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Monday, 17 September, 2001, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Attacks force Big Brother dilemma
Work on the TV gallery for South Africa's Big Brother
Racks of cameras observe Big Brother contestants
Producers of reality TV show Big Brother around the world have had to decide whether to tell contestants about the US attacks.

Contestants in Big Brother are kept isolated and are not normally given any news of the outside world.

Inhabitants of Big Brother houses in Belgium, Denmark and South Africa will not be told the news, it has been confirmed.


This is such a great disaster, it has so much influence on society, that we decided to break the rules and tell people

Spokeswoman for Big Brother Netherlands

But contestants in The Netherlands and the US - where a housemate's cousin has been missing since the attack - have been informed.

In The Netherlands - where Big Brother originated - a spokeswoman said they decided that the contestants had a "right" to know what had happened.

"This is such a great disaster, it has so much influence on society, that we decided to break the rules and tell people," she said.

Panic

There are reports that production on Big Brother 2 in the US is continuing, though it is not clear when, or if, CBS will air the next episode.

In Belgium a psychologist advised against telling the 12 people in their house.

"If you show them these images, you immediately create a panic situation because they won't know how things will evolve," said a spokeswoman for Belgium's Kanaal 2, which shows the programme.

She added that the producers have checked with contestants' families to make sure that they had no ties to victims of the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Brian Dowling
Brian Dowling won UK Big Brother 2
A psychologist will be on hand to tell contestants about the attacks when they are voted off the show which began on 3 September.

Big Brother in South Africa also checked with families before deciding to withhold the news from contestants.

A spokeswoman for the Danish show said they had worried about broadcasting the impact of hearing about the attack on contestants.

They intend to edit the reaction to the news sympathetically and will show it "in the coming days".

No one decided to leave because of the news, she said, and there will be no further updates for contestants.


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