Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on globetrotting, avoiding windows and television's obsession with celebrities

Here we go again. The whisper in telly-world is that the Beeb is considering a “celebrity offshoot” of The Traitors. Ye gods and little fishes. Do they not understand that the entire appeal of reality shows is that viewers can identify with the ordinary people who are contestants?

Buzz off, Carson

In The Traitors, viewers see their own hubris, shallowness, duplicity and greed reflected in a bunch of people like them, aiming to achieve stardom and win a sum of money that could transform their lives. Replace ordinary contestants with pop stars, politicians and suchlike and you risk losing far more than you gain.

This big-name fad is somehow irresistible to programme-makers. But it is a recent thing and we must be grateful that the best of television was made and preserved long before the celebrity-obsession took over. In 1969, for example, the BBC produced its magnificent series, Civilisation, in which Western art, architecture and philosophy were discussed by Kenneth Clark who was a highbrow art historian but little-known to the public. If it were remade today it would be Civilisation with Ant and Dec.