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Hertsmere Borough Council approves even more Big Brother
Fireworks and queues of fans with placards will become an even more common sight after Big Brother received permission for another ten shows a year.
Hertsmere Borough Council last night granted Endemol and Channel Five permission to extend the reality television show for the next five years.
The planning committee also granted the producers permission to run 32 live eviction shows per year at Elstree Studios.
Of these shows, 14 would be filmed during the week.
Big Brother was previously allowed permission to film 22 live eviction shows a year.
However it regularly had its written requests to exceed that amount granted.
Richard Ager, senior legal and business affairs executive, at Endemol UK spoke on behalf of the producers and Channel Five during the meeting at the Civic Offices in Elstree Way.
He explained changing pressures on the broadcaster had led to the format being altered.
He said: “Channel Five took over the show in 2005 and it continues to be commercial success, which we’re very grateful for.
“It is vital for the longevity of the show that it is constantly revitalised and refreshed.
“The major change is that we’re going to have two versions of Celebrity Big Brother per year as well as a shortened version of the original classic show.
“This means, as the celebrity shows are shorter, we need more evictions to get more people out of the house in a shorter amount of time. There will also be more launches and more finales.”
He added this format had been in place for the past few years but granting planning permission would “set it in stone.”
The shows would also finish later, at 11pm, because the 10pm to 11pm slot was best for Channel Five in terms of competition and broadcasts had to be live.
Residents would be informed of filming schedules before each series and pyrotechnics would be prerecorded, which minimised noise while still looking good on television.
He added: “Endemol, the council and the police have made considerable effort to manage production and reduce disturbances as much as we can and we will continue to do so.”
The council's planning officer Scott Laban said he recommended the extra shows should be given permission, since the number of complaints from residents had been very small in recent years.
He added: “Council officers consider the increased live audience acceptable, on the condition on management plan, submitted before each series, contains a 24-hour phone line for residents to call with complaints.
“We also require details of the type of pyrotechnics to be used.”
Speaking in favour of the application, Councillor Seamus Quilty said: “The whole site has become more soundproof and has expanded over the years in a relatively sympathetic way on behalf of the residents.
“During the last series there were only two complaints to the producers.
“We haven’t got the complaints, we haven’t got those letters of objection from residents, so therefore I will be supporting the officers' recommendations.”
Planning committee vice-chairman Cllr Martin Worster added: "The producers have a gold medal for noise reduction.
"It's a good thing for the town and long may it continue."
In a joint statement, Channel Five and Endemol said: “Big Brother has worked closely with various council departments, local police and residents over the years to manage its eviction shows at Elstree Studios and to minimise any disturbance to nearby households.
"It will continue to do so going forward.”
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