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Saturday, 19 August, 2000, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Bishop attacks Big Brother
The participants left
Five participants are left inside the house
A senior churchman has criticised Channel 4's Big Brother programme for creating a "human zoo".

The Rt Rev James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, said although the participants were volunteers, their treatment bordered on exploitation.


It is a pretty high price to pay for entertainment

Rt Rev James Jones
He expressed concern about the effect the programme was having on both those inside the house and those watching them.

Ten strangers entered the Big Brother house in Bow, east London on 14 July. They have no access to the outside world and are watched by scores of TV cameras, picking up their every move.

"What they are doing in the end is colluding with the creation of a human zoo where the human beings are trapped in a confined space under continual observation and occasionally fed treats by Big Brother," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Big Brother contestant Nick Bateman
"Nasty" Nick was booted out the back door
"Responsible broadcasters should prepare themselves for this sort of thing. Listening to Nick it seemed to me there were real concerns," Dr Jones said.

"Who knows what the long term consequences are going to be?

"I wonder how Nick will actually cope with the hostile public reaction and the hostile press he is encountering.

"It is a pretty high price to pay for entertainment."

His comments followed the huge media furore over the expulsion from the house on Thursday of "nasty" Nick Bateman - dubbed the most hated man in Britain - for breaking the show rules.

Support offered

But Channel 4 has defended the Big Brother experiment.

Spokesman Matt Baker said all the contestants who had so far left the house had been "amazingly positive" about the experience.


The programme has not manipulated him [Nick] in any way

Channel 4
He said Nick had been offered full support since being kicked out of the house, including access to a psychologist.

"He is clearly readjusting to life on the outside. We would have to acknowledge that he has been a little surprised, should we say, by the scale of reaction to the programme," Mr Baker said.

"He went into the house on a voluntary basis. The programme has not manipulated him in any way.

"He has shown his character, to a certain extent, to the nation," he added.

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