AT LARGE: Mr Pink-Whistle interferes

AT LARGE: Mr Pink-Whistle interferes

Just so you know, I'm currently taking care of five children aged between four and 11 years (my cousin's kids) while Mum is on holiday, and the headline is the title of an Enid Blyton book one of them was reading. Last time I ask a six-year-old for column ideas.

It seems Mr Pink-Whistle is a half-human half-brownie, whatever that means (I've not read the book), and he has the ability to make himself invisible. Once invisible, he either makes mischief or helps people - I can't really tell. I gather it has something to do with throwing fish. Last time I ask a six-year-old to explain the plot of a book to me.

I have to admit though, that I'm intrigued by the idea. Taking a rough average of the book's themes as incomprehensibly babbled at me, I think Mr Pink-Whistle uses his magical powers to help the good guys by making mischief for the bad guys (I understand there's a character called Mr Crooky, who I'm betting is a bad guy). That could potentially be fun.

It would certainly have improved the Big Brother program that has just concluded on TV. I am one of the very few freaks in the country who managed, somehow, not to become obsessed with this show. I saw only a few minutes of one episode of Big Brother Uncut which was most definitely enough for me. However, the blanket hype for the show (across all commercial networks) made sure that I was kept in the loop about what was going on in the show. Some shows can come and go without my knowing they're on, just because I don't watch them. Big Brother was not like that.

I think I must be a freak, because it has been very difficult to find like-minded people to talk to. Every time I start a conversation with "who would want to watch 15 idiots hanging around a house all day", whoever I'm speaking to sheepishly admits that they too watch it "sometimes". Even crusty, cynical techo types tell me their Optus cable bandwidth is largely spent watching Big Brother when it's not on the TV. It's weird.

But given that I am outnumbered I am prepared to accept that I am a freak.

However, if you'd said to me that there was a character on Big Brother who could turn himself invisible and make mischief for the other characters - helping some, embarrassing others - I might have watched. If you'd told me his name was Mr Pink-Whistle, I'd have definitely tuned in.

Such a character would have made Big Brother much more like The Sims, the brilliant game in the vein of Sim City. You get to invent your own people, with their own foibles and oddities, then make them do strange things. Give them lots to drink, then don't tell them where the toilet is, that sort of thing.

I would suggest this as an idea for subsequent seasons of Big Brother. Add an extra character (possibly they would have to be computer generated) who could periodically become invisible and affect the actions of the others, undetected. You would need a certain degree of complicity on the part of the so-called "real" people on the show. From what I've heard, that can be arranged.

With my luck, the suggestion will go the other way. The creators of The Sims will introduce a new module that puts 15 shallow, crass exhibitionists in an enclosed house, gives them nothing interesting to do with no resources of imagination or creativity to think of anything interesting to do. Then you'll just have to watch them, only interacting with the game once a week to get rid of the characters - one at a time.

I don't get it. It sounds like a totally appalling video game. Why was it such a successful TV show?

Matthew JC. Powell needs to watch more TV. Send suggestions to

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