Big Brother ban for Bucks Ad's Booker

Booker: invested in a costume

Big Brother-mad journalist Sarah Booker was heartbroken when she was banned from appearing as a pundit on the show – because she is a reporter.

Booker was called the night before she was due to appear as a “super fan” on a Sunday morning spin-off programme of the Channel 4 reality TV show called Big Brother’s Little Brother.

The reason given by the researcher who telephoned her was “because you are a journalist you cannot be affiliated with the programme”.

Booker, a community reporter on the Buckinghamshire Advertiser, said: “I repeatedly told BBLB about my job and had been told three times it wasn’t an issue, only to be told less than 24 hours before the show that it wouldn’t be happening. Initially I was extremely upset and now I’m just angry. Why is it that journalists can’t be treated as people in their personal lives?” Booker, 33, considers herself something of an expert on Big Brother after making reality TV the subject of her dissertation when she studied communication at Bournemouth University.

After applying to be a super fan, Booker had a phone interview and was invited to an audition with 33 other enthusiasts. She didn’t get through initially, but was called on Friday when someone dropped out and was asked if she would appear on the show.

At each stage Booker says she told Big Brother production staff that she was a local newspaper reporter. She even invested £30 in producing a costume to wear on the show.

Booker said: “When I was told I was going to go on, my news editor thought I was on something because I was running around the office like a demented child. I texted everyone I have ever known in my life to say I would be going on it.

“I burst into tears on Saturday night because I was so disappointed.”

A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “The super fan is really something for the viewers to get involved with throughout the duration of the series.

Although we have journalists on the show quite a lot, we felt it was inappropriate to have a journalist as a super fan because it didn’t give a regular viewer a chance to do it.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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