Celebrity Recession?

Does the cast of Celebrity Big Brother show the recession has created a new kind of budget celebrity?

amy childs Big Brother Celebrity Celebrity Big Brother danielle fenton Jedward made in chelsea The Only Way is Essex X Factor

Has the concept of celebrity changed? As someone who lives and breathes celebrity gossip, I’ve noticed that tabloids, which used to be filled with the beautiful and the damned, are increasingly full of an array of reality stars, who are famous for simply existing. People like Mark from The Only Way Is Essex and Caggie from Made In Chelsea have become ‘celebrities’ for simply chatting with their nan or gossiping with their mates.


Nothing like Nanny Pat’s sausage plaits

This is no bad thing; their celeb status signifies a new relationship between the British media and the public. The papers only fill their pages with these people because we like to read about them.

Yet, there’s no denying that real celebrities still exist. A certain set of Hollywood superstars still give off an air of aloof luxury; their lives seem far away from the reality us normal folk occupy. But it’s the ‘celebs’ whose lives we are able to emulate that grab our attention. We certainly don’t have the money to splash out on a designer wardrobe for our children like the Beckhams, but are only too pleased to learn about the lives of X Factor hopefuls, as they live out their dreams.

Illustration by Esther Harding

I don’t think that the replacement of larger-than-life figures infers a ‘dumbing down’ of the media, but rather signifies a new era in celebrity – one which speaks to and for the people, and a society recovering from economic breakdown. Take the TOWIE and MIC; sure Mark and Lauren and co. might be famous for being well – normal, but we can relate to their heartbreak, worries and desires during their two minutes of fame.

In times past, becoming a celebrity did require a talent but today that all seems to have changed. Is this an emergence of a different kind of category of fame? Not A-List, not Z-list, but celebrities whose lifestyle we can emulate, and people who we can even meet just by frequenting their area. The latest cast of Celebrity Big Brother, which includes reality TV stars including Amy Childs, Jedward and Kerry Katona, seems to suggest that these people are the new face of celebrity. And despite dismissing them as famous for doing nothing, I’m sure the viewing figures will prove you’ve all been watching.