweight, fame-hungry, ex-Apprentice participant.
Our own hopes and dreams for 2012 may be over but we can still live our lives through the medium of reality television and enjoy January’s smorgasbord of fame-hungry celebrities desperate to win the nation's approval.
The two main courses are, of course, Big Brother and Dancing on Ice. Similar in that they both carry a high risk of injury (damaged ego anyone?), disparate in that ice-skating requires at least a modicum of talent.
An interesting observation about celebrity reality TV is that each channel cannibalistically feeds on the rejects of others. For instance, The X Factor’s Frankie Cocozza has gone from ITV to BB on Channel 5, while Sam Nixon (of presenting duo Sam and Mark fame) has gone from BBC1 to Dancing on Ice on ITV.
Speaking as someone who started on a BBC primetime show, I’ve made stop-offs on ITV, Channel 4 and now as a regular on Channel 5. It’s a game I like to call celebrity KerPlunk, where each straw removed leaves you closer to falling through and landing on the floor as a presenter on QVC.
Based on the above highly scientific formula, I’m taking bets that Chico will be presenting “Chico Time” on the History Channel sometime in April.
There are, of course, other risks involved with reality TV, especially from the production team's perspective. As The X Factor surely learnt with Frankie, there is a risk that one contributor can distract attention away from the main show.
This problem has already manifested itself in Dancing on Ice with Corey Feldman and what can only kindly be described as a hair malfunction. His awful hair accessory already has its own Twitter account, @Coreysbitofhair, and nearly 2,000 followers.
It’s not, however, all doom and gloom. My coveted Reality TV Moment of the Week undoubtedly goes to Laila Morse from DoI, with a performance reminiscent of a certain scene from Bambi. Expect to see her fronting Saga skating holidays shortly after her departure from the show in the next few weeks.
While we’re on the subject of former EastEnders, Natalie Cassidy is currently doing the rounds on Big Brother, proving that anyone can make a media career from an acting job that finished six years ago. Since being in the house, I’ve lost count of the number of references she’s made to her weight-loss DVD. Thank goodness Ofcom have relaxed the rules on product placement.
It’s surely a matter of time before she follows Andrew Stone and Natasha Giggs in being evicted from the house, although as I know all too well, sometimes people are kept in reality TV shows purely for comedy value.
Here’s hoping my career as a writer for RadioTimes.com enjoys better success than my last public job application.
If you still find yourself buried deep in the January blues, take solace from the fact that you’re not Andrew Stone.
As the first evicted from the Big Brother house, he was accused of being “too aware of the cameras” by his fellow housemates. To be fair to Andrew, since his work on Pineapple Dance Studios dried up, he’d probably forgotten what a TV camera even looks like.
Until next time,