The television series Big Brother, which Channel Four has contracted the rights for until 2006, is in fact rather more than a television programme. It is better understood as an evolving multi-media, multi-platform technological experiment, trailblazing free terrestrial television into the brave new world of what Dan Schiller calls, digital capitalism. 1 The political economy of Big Brother is inseparable from larger institutional and economic trends which have seen huge capital investments in new communication and information technology. Along with the economics of Big Brother, as a text, the series is also a cultural mediation of leading edge developments within capitalism, particularly concerning the increasing importance of surveillance and the capacities which that gives elites for further social control and manipulation. Precisely how we conceptualise the relations between different social levels, the cultural and the economic in particular, has been the central problematic of the base-superstructure model. I want to offer an ‘unpacking’ of that model in the course of a materialist analysis of the techno-spectacle. In doing so I will clarify, via a critique of Althusser’s notion of overdetermination, the meaning and importance of the concept of mediation. I will also draw on some concepts developed by Fredric Jameson in The Political Unconscious, for textual exegesis, integrating them into some of the political economic mediations Jameson is often criticised for missing.