A cannily timed DVD to mark the end of an era for a show that has been derided by many, but loved through good times and bad by a loyal fanbase.
Based on the proximity of the release date to the end of Big Brother 11, I had my doubts about whether this could be the definitive story of the series over its 11 years. When I got it in my hands and saw the 3-hour running time, I was pleasantly surprised. But having watched it I was right to be suspicious, and it's worth managing your expectations before you buy this DVD that it probably isn't quite what you hoped it would be.
The majority of the 3-hour running time is taken up with 3 'classic' episodes. Classic status is naturally in the eye of the beholder, but it's perhaps telling that Davina - who knows the show as well as anyone out there - has chosen a really great episode from series 5 when Michelle and Emma moved into the bedsit. It still makes for great viewing. The other 2 apparently fan-chosen episodes date from as recently as series 9 (the housemates receive a series of electric shocks) and series 11 (robots take over the house). Both are fun episodes, if not quite as beloved as Fight Night or the BB1 Nick confrontation, but to have them take centre stage on this commemorative disc can't help but feel a little disappointing.
What the majority of fans probably want to experience with this DVD is a celebration of 11 years of this show - the gloriously funny, and frequently moving 'moments' and memorable quotes which have become iconic over the years. This DVD tries to shoehorn these in by representing each series via a 'montage' of blink-and-you-miss-them moments either lifted directly from or very similar to those shown at the end of each series. The real casualties in this approach are the first 4 series, which are each represented via 1-minute montages. The later 7 series are each represented with slightly more footage, but collectively all 11 montages tally up to 45 minutes.
You simply can't cram 11 series' worth of viewing gold into 45 minutes of montage, overlaid with music that in most cases diminishes the context or timing of the iconic moments. I recognise that it's a difficult job trying to condense thousands of hours of footage into a definitive DVD that will please everyone, but to give such disrespect to the early years of the show (seriously; 4 years in 4 minutes), and to completely ignore its equally enjoyed spin-off show Celebrity Big Brother, is a real missed opportunity.
If you're a fan of the show this DVD is better than nothing, and for that reason I rate it at 3 stars, as it's a pleasant enough trip down Memory Lane for the price. It just could have been so much more, and I hope someday somebody sees fit to commemorate this popular culture landmark with greater affection.