The average show takes members of the public and sends them on a journey. We love to follow that because it's a cracking story which engages our emotion. It's not unlike a soap opera, except that these are real people and you get to vote them out one by one. That simple premise dominates everything from Britain's Got Talent to Big Brother and The Apprentice. What it creates is an extraordinarily powerful story arc where we get involved in the characters. That's why we watch it.
Reality television is a completely constructed premise. None of the people would be in it if we were just showing their normal lives. But what it does do is take human flesh and blood and challenges it in situations that bring out a person's true personality. So what flows from this constructed premise is extremely real. That's why shows work, because the public is after authenticity… They want to support people with talent and for them to win, but they punish pretension and two-facedness. - Peter Bazalgette