The Patch

May 29, 2007

Tuesday 29th May 2007.

Filed under: Celebrity/TV,International News — Claire @ 3:50 pm

So, this week sees the return of Big Brother, and as acting Entertainment correspondant and a scarily huge fan of the show I will report on that tomorrow for you.

However, Big Brother isn’t the only reality TV show hitting headlines this week. No, some of you may have seen that a new Dutch show is causing a bit of a fuss, too.

It is what my esteemed manfriend calls, and I quote, “The second best TV show idea in the history of TV after Countdown”. But certain people don’t share his view. Politicians in The Netherlands have called for the channel BNN to be banned from showing a television show (devised by the makers of Big Brother, Endemol) where viewers can help to choose who recieves a dying woman’s kidney.

The woman, known only as Lisa, will have to choose between 3 recipients, and the audience will be able to text in advice on who she should choose during the 80 minute programme. And the idea is causing uproar both in it’s native country and elsewhere.

For good reason, obviously. Politicians from the ruling political party have spoken to condemn the show as “crazy”, and in the UK, it has been called “ethically unacceptable” by the ex-President of the UK Renal Association. And, whilst it’s unclear if ‘Lisa’ will be paid for her appearance, some say the programme is advocating the selling of organs and trivialising the serious issue of organ donation.

The programme’s broadcasters, BNN, however, have a different view. They say that their founder, Bart de Graaf, died 5 years ago after a life of kidney problems and that the programme will draw attention to the length of waiting for organs both in the Netherlands and abroad. They have a point. The chance of receiving a kidney (or other) organ from merely waiting on a list is much lower than the 33% chance the three possible recipients on the show will have. For them, it’s their only chance. The only difference, really, is that ‘Lisa’ will know her kidney’s recipient and will be able to see how much of a difference it will make to their lives with her own eyes before her own life is cut short.

Where one life is lengthened by the end of another, no matter what the circumstances, surely it’s a good thing? Yes, the vulgarity of a TV show probably isn’t the best way to go about it, with the texts sent to advise the donor probably netting the programme’s producers and broadcasters a fortune, but at the end of the day a life will be saved. It’s exploitation, without a doubt, but if it draws attention to organ donation, the lack of donors and the size of waiting lists at least some good should come of it.

But when people will live or die as a result of a TV show, is it going too far in the name of entertainment, or an innovative way of highlighting the alarming deficit of organ donations?


1 Comment »

  1. it kinda reminds me of the running man

    Comment by andy — May 31, 2007 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

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