Reviews TV

Alarm call over reality gameshow

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 15 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:173
  1. Joanna Lyall, freelance journalist (
  1. London

    Doctors fear programme might have belittled dangers of sleep deprivation

    A reality television gameshow that deprived contestants of sleep for a week and subjected them to tests including electric shocks has been criticised for exploitation.

    Shattered—made by Endemol UK, which also produced Big Brother, and shown on Channel 4 last week (4 to 10 January inclusive)—featured 10 contestants, aged 19 to 33, living together in a purpose built studio in London's Docklands, where they underwent exercises designed to test memory, perception, reaction times, and mental agility. There was a “live elimination show” each evening to determine which contestant had lost the most function, and should therefore leave. The final remaining contestant would win the prize of a possible £100 000.

    Embedded Image

    Sleep challenge: the contestants of Shattered

    Credit: CHANNEL 4

    Contestants were allowed to sleep for up to two hours at a time, on the recommendation of the programme's medical advisers, but every “illegal sleep,” when a participant shut their eyes for …

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