Sunday, February 27, 2005

DRBB: Jones wins in finale which leaves 16 dead.

Jones wins
Jones this morning, posing for photographers with boyfriend, Dane (rear).

It was the finale the country and ultimately the world was waiting for. At 3.00am this morning Glen Jones became the first winner of Channel 4's hugely popular and controversial Death Row Big Brother.

Channel 4's show has became the most-talked about television programmes ever, as a group of convicts currently awaiting execution from around Prisons in the UK were sealed off from the outside world in a high security house without television, radio, internet and much in the way of food.

What they did have was a battery of cameras following their every move, with ‘contestant’ facing public vote each week to decide which of them would be executed next.

Sticking closely to the format of the nine previous weeks, the finale was due to air at 10.00pm following the 9.00pm show, which saw Glenn Jones secure a 53% share of the vote, and his freedom.

In line with the rules of the show, Jones had one hour to 'dispose' of runner up Donald Masterson in a manner of his choosing. The majority of pundits, making predictions throughout the week, suggested Jones would garrote Masterson with a piece of clothing worn by Masterson.

Odds on favourite were red socks worn by Masterson during the now ‘infamous’ Mathew Wheatly incident.

However, events quickly unfolded that neither the legion of TV pundits, or the production company behind DRBB, Abortion Tickles could possibly have predicted.

At precisely 9.21pm, several groups of masked armed gunmen staged a coordinated attack; simultaneously taking control of the Studio 1B from which the DRBB show is presented and the DRBB house itself.

Within moments of both locations falling into the hands of the gunmen, a representative from the team in control of Studio 1B took presenter Davina FuCall’s microphone, removed his balaclava and preceded to make a statement direct to camera.

The man claimed to be Raymond Raymond, leader of the militant arm of the pressure group Ethical TV Now!

At 9.30pm Raymond stated that the militia group had only one demand, and that was for Channel 4 and the DRBB production to immediately stop broadcasting.

Before switching off the microphone, Raymond confirmed that they would give Channel 4 and Abortion Tickles five minutes to comply with their demand.

“If the demand has not been met”, Raymond said, “Then the first of our hostages will die”.

Ethical TV Now is a pressure group, which has been campaigning tirelessly for an end to what their spokesperson Barney Gedge has described as,

"A systematic deconstruction of public service broadcasting to be replaced by government sanctioned slaughter hours"

ETVN's campaign literature is stark and to the point

ETVN, claim that the current spate of the extreme programme format, which they say started in 1999 with the BBC's first series of 'Castrato Academy', is currently a bigger threat to the future of this country than the escalating violence in the UK’s Australasian colonies.

Castrato Academy aired as part of the BBC’s 'Culture Aid' season, and dealt with the efforts of British Opera Houses to repopulate the declining numbers of these unique singers.

15 pre-pubescent boys were castrated live on air and then trained to become future stars of the Opera circuit. Castro's have been officially listed as an endangered species since 1991.

Although ETVN have never been involved previously in direct action, Gedge did signal the changing attitudes of the organisation as recently as last week Tuesday.

Following the announcement that the former deputy producer of DRBB, Morton Jaeger, had been found dead in his north London flat, Gedge was asked by BBC 2 ‘s New News team to comment on behalf of ETVN. During the interview Gedge stated,

"There are factions within ETVN who will welcome this news (Jaegers death). And believe this is the route the organisation needs to go down to get things done"

When pressed to explain what he meant by, 'get things done', Gedge became reluctant to comment further. He did however add this now ominous warning,

"ETVN is preparing to display a significant show of strength on Friday, and whatever happens, the blood is on Abortion Tickles hands"

Despite being given five minutes to shut down the broadcast from the DRBB studio and house, it was clear that Channel 4 would never submit to the demand. It has been well reported that Channel 4 has a corporate policy, which clearly states that in the event of a hostage situation, or terror attack during a live game show broadcast, there will be no negotiation, under any circumstances.

So it was at 9.35pm that Raymond directed one of his militia team to remove a teenage boy from the family enclosure and had him positioned on ground, directly in front of cameras.

Raymond simply said, "Stop broadcasting", before he shot the boy at point blank range in the back of the head.

The boy was later confirmed that evening to be 14-year-old Clive Masterson, nephew to DRBB contestant, Donald Masterson.

Police today said that Channel 4 and Abortion Tickles decision to continual to broadcast was a 'gross miscalculation'. They went to suggest that the ensuing bloodshed in the DRBB house was as a direct result of the broadcast of the Clive Masterson murder.

Whilst being held at gunpoint in the DRBB, both Masterson and Jones were able to view what was happening in the studio via a live link to the house plasma TV screen. (The TV appeared as part of the finale, just moments before the gunmen burst into the house).

Shocked by the brutal murder of his nephew, Masterson flew into a bloody rage, over powering the nearest militiaman and seizing control of his weapon. He immediately shot four more of his captures before the remaining three laid down their weapons and surrendered to the Masterson and Jones, both of whom were now armed;

Martin Cobain, cultural commentator for BBC talking head series, ‘Oh yeah, I remember that', described the dramatic events in the house,

"It were like summit outta Die 'ard or summit, ‘e got the shoota off the one blerk and then blam blam blam. It were ace"

Upon viewing the live events in the DRBB house Raymond selected a further a family member, this time June Jones, Glenn Jones’s sister and presenter Davina FuCall to be next for execution.

