back to article Endemol in 'win a kidney' TV show rumpus

Dutch TV station BNN is rejecting calls to axe a TV programme in which a terminally-ill woman will choose one of three contestants to receive her kidney, the BBC reports. The Big Donor Show - spawn of Big Brother creator Endemol - is due to screen this Friday. The 37-year-old organ benefactor, known only as Lisa, will select …


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  1. Anigel


    May as well put a load of people in a reality show and vote who gets killed instead of who gets voted off.

    Whatever sick git came up with this idea deseves to be voted off the planet for being inhuman

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What an abominable excuse for a disgusting and cynical money making exercise. 'tis a pity the contestants are so ill that they won't feel they can afford to explain where the kidney should go; with particular reference to where the sun fails to shine.

  3. A J Stiles

    It's disgusting

    What's really disgusting is that in the 21st Century, we still have organs suitable for transplant going to waste while people cry out for donors. Everyone should be seen as a potential donor, and healthy organs should be harvested as a matter of course with no opting out. Dead people don't need them -- living people do.

    No doubt there will be some who cite "religious objections"; to them, I can only offer this. If someone wished to sacrifice a virgin every Full Moon for "religious reasons", should we let them do so? Then why should we allow someone to commit an act of selfishness which goes beyond the grave for "religious reasons" ?

  4. Adrian

    Sign of the times

    Unfortunately this shows how low the TV station will go to get ratings. It's no wonder that I watch almost no TV anymore...

  5. Mark

    No Problem

    I don't see what all the fuss is about.

    A dying women has decided to give up her kidney, a group of ill people (probably retarded too) have decided they want it and a scumbag tv company has decided to wrap it up in a gameshow format that people love to hate.

    I think it's great when everybody screams about things like this and starts to preach morals. No-one is being forced to compete for the kidney. I mean what would they do - run around an assault course in the garden? Do press-ups or squats?

    It's obviously a bad idea for a tv program - with the only angle being human suffering. People should vote with their tv remotes.

    I think the Big Brother format would be great for deciding the next prime minister though. Imagine Gordon Brown handling the food budget....

    As for body organs etc... no government should have the right to mess with my body. F**k it, I'm selfish. When I die I will personally see to it that my kidney is so pickled with whiskey that it'll be no good to anyone.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good on em

    I'm going out on my own with this one, but I don't think that it is sick at all.

    Nobody is sending the 2 people that will not win to the grave; they will simply remain in the current queue for kidney transplants. This show, despite causing controversy, is doing exactly what it is meant do - in highlighting the inadequacies of the current problems that exist in the culture of transplants.

    Personally though, if I were to be terminally ill, I would love to be given the choice of who I would like to save with my left over body parts. We all state in our wills what parts of our estate goes to whom - we don't let 'officials' decide on who gets our house, car, toaster, or pet dog. What is sick about letting a dying woman choose who gets her kidneys?

  7. Nick Palmer

    Sickening idea for a program

    So, organ donation's now a popularity contest; fantastic. It isn't "opening a debate", it's a shameful exploitation of vulnerable and desperate people.

    BTW, Stiles, the suggestion that control over one's own body equates somehow to violence being done to someone else is at least as sickening, never mind utterly idiotic. If you can't see the difference, then you're not "offering" very much. You don't have a faith; fair enough. You do whatever you want with regard to your body after death. I do have faith, and still opt in to organ donation. Others believe differently, and that should be their right - it's their body, and no-one else has a right to it.

  8. Mark Studden

    Phew AJ, glad you're not running my country.

    What's really encouraging is that, in the the 21st Century, we haven't regressed to the point where the state exercises complete control over the fate of our bodies after death.

    As for asking "why should we allow" people to justify things you find unacceptable on religious grounds, what do you propose we actually DO about it when other sovereign states chop off criminal's extremities, oblige their women to behave like serfs to their menfolk, and carry out public beheadings? Nuke 'em? Invade?

    As for the TV programme, with any luck it'll be the death knell for the careers of its producers and broadcasters. Sheer, unadulterated, lower than lowest common denominator tat.

  9. peter

    Inheritance Tax

    If BB benfit from this it is surely illegal, you can't sell organs or try and get round it by holding a raffle or gifting or advertising sponsership. Just like trying to get round inheritence tax they should be able to get you without a lot of proof.

    So I expect endomol to come up with a different more legal program after the inital publicity stunt starts to wane.

  10. Graham Wood

    Oh no, foul, disgusting, how could they?

    If the idea was the donor's, then what right do the rest of us have to tell her she can't behave that way?

    In respect to the comments by A J Stiles about "religious objections" to compulsary donation - why does their view (should be enforced) have any more merit than someone that believes it is wrong to do so? Why should they have the right to enforce their views on other people, when they're not giving the other person the right to their own views?

    No, I won't watch this. No I don't think it's a good idea. But to misquote a sentiment attributed to Benjamin Franklin (although I think he's not the original author) "I don't agree with this program, but would defend the woman in question's right to behave this way".

