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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Reality TV under fire in Poland
Big Brother 2 cast
The UK's Big Brother show has been a ratings success
Several Polish film directors have written an open letter in a newspaper criticising the negative effect of reality television on viewers.

They are particularly concerned about the effect on younger viewers, and are lobbying for the government to regulate the growing phenomenon.


One cannot hold it against us that we deliver our viewers their favourite entertainment

Zygmunt Solorz, Polsat President
"The shows become more and more drastic. They sell more and more intimate spheres of life," reads the letter in Poland's largest daily Newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza.

"They draw in millions of young, morally defenceless viewers."

Ban

The directors - including Andrzej Wajda, who has directed some 40 films - appealed to the National Council for Radio and Television in Poland to ban forthcoming reality TV show Amazons.

The format of the show keeps cameras trained on six couples as they flirt with one another and swap partners.

Polish television has embraced the reality TV craze with a passion. The final episode of the Polish Big Brother drew six million viewers, out of a population of 39 million people.

Vanessa Feltz on Celebrity Big Brother
Vanessa Feltz: "Hardly survived the experience" of being on reality TV
Poland is a strongly Catholic country, so the success of reality television, with its sexual content, has sparked fierce debate.

However, TV stations have defended their shows against accusations of sensationalism. "One cannot hold it against us that we deliver our viewers their favourite entertainment," says Zygmunt Solorz, Polsat's president.

"We won't show any sexual scenes in Amazons, even if there are some."

Condemnation

There has been condemnation of reality television in the United Kingdom too.

Vanessa Feltz, after spending a mere four days on the BBC/Channel 4 co-production of Celebrity Big Brother, was vociferous in her criticism.

She variously described being on the show as "damaging", "ridiculously intense" and "unnerving".

Feltz said that she "hardly survived the experience" of living with five other celebrities, including Anthea Turner, Claire Sweeney, Jack Dee, Chris Eubank and Keith Duffy.

And novelist Germaine Greer, writing recently in The Guardian, described Big Brother 2 as "about as dignified as looking through the keyhole in your teenage child's bedroom door".

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