Day 8 in the Big Brother house, and the MPs have been reduced to basic rations, well, benefits. Oh yes, sorry, wrong programme. What we're talking about today is Tower Block Of Commons – Channel 4's new show where politicians are forced to live in council blocks away for their usual luxuries, like BlackBerrys, expense accounts and any item of clothing that doesn't have a Primark label. It's kind of like Wife Swap, but with MPs (but without people from the blocks popping up on Question Time in return). And one of the most compelling shows on TV at the moment.
Two weeks in and we've had plenty of awkward moments. Labour's Austin Mitchell only agreeing to take part if he gets his own flat (and can bring his wife, presumably to help him plug in all the contraband technological equipment he's set up in his living room). The Lib Dem's Mark Oaten, he of rent boy fame, being asked by a group of rowdy teenagers if he was the one who 'did it with boys' (rather loved him for having a bit of a cry, then picking himself up and getting a good old-fashioned petition going to knock down the block). Conservative Tim Loughton asking the local newsagent if they had 'any Telegraphs?' (no, of course they didn't), then dancing (real, proper, bottom-lip-biting dad dancing) the night away with some kids at a house party. Mark berating his council house host for spending £40 a week on fags, then her Googling him and giving him an earful for blowing £244 on furnishing his flat in Vauxhall.
So have you been watching? And what do you think of the whole experiment? Are the MPs learning anything? Let us know...
- Suzy Cox, Features Director