    Of course, if Endemol approached possible donors and suggested this program, that puts a different light on it.

    No-one's forcing /anyone/ to watch it - don't like it, don't watch. If no-one watches it, they won't do it again.

  11. Pete

    Five years max

    Then you WILL see a reality tv show where people get killed.

    Using death row inmates, who have been shipped to an oil rig in international waters, viewers will phone in to see who gets the chair.

    One inmate will win a cash prize, and a commuted sentence.

    And people will watch it by the millions.

    Season two will include a member of the public, the twist being he has to be more popular than the killers and rapists he is against. Otherwise, Bzzzrrttttt, sizzle, etc.

    Public gets what it wants, because that is what sells.

  12. James Duncan

    Follow up planned?

    I assume they have planned a follow up program as they are only "giving away" one out of the two available kidney's. I also assume the three contestants have been screened for blood and cell compatibility otherwise the outcome won't be very good at all...

  13. Martijn ter Haar

    It's not about money or ratings

    BNN is public television, so it's not about money or ratings (well, they want as many people as possible to watch, but just to put attention to the issue.) These people really believe that this is a good way to address the issue. Also Endemol is not really involved in the idea this time, BNN just hired them as an external production company.

    All this doesn't make it a necesarrily good idea (road to hell/good intentions), but I still think these are important points.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm kind of split on this one. Yes, I can see that it's definitely provoking a debate in NL, and if the net result of this is that there's more people added to the donor register then this is unarguably a good thing.

    On the other hand, I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of a "beauty contest" for receipients - the potential for abuse is enormous. Surely, the system where organs are received on the basis of medical need is the best.

    So if this IS a one-off program then fine, otherwise I'm really wondering about the level of sanity at Endermol.

    In reply to "Pete" - two words - "Running Man". When I first saw that film I did wonder whether it was a view of things to come. And given I can't stomach more than about 10-15 minutes (per series!) of Big Brother et al, then I'm starting to think I'd better make sure I've got a good supply of alternative entertainment if this is the best I can look forward to.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can just imagine...

    Presenter: "So Lisa, why have you chosen NOT to give your kidney to Mr Patel?"

    Lisa: "Well, it cos, like, he talk funny, 'n', ya' know, like, he aint no good at cookin' chicken or nuffink"

    Can't wait, sheer class entertainment!


  16. Hywel

    AJ - How many reasons do you want?

    Like Mark, I am very glad people with AJ's opinions aren't running the country. We'll leave out religious considerations, even though they shouldn't be summarily dismissed - the majority of people throughout history and even today subscribe to some form of religious belief, and they're not all primitive or thickos. With or without a religious background, there are plenty of good ethical reasons why the individual should have rights over their body and what happens to it, either before death or after it - read a book about it! Or alternatively, watch that great 70s film 'Coma' to see how things can go wrong....

  17. Dillon Pyron

    The queue

    Isn't there a queue for kidneys? In the US, the only designated organ donation is a blood relative. Otherwise it's all about the national organ registry. As an EMT in a previous life, if we found an organ donation card, we kept "dead" people alive until we could get them to the hospital.

    Proud to be an organ donor. And I give blood every 8 weeks.

    My wife's cousin was a donor. He gave two lungs, a heart, two kidneys and a liver.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't see the problem

    I personally don't see the problem with this if it's primarily being used to promote awareness. I think it's fantastic that the woman gets to choose the destination of her organs, and it shouldn't impact on the waiting list position of those hoping to win.

    And to throw my two pence into the ring with A J Stiles:

    1. I can't believe you actually tried to use a "if he told you to jump off a cliff, would you?" argument at the end. You're describing two activities that are grossly disproportionate to each other. Idiot.

    2. You're not leaving yourself too far from the argument that we should start measuring the QOL of the sick and harvesting them prior to their death if the maths balances.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Going over the top?

    Carrying a donor card is one thing, but I can't believe they're going to put on a show where ill people are competing for an organ transplant.

    What next

    NHS Big Brother... You go into a ward, the last one standing gets the operation, the others get MRSA?

    btw I'm already a registed Organ Donor.... I've already given an Arm and a Leg to Gordon Brown

  20. A J Stiles

    Selfishness Beyond the Grave

    Every day, people are dying because the organs that could have saved their lives are being burned and buried.

    Every single person who dies and does not donate a usable organ is, in some tiny measure, complicit in the death of a person wanting an organ for transplant. It's a classic dog-in-the-manger situation.

    And, Graham Wood, dead people don't have any rights. Living people do.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anigel has a point..

    I can see how it would be a useful exercise in getting rid of some the annoying detritus of society... A game show along the lines of Running Man would alleviate the state from paying a lot of benefits..

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Channel 4 has been trumped in the 'how low can you go?' TV turn-off competition!

    There's only way they can recover their status of the World's premier round-the-clock tatfest.

    Creepy Professor von Hagens must perform an autopsy on the grave-robbed body of Princess Diana in front of a celebrity audience of Mohammed al Fayed, Jade Goody and Jimmy Carr. The incessant 118 118 adverts will all feature Justin Lee Collins eating small puppies.

