Russia arrests fan over 'Big Brother blast'
Russia on Monday arrested a disgruntled fan of the Russian equivalent of "Big Brother" in connection with a mystery blast on the site of the world's longest-running television reality show.
The blast early Sunday morning rocked the grounds where "Dom-2" (House-2) is filmed, wounding a security guard. Police later uncovered another more powerful device on the premises which was then made safe.
Dom-2 -- broadcast without a break on the private TNT channel since 2004 and the longest-running such show anywhere -- has won huge popularity as well as controversy for the explicit discussions and activities shown on camera.
A security source told the RIA Novosti news agency that the suspect was a 39-year-old from southern Siberia "who had previously tried to become a contestant in the show but without success".
He has been placed under arrest for 15 days after being detained not far from the grounds of the vast Dom-2 complex in the Moscow region.
RIA Novosti quoted sources as saying the suspect had been presented with charges of hooliganism and had served prison time in the past for possessing drugs.
The popular daily Komsomolskaya Pravda said the suspect, whom it named as Sergei Lyapin, had on several occasions last winter tried to access the compound to take part in the filming.
The daily Moskovsky Komsomolets meanwhile said he may have also developed an obsessive fascination for one of the star contestants on the show, Vlad Kadoni.
The incident sparked a wave of excitement in the Russian tabloid press, which follows every move in Dom-2 with microscopic precision.
The lifenews.ru tabloid website said Lyapin was easily arrested after police tracked his whereabouts by tracing his mobile phone.
It said Lyapin had complained to police earlier this year he had been beaten up by a security guard after he unsuccessfully tried to enter the complex and speculated that the blast could have been a revenge attack.
"At the moment the investigation is inclining towards the version that he did this out of a feeling of offence and revenge," a source told the ITAR-TASS news agency.
"There is information that Lyapin wanted to get into the grounds for filming to become well known and earn money but was not accepted on the project.
The security guard who uncovered the bomb hidden in a rucksack before it went off, received wounds to the hands and face and has been hospitalised. But his life is not in danger, reports said.
Dom-2 has developed into a marathon project with peculiarly Russian features quite distinct from its western European equivalents.
Twenty hopefuls are in the house at any one time. If a majority of them decide to throw one out, the contestant exits, to be replaced by a new hopeful.
However some contestants have been there for more than three years, making them massive stars.
The hopefuls are encouraged to form couples and also work on building the house, which the eventual winners of the show will receive as a prize.
However such is the programme's popularity, the channel has never set a date when it will end and the house will be given away to the lucky winners.
Otherwise, the programme follows the time-honoured reality show philosophy of showing the attractively repulsive participants arguing, fighting, eating, cuddling and kissing before denouncing each other in one-on-ones to the camera.
© 2011 AFP