Reality TV show Big Brother has won The THES poll to find the programme that most undermines British culture. But former Big Brother contestant Jon Tickle hit back at academic voters, branding them out of touch with the rest of society.
The physics graduate responded to the result of the poll with a challenge to the show's detractors to watch it and learn.
"I don't think people who sit in ivory towers really understand what mainstream British culture is about nowadays - they don't come into contact with ordinary people," he said.
"Here is a show that demonstrates the different facets of British culture, where you get a real sense of what makes people tick, where everything is stripped bare. I think academics should watch Big Brother - it would be an education for them."
Big Brother topped the 1,673-vote poll with 219 votes, including those of Baroness Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution, June Purvis, professor of women's and gender history at Portsmouth University and Roger Scruton, honorary professor of philosophy at Buckingham University.
Pop Idol came second with 109 votes, while the news was judged the 16th most damaging programme by UK academics, with 34 votes. Three academics believed the weather forecast was the biggest threat to British culture.
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