  23. Chris


    I've got an idea for a gameshow.

    Rich sick fucks compete in a bidding/gifting war to the rights to wonk my corpse after I die. I mean I'm dead right, why do I care what you do to my body? Might as well get something out of it while I'm alive.

    Is this gameshow sick? Not enough to have me reeling. Child molestation, rape, murder - sick. This - maybe it's a bit tasteless but if no one is being hurt who cares? I'm sure everyone who was involved was willing. This is not like the Chinese harvesting of organs from criminal executions. Be sick about those things, and if you don't like the show don't watch it.

  24. PH


    I always thought "Endemol" sounded like a cream you might use to relieve an itching anus.

    What's next from these geniuses? Live snuff porn?

  25. wendy

    Let's think about this....

    My knee jerk reaction is that I am disgusted to see the decision of life and death (in a way) played out on a game show. It's not like not winning the million dollars, or not getting the man of your dreams. However, after thinking about it, I understand the importance of bringing to the forefront this overwhelming problem of there being a lack of organ doners. Perhaps a "happy" medium, would be to make a documentary style program following the life of the doner as well as the reciprient, and as well include those people who have not been accepted for the kidney transplant at this point. Somehow it would seem more serious and less trite as it sounds now, being played out in a game show.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rights for the dead ...

    "And, Graham Wood, dead people don't have any rights. Living people do."


  27. Andy Bright

    Think that is sick

    Maybe it is, maybe forcing everyone to be processed through the harvest factory is too - I'm not entirely sure.

    But what is truly sick is the fact that people can and have hired organ hunters to skip the queue and hunt down a match for them.

    Sometimes its a simple as bribing the right person to jump a few places up the line, sometimes its the purchase of a suitable organ from the the black market.

    These naive fools don't understand that the kidney or heart that saved their darling spoilt brat's life was harvested from someone murdered to provide the organ. In fact probably more than 1 someone, because I have a sneaky feeling that not every attempt to harvest organs from kids snatched from the street goes perfectly every time.

    But rather than play Kidney Lottery, surely a legitimate show highlighting the problem about the lack of donors would simply do that - highlight the problem, rather than make organs a prize to be won.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why aren't there two Winners?

    Doesn't she have 2 kidneys? Maybe the show could end with the non-recipient declared the all-time champ on "The Biggest Loser"

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is an intelligent solution to organ transplant requirements

    The current situation is this:

    i) It costs the NHS around £50,000 per year to keep an individual on dialysis treatment.

    ii) There is a massive shortage of organs for transplant, and the majority of viable organs end up in the ground or as ashes.

    iii) A large number of people consider it totally unacceptable to enforce organ donation.

    There is an intelligent, straightforward solution which would address all of these issues. Individuals should be allowed to opt for their organs to be sold upon death.

    The benefits would be:

    1) Health organisations would save millions, even if they were to spend 2 years' worth of the cost of alternative treatment.

    2) The number of organs available for transplant would increase massively - passing on £50,000-£100,000 to one's loved ones would provide a massive incentive for individuals to opt into the scheme.

    3) The spectre of enforced donation would be irrelevant, and is in any case entirely unfair, from a spiritual and financial perspective. Enforced donation allows health organisations to profit vastly at the individual's expense, and ignores entirely religious/spiritual beliefs.

    4) Those who do not wish to pass on their organs need not do so. The very altruistic would still be able to provide their organs for free to health organisations and insurance companies.

    One commonly quoted objection to organ sale is that it could incentivise murder/poor care. This is somewhat spurious - in the same way that individuals rarely advertise the contents of their will, they need not publicise sale of organs.

  30. Gerrit Tijhof

    The Golden Cage, BB, The Spermdonor Show, Marry a Millionair

    The idiots will watch, it's entertainment aimed at them. For the rest of the population there's nothing to see, just waste of public money and bandwidth. Be honest: if your neighbours smear dog poo under their eyes every night, would it change your life? Would it bother you? You would probably start avoiding those neighbours, but everything would be all right. Wouldn't it?

  31. Stephen Jones

    Oh no, not necrophilla

    I'm quite happy for my body after I die do be harvested for organs, screwed senseless and the remainder composted. In fact I believe it's selfish to not want this. I think it'd be totally acceptable to have an opt out scheme, so members of me-me-$DEITY-loves-me religions can have their selfish wishes respected.

    o/ It's the circle of liiiiife o/

  32. Mark Studden

    AJ's off on one again.

    Strewth AJ, don't be a sanctimonious twerp!

    Every day, people are starving to death or dying of curable diseases because rich westerners who could have saved their lives are not giving up enough of their wealth to help out.

    Every single person who dies and does not donate enough of their wealth is, in some tiny measure, complicit in the death of a person starving to death or dying of curable diseases.

    It's a classic talking bollocks situation.

    And, yes, dead people do have rights. They are enshrined in a thing called a Will.

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