Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Real reality TV

A former kidney patient (one of the lucky ones who found a donor) comments on Dutch TV's De Grote Donorshow, and she's for it.

What I think a lot of people don't understand is the point of the show, which as the HuffPo article points out is to highlight the desperate lack of kidney donors. The show will be broadcast by the BNN channel, which was essentially founded by Bart De Graaff, who suffered a kidney illness as a child which stopped his growth when he was nine. He suffered kidney problems all his life, had one transplant rejected, and died in 2002 waiting for another, at the age of only 35. Five years later the station is still a sort of shrine to him. They changed their name from BNN (Brutal News Network) to BNN (Bart's Neverending Network) in his honour. Footage of him features regularly.

That's the context in which the donor show has to be seen. Far from being exploitative, it's polemical. It's not trash TV, it's advocacy.

Bart De Graaff, unbiggifiable

UPDATE: It was all a hoax, designed to focus attention on the availability of donor organs. Which it did rather well, I'd say. "If the Big Donor Show had been real, it would indeed have been shocking but facts illustrate that the reality is far more so," said Paul Romer, managing director of Endemol Netherlands. (quote from The Guardian)