However before their execution could take place armed police stormed the studio.

In the ensuing gun battle several of the gunmen were fatally wounded, including Raymond Raymond.

There were also a number of civilian casualties, who included Natalie Crenshaw (21) Daughter of Alex Crenshaw, Masterson’s final victim prior his arrest in 2003 and presenter Davina FuCall (46).

Both were immediately rushed to hospital, unfortunately Crenshaw died on route and FuCall shortly after going into emergency surgery.

protesters arrested at DRBB
Police removes protesters before DRBB aired at 8.00pm

By 10.10pm the finale of DRBB had already seen a total twelve deaths. Despite this the show was still being broadcast live to the nation.

At 10.30pm the police made an official statement. DCI Andrew Cryer, of the Metropolitan Police told reporters on site at the DRBB studio in London’s dockland,

"The terror organisation known as Ethical TV Now! or ETVN has made a series of attacks on the Death Row Big Brother show, which have resulted in casualties. The situation at the DRBB studio is now contained and trained police negotiators are moving into position at the DRBB house. We will let you know more when we know more ourselves"

DI Cryer went to add that key members of ETVN's political wing had been arrested and were now awaiting interview at several police stations in and around the capital.

As news of the events were broadcast on both TV, radio and internet channels, DRBB's rating share grew to a record breaking 95% by on Friday.

The first broadcast report of the crisis at DRBB on American Television came at 4pm (EST) on the news channel CNN. The CNN ‘exclusive’ coverage soon promoted other channels to follow suit. The allure of terrorist action, a siege, and live coverage, combined with a game show element meant that as America moved in it's early evening programming nothing could compete.

Lavern Armstrong, senior analyst for US ratings giant 'Wuz'on?’ said that the finale of DRBB: UK (as it's known in America) had,

"a more magnetic effect than both the mars landings and the assassination of late President Sly Stallone by the US group ‘Star Trek Renewal’ at a conference on the Australasian crisis held at the UN in June last year.

By midnight the DRBB house became unusually quiet. Tension between the Masterson and Jones was remarkably subdued despite the fact the Jones knew that he had won and all his previous criminal convicts were effectively quashed, unlike Masterson who was now facing the death penalty as soon as the siege came to an end.

Psychologists Marvin McMahon explained during one of the one of the many 'PsyOps' segments broadcast throughout the show, that,

"What we have here is a man (Jones) who has become so detached from the rules of society that naturally he does not believe he will be set free by the show",

McMahon went on to explain "Jones would rather fight his way out with Masterson, who in effect was his true nemesis, rather than risk trusting the TV producers and play within the rules of the show".

McMahon concluded that viewers could reasonably expect the siege to last at least another few hours whilst police attempted to talk the pair into surrendering.

It was an hour rather than hours before police concluded that the negotiations were leading nowhere and decided to storm the house.

As DCI Cryer later explained, "We decided worst case scenario was that both contestants and all three hostages would be killed”, Cryer added, “Seeing as how the hostages were in effect terrorists we figured, so what?"

When pressed further on whether they expected casualties from the police team who were about to raid the house, Cryer replied,

"Absolutely, our boys are trained killers, I can guarantee casualties" Once Cryer the question had been rephrased, Cryer confirmed, "The only casualty we expect to take is the odd sprained finger from all the pulling of triggers."

At 1.15am a team of the police's anti-terrorist unit had entered the house. Within 3 minutes they had regained complete control.

Whilst Masterson and Jones were captured unharmed, the gun battle did see the deaths of all three hostages.

DCI Cryer described the operation as 'textbook'.

hostages lead to safety
Hostages are lead to safety by 'anti-terrorist' unit

DRBB eventually went off the air for a period of 15 minutes between 1.30 -1.45am.

The ‘stand-in’ presenter duo, BJ and Roger from ITV's hit crime investigation series, 'Pike Watch' had explained to viewers exactly what had just occurred in the DRBB house over the past four hours before assuring;

"The execution of Masterson will be taking place as scheduled, and the live feed from the house will be back on just as soon as the boys in blue finish scrapping those wacko extremist freedom haters off the floors and walls"

The execution of Masterson and release of Jones went ahead at 2.30am. Jones eventually walked free from the DRBB house with at 2.58am with Mastersons’ head in his holdall.

The legality of Jones's release has prompted heated debate in the House of Commons today. However, the Prime Minister, Lawrence Thomas stated before a packed house of MPs that Jones would not face additional charges for killing the terrorists as he had acted in self defense, and that his liberty would hold in accordance with the legislation they had passed weeks before the show began to air.

“The deaths on Friday were regrettable”, PM Lawrence said, before adding, “But with a worldwide audience of thirty-four billion people tuning into a British television channel on Saturday morning, well that is something we should all be proud of”.

In fact by the 3.00am release of Jones, DRBB had achieved an audience of just above thirty-five billion people, beating it’s nearest rival, World Cup 2004 by a billion, replacing it in the record books.

Despite all the events in and around the Death Row Big Brother series and finale, production company Abortion Tickles has continuously declined to comment at length.

As for DRBB mastermind Mark Canttrell, when asked this morning by reports camped outside his house, what he though of Fridays historic show he said simply,

"Well, I think it went better than we could have expected"

masterson executed
Masterson: The runner up of the 1st series of DRBB

The new series of Death Row Big Brother is slated to begin airing early next month.

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