Before we delve into this article, I’d like to just give a quick introduction to the writer of this piece, and the newest contributor to the Babestation Blog, Bob Leggit. Bob is most often associated with music blog, Planet Botch. He writes about musical instruments, technology and other paraphernaliam and is well-versed in areas such as internet culture (especially Twitter).
It is Bob’s writing on Babestation and the babe shows that brought him to our attention. He showed an historic knowledge of the babe show industry in the UK, and we just knew there was a potential partnership waiting to happen! Enjoy his first piece below – Blog Admin.
Babestation’s Secret Audience
A quick look across the Internet is all it takes to confirm that Babestation has a truly massive fanbase. But the UK’s pioneering interactive adult chat channels also have a much less obvious audience. The ‘secret’ audience.
The ‘secret’ audience is normally shrouded by the ever-present bustle of the shows’ greatest enthusiasts. But it’s nevertheless an audience that validates the Babestation story as one of the most remarkable in modern TV history.
So what sort of people are taking notice of programmes like Babestation, Babenation and Meet The Babes? Do you, for example, need to have attained a certain level of horniness? Well if you have, happy days, obviously. But Babestation is special within its genre. And part of the reason it’s special, is the diversity of its audience. Babestation connects with a far broader section of the public than one might expect.
Once upon a time, adult services were locked away in a little closet. No one really talked about them. They were, in many cases, literally hidden. You had to go and find them. Babestation changed all that.
Babestation moved a fully interactive adult entertainment experience into the realm of UK television. First to the Sky platform (circa 2002), and then, progressively to Freeview. By Christmas 2008, Babestation was broadcasting explosive, interactive, sexual entertainment, with female nudity, through the night, to the BBC licence holder. Not only was this a landmark – it had, less than a decade earlier, seemed all but impossible.
But as Babestation changed the landscape of UK television, the shows were also changing the way people thought about adult entertainment. The way adult content was accepted. And by the night of 18th March 2011, when a Babestation-hosted Comic Relief sketch went out on BBC1, the reality of Babestation’s mainstream recognition had been well and truly affirmed.
Not that Comic Relief’s screening of light entertainment icons Ant and Dec, alongside Babestation groundbreaker and First Lady Dani O’Neal, was any great surprise. It was one of many instances in which Babestation has been welcomed into the mainstream of British television and media. Babestation has enhanced and even inspired entertainment shows, underpinned documentary… It has even, courtesy of one Miss Daryl Morgan, found its way onto Channel 4 for out-humouring a prankster.
So what does this tell us? Is it just a sign that mainstream TV stations recognise and take note of Babestation? I believe it goes a lot deeper than that. Mainstream television is not a place for content that has little value, and no significant audience. It likes to focus on things people know and care about. So Babestation’s inclusions in mainstream programming can be seen as a measure of general public awareness and interest.
Looking back on the Ant and Dec sketch as an example, the short intro revealed an enormous amount about public awareness. Dec Donnelly introduced the sequence with a very simple line:
“…Actually, there is one more place we could try. Follow me…”.
There was no further information. After an immediate cut to the Babestation set, viewers were expected to know where Ant and Dec were, what Babestation is and does, and to get the humour. The sequence entirely depended on the audience already knowing Babestation. And this, remember, was a very large mainstream audience.
Delve deeper into the Web, and you notice that Babestation has come to be freely talked about, by a wide range of people. Not necessarily horny people, and not necessarily people who are discussing the adult element of the shows. Just people who recognise the programmes, find them interesting or entertaining, and bring them into conversations. Male, female, 9-to-5ers, celebrities, different sexual orientations…
For example, when comedy star Alan Carr expressed on social media that he had a favourite Babestation girl (Ree Petra), he revealed his own interest in the shows. But he also prompted responses from his followers, both male and female, some of whom, in turn, indicated their recognition of Babestation. Alongside the many other acknowledgements from various areas of culture and media, this was a perfect illustration of what makes Babestation special. As I write, the Chatty Man’s original tweet has been retweeted a rather apt 69 times.
And that’s perhaps a good point to remind ourselves of the plot. Babestation is, at root, a powerful adult entertainment service, and people are not under any illusions about that. So how has it gained affection in areas where other adult providers seem unlikely to be accepted?
It’s impossible to speak for a nation, of course, and I wouldn’t try. But there are some important factors to consider. Babestation is not just a genre pioneer and a very well-recognised brand. It’s remained individual and positive. It maintains strong and informative communication with its audience. It’s continually evolved, to the extent that its history can be charted by its major format innovations. It’s renowned for its lively feel and friendly face. It raises curiosity. And importantly, it’s a safe haven from doom and gloom.
The on-air communication in particular has struck a chord in the mainstream. That’s been evident when Babestation presenting clips have been shown to a studio audience. If you’re a long-time fan of Babestation, I’m sure you’ll have a number of favourite presenting moments, where the girls have made you smile, or laugh. But it’s not until you hear how a large group of people react to some of these live snippets that you really get a sense of how universal the connection can be. If you’ve watched the shows with the sound on mute, you could have missed a lot more than you realise!
There is, I have to admit, an irony to the title of this post. Because whilst the murmur of Babestation’s ‘secret’ audience is normally eclipsed by the front line of the fanbase, it’s not really a secret audience at all. It’s a regular television audience acknowledging Babestation as a part of TV culture. It only appears secret, or invisible, because the enthusiasm from the channels’ core fanbase is so great, and always occupies the foreground.
Television does have the power to change things, and Babestation has certainly changed the status and acceptability of adult entertainment. But it’s people who have the ultimate power. Babestation has only been able to make TV sexier because people have welcomed it. Supported it. Argued in its favour. Recognised the challenges it’s faced on its journey. And of course, taken the decision to enjoy it to the full as customers. It’s thanks to everyone who’s played a part in that, however small, that UK television has an unashamed haven of pleasure among its treasures.
If you have a soft spot for Babestation, you’re in good and diverse company. But whether you realise it or not, you’ve probably also helped make UK television a sexier place. Keep up the good work!
Written by Bob Leggit
Babestation Blog Editor