There is a certain type of TV show I have never managed to get into. It started with Big Brother, and continued with Survivor, and I'm a Celebrity, and just kept going, like a pair of rabbits. I am not going to say I don't watch any reality TV. Come Dine With Me can generally be found somewhere on TV when I am pinned to the sofa by the baby. Masterchef is pretty harmless too.
But watching a group of people living their lives in a jungle, or a very strange house, and completing ludicrous tasks all in the quest for some kind of fame just doesn't do it for me.
They are unfortunately impossible to avoid completely. They actually make it into the news far more often than is necessary, and the poor miguided X Factor rejects or Big Brother winners or losers from years ago compete desperately for our attention, their dreams of genuine stardom crumbling.
There have been so many of them that you have to wonder why they keep going, why do people keep applying for these shows. To use a cliché they are used by the TV companies, chewed up and spat out.
But continue they do, and a few weeks ago France was forced to look at their celebrity obsessed culture more closely when one of the competitors on Koh Lanta, the equivalent of Survivor in format and trashiness, unexpectedly died during filming. The series was suspended immediately, the surviving contestants (get the irony there?) sent home, and for once we were able to think of one of the contestants as actually human, and not part of a freak show set up for our entertainment. His name was Gerald Babin, and he was 25.
And as is the unfortunate way of human nature, someone had to be blamed, and the finger was pointed by some at the show's on set doctor. Rather than wait for events to play out, and accept the possibility that there was nothing he could do, social media went into overdrive, and the 38 year old Dr Thierry Costa found himself at the centre of an uncontrolled mini-hysteria.
And the doctor, who, as far as I and any other member of the public know performed his duties to the best of his ability, as doctors do around the world, before losing his patient, has now killed himself. In his suicide note he blamed the fact that he had been unfairly blamed for the contestant's death, and said that even in death he does not want to return to France.
I am sad for these two people. One who, in his quest for fame had only fame in death. Had he stayed at home he may have died anyway, and no-one other than his family and friends would be aware of it. The other who tried to save his life, but was the victim of the blame game which seems to have sprung out of nowhere over the last couple of decades, coinciding with the access we all have to social media and 24 hour news and the sudden ability we all have now to write what we want and have it read by tens, hundreds, thousands of people.
TF1 has now apparently cancelled the show permanently. It is sad that it has taken the death of a contestant to make it do that. His death reminds us that the people who go on reality shows are human. His doctor's death should also be a reminder that, despite undeniable uses for social media, we do have a responsibility for what we say on here.