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Big Brother creator under fire

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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 the lucky recipient "based on the contestants' history, profile, and conversation with their family and friends". Viewers can chip in their two cents' worth by sending advisory SMS's during the 80-minute spectacle.

Reaction to the planned airing has been predictable enough. Joop Atsma, of the ruling Christian Democrat Party, decried: "It's a crazy idea. It can't be possible that, in the Netherlands, people vote about who's getting a kidney."

BNN has defended the project, and claims "it will highlight the country's shortage of organ donors". The station's former director died of kidney failure after spending years on a transplant waiting list, the BBC notes.

Alexander Pechtold of Dutch social liberal party D-66 agreed with the need to raise the organ donation issue. He told Radio Four's Today programme: "For years and years we have had problems in the Netherlands with organ donations and especially kidney donations. You can have a discussion about it if this is distasteful, but finally we have a public debate." ®

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