Secret Big Brother crisis talks revealed

 

Real world events intrude on reality TV on Sunday's episode of Big Brother, as the show is forced to suspend production due to a coronavirus infection scare.

This season of Big Brother started filming in late February - a time before the virus was declared a pandemic, if you can remember it.

The brief production shutdown you'll see in Sunday's episode happened on March 22 - but as host Sonia Kruger told news.com.au, by that stage the housemates were well aware of what had been happening in the outside world since they entered the house.

Sonia Kruger makes an announcement.
Sonia Kruger makes an announcement.

"When we got to about 100 cases in Australia, the decision was made that we needed to let them know. At that point the Prime Minister was holding press conferences and the situation was changing on a day-to-day basis. We brought them up to speed, let them know we'd been in contact with their family and friends and made sure everyone was OK," she explained.

"Then we got to about 370 cases - gatherings were being limited, Formula One was cancelled. We spoke to them again.

"Then when Australia hit 1000 cases, that's when things became really quite critical. Just about every other production shut down … but we were able to keep filming because our housemates had been quarantined."

The housemates had, but the crew members hadn't - and one person had been exposed to somebody with coronavirus, forcing the production to halt until their test results came back.

Cameras make a hasty exit from the perimeter.
Cameras make a hasty exit from the perimeter.

So Big Brother entered a strange, 48-hour limbo: All but the most essential crew were taken off the show, and the cast were left to sit inside the house and wonder if and when the game would resume.

During that time, the housemates spoke to loved ones on the outside - emotional phone calls that air on Sunday's episode. Contestant Sophie's call to her mum in the Netherlands is especially eerie: "I won't sugar-coat it," she tells her daughter. "It's bad."

The housemates' unique situation plays out like a tricky 'what would you rather?'. Is it better to experience a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic plugged into the 24/7 news cycle like the rest of us, or be safe in a bubble but given increasingly worrying updates about the outside world?

Kruger said that as the situation outside escalated, the information started to weigh heavily on the housemates.

Big Brother contestants discover that production will be suspended.
Big Brother contestants discover that production will be suspended.

"We start talking to them about borders being closed, entire cities like New York and Los Angeles being shut down …

"You'll see, some of the housemates handle that information better than others."

Big Brother continues 7pm Sunday on Seven.

Originally published as Secret Big Brother crisis talks revealed


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