There’s nothing like a reality show to get people tweeting. I watched Celebrity Big Brother last night, for the first time since it started – you know, the one with Jack Dee, and other actual celebrities in it – and it reminded me why I don’t watch those kind of shows anymore. I haven’t even watched X Factor or I’m a Celebrity for 6 years.

Spot the celebrity

This year’s CBB seems to have a reality TV theme. I think pretty much everyone in it has been on some kind of reality tv show, even the actual bona fide celebrities – by my calculations 5 out of the 16 in there – have done a stint on some kind of celebrity reality show.

I miss the golden era when celebrities were the people with talent. The actors who could also sing and dance, the musicians, the comedians, artists, authors and sports people. They worked hard, developed their skill and were beloved for it. They were role models. I hate this new culture of people who become famous just because they got a boob job, dated a footballer, or said something controversial.
I mean seriously, how is Katie Hopkins a celebrity?

Seems I’m not alone in my thinking – “Who are yer?” was the chant during the launch night as X Factor finalist, and fellow scouser, Chris Maloney arrived  for Celebrity Big Brother. Reading Twitter shocked me though. No one had a kind word to say about him. They mocked his surgery, his appearance, his accent, everything about him. Come on people. The guy is still human. Give him a break.

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Okay, so I laughed at this one.

As a tribe of, largely anonymous, people on social media, we can say what we want about these people. It seems that, if they’re prepared to put themselves in the public eye, then the public are more than willing to insult, abuse and mock them.

People are mean

We’ve made it so easy for boring, stupid people to become famous. Why do we do that? We watch their pointless docu-dramas, turn them into public figures, and then we take to Twitter to bitch about them and make them feel ugly, stupid and talentless.
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Someone tweeted “How is Christopher Maloney a celebrity?” Because we allowed him to be. We voted him into the X Factor final. We let him grace our TV screens for 10 weeks. We made him a household name, albeit for a few months at least. (You understand that when I say ‘we’ I mean you – not me – the only scheduled mainstream TV show I ever watch is Doctor Who. Video games, DVDs box sets and Netflix are this girl’s best-friend).

People seem to thrive on drama and scandal. We elevate seemingly average folk into stars and then delight in ripping them apart. And thanks to Twitter, you can tell them exactly what you think of them, something which most people would never dream of doing in real life, but behind a social network it’s all just fun and games and no one cares that there are real people with actual feelings behind those profiles.

Celebrity Big Brother 2016

So why am I watching Celebrity Big Brother? Well, I’ve worked with Chris for 12 months, managing his Academy website and more recently building his personal website and managing his merchandise. So for a legitimate work reason I’m watching the show.

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This one just pissed me off.

 

I don’t know Chris particularly well, he’s a client, so I’m not going to make any gushing testimonials about his character, because my knowledge is limited. But I have met with him enough times to make an informed opinion.

I didn’t see him on X Factor, (for all the aforementioned reasons) so when he phoned me about his academy website and the words “when I came off X factor” were his opening gambit, I just said “oh right.” And promptly googled him.

But what I’ve discovered about Chris, is that, while I expected to find him annoying, self absorbed, and arrogant, (my assumption of anyone entering a reality show) he’s actually a really likeable guy.

To me, Christoper Maloney isn’t a celebrity, he’s just the guy who set up a performing arts academy in a deprived area of Liverpool, to give young disadvantaged people a chance to shine.

I’ve worked in the voluntary sector for 10 years, my business is a social enterprise (not for profit) and this year we started a tech club to make sure that kids in deprived areas had access to technology in order to develop skills in programming and digital media. So I have something in common with Chris (along with being born in the best year ever…). Having produced two of the academy’s end of term dvds, we’ve seen how much the kids love it, I’ve seen the way their confidence has grown from one term to the next. And I know that Chris is fully involved in the academy, giving up his Saturdays to be there.

I don’t follow X Factor, or read the papers so I don’t know what other contestants do after the X Factor “dream” is over… But I doubt they’re doing anything quite so selfless.

Looking at the housemates though, the “stars” of TOWIE, Geordy Shore, Ex on the beach (wtf is that??) and some American reality show. At least Chris is ‘famous’ for being on a talent show. He didn’t just get drunk in front of a camera, or argue with someone, or live in a house with a bunch of strangers… The lad can actually sing. Okay I’m never going to buy his records or go and watch him perform because I’m into punk, rock and ska.

And so what if he loves his Nan – don’t you love your nan?

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The Liverpool Print Company is donating profits from these Tshirts to the Christopher Maloney Theatre & Arts Academy.

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