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Press release

  • 19 January 2006

Take a closer look at Big Brother

Through the rise of "reality TV" and the popularity of programmes such as Big Brother, we have become a nation of Peeping Toms.

But what, culturally, has led us down the shady path of voyeurism? How have paintings and films influenced our current obsession? An open lecture at the University of Sussex on Saturday (January 21, 2006) will attempt to reveal all.

Nannette Aldred, lecturer at the University's Centre for Continuing Education and convener of film studies course, will use Michael Powell's dark and disturbing 1960 film, Peeping Tom, to consider cinema as a voyeuristic experience. The film is about a young photographer's fascination in the look of fear on the faces of his murder victims.

Dr Kate O'Riordan, lecturer in media studies, will look back at the first Big Brother series of 2000, when the programme seemed to offer a genuine interactive experience and viewers had some control over the narrative.

The lecture, entitled 'Voyeurism in Visual Representation; a history of the Peeping Tom', will then be followed by discussion around a set of issues and themes, such as surveillance, the representation of everyday life, and the role new technologies play in enabling us to view other people's lives.

The free event takes place in the Education Development Building, Room 121, 10.00am-01.00pm at the University of Sussex. For more information, see, or phone 01273 873744

Notes for editors

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune or Jacqui Bealing, tel: 01273 67888, email

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