The promo said that the Big Brother compound would be going into “shutdown” after a crew member came into contact with a known case of COVID-19.
“A Big Brother crew member has been exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. The decision has been made to pause the game,” host Sonia Kruger explained.
The contestants quickly clocked that the cameras in the backyard were gone, and others inside the house were no longer following their every move.
“The Big Brother house will be placed in lockdown and the game will be suspended,” Big Brother informed the housemates about the situation in the Diary Room. No challenges, no tasks, no evictions . . . not all bad.
Cameras rigged throughout the house would be able to continue recording the contestants during lockdown, sans operators — or else we wouldn’t have a shutdown episode!
It looks so far like it’ll be a lot of the contestants looking confused and ogling the cameras to figure out if anyone is on the other side. “Is anyone operating this?” Mat Garrick asked an outdoor camera. “Give me a clue what’s going on,” Daniel pleaded, whistling and clicking at one in the kitchen.
7NEWS.com.au reported on the lockdown on Mar 22, with a spokesperson for production company Endemol Shine saying that the crew member was “feeling well and showing no symptoms of the virus, however is being tested and is now self-isolating”.
The lockdown lasted for just two days, and ended when the crew member’s COVID-19 test came back negative. “We will resume filming Big Brother tomorrow,” Endemol Shine told 7NEWS.com.au on Mar 23.
While contestants on the series are usually cut off from news from the outside world, the contestants were notified about COVID-19 before the lockdown. Talking to 7NEWS.com.au, Endemol Shine said: “Endemol Shine Australia takes the health and safety of our crew and contestants extremely seriously. We are working in line with current guidelines and production on Big Brother is continuing. Housemates have been brought across the current situation and we are in constant contact with the families to keep all involved up to date.”
Sonia Kruger told Sunrise in March that the show’s executive producer answered the housemates’ questions through the Diary Room, but the exchange was not filmed. “They were shocked,” she said, but added that they were largely upset about whether NRL and AFL matches would continue.
Shooting for the Big Brother revival began in late February and wrapped in early April. Australia’s borders shut due to the pandemic in mid-March, although the first recorded case in Australia was in late January. It’s one of a number of Australian shows that needed to dramatically change production due to COVID-19, including MasterChef, which implemented social distancing measures midway through the season.
We’ll find out exactly how COVID-19 impacts the Big Brother housemates on Sunday.
Big Brother airs on Channel Seven, Sunday to Tuesday. Join us at our Facebook group Pass the Popcorn to gab about all things reality TV.
Image Source: Channel Seven