At least we were spared the usual baying crowds and the gushing presenter’s now traditional “you were a great housemate” love-in with a Celebrity Big Brother evictee.
But was the departure of Jade Goody a satisfactory conclusion to an increasingly hysterical week?
No, not really. As apologies go it was more of the “yeah, whatever” variety than a genuine soul-searching act of contrition.
Racist? Absolutely not.
Well she would say that, wouldn’t she? I can’t think of too many people – certain white-hooded folk and sections of the extreme right wing aside – who would openly admit to being prejudiced because of someone’s skin colour, especially not on national television.
I would guess that the “apology” issued in the diary room before her eviction was closer to the truth of Jade’s attitude. Her body language, her confrontational manner, her bullish language and self-satisfied smugness screamed: “You can tell me what to say, but you can’t tell me what to think” with each hollow acknowledgement.
It would be good to think that Jade does take some time to assess her own behaviour. But as someone who has apparently amassed a seven-figure sum for herself by being loud, obnoxious, opinionated and talentless, why would she change what has so far proved to be a winning formula?
I have long been concerned at the psychological impact of Big Brother and its celebrity-infused sister show. Not just the effect the show can and seemingly does have on those who take part, but on the viewers who tune in for their slice of dubious entertainment.
We have lapped up the confrontation, the bullying, the character assasinations that have been features of each and every series and we’ve demanded more – hence each new twist in “plot”, such as the inclusion of Jade Goody, her boyfriend and mother just as the housemates were getting over the initial shock of entering the house.
This series should, you would hope, prompt Channel 4 to consider whether the franchise has outlived its usefulness. Jade might not be the type to do much self-analysing, but surely the broadcaster should take a long hard look at itself?
Channel 4 has backed itself into a corner during this week with alarming ease. It is now in such a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” predicament that there is no obvious escape route.
That is why the eviction of Jade Goody remains unsatisfactory. The precautions taken not to expose Jade to the usual crowd and press conference were understandable – imagine the mental health implications of being thrust into such a bear pit.
It would be interesting to know what additional support is made available by Channel 4 to help Jade come to terms with the wider coverage of her rows with Shilpa Shetty. The criticism levelled at her – in this blog and elsewhere – is not something she can shrug off as easily as she did the racism allegations in the diary room.
But judging by the coverage so far, Friday night’s eviction show still leaves everyone feeling cheated. Why?
Do we want her to get her comeuppance in the most public and spectacular manner?
If we do, then I would suggest that says more about us than it does about the object of our vilification. Only a public execution 21st century style – death by live TV camera – would apparently satisfy our demand for “justice”.
Yes, Jade Goody has become a 21st century celebrity for no obvious reason. But we’ve created the monster by allowing programmes such as Big Brother to become such a success.
Personally, I hope Jade gets the professional help and support she needs at this time – and that does not refer to her publicist, stylist and exclusive tabloid interview.
I also hope she shrinks from the limelight, never to return.
If only the same could be true for the Big Brother franchise and its ilk.