Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 25 May 2016

The grim reality is we've had enough of these TV shows

By Jane Graham

Published 16/03/2013

I'm all for a guilty pleasure. And although I have some sympathy for the argument that only middle class apologists feel guilty for enjoying themselves, deep down I know cultivating a fancy for Nick Knowles while watching repeats of DIY SOS and scoffing grease-dripping banana fritters from the local tax-dodging, child-enslaving chippy does not set a good example to my children.

However, I see signs that the cultural trend which most often comes with a guilty pleasure hashtag is on the wane, and to put down the banana fritters and get serious for a minute, I thank the Lord. The "structured reality show" (ie TOWIE, Made in Chelsea et al) appears to be under threat, and as I regard it as a force for evil (unlike life-changing home decorator Knowles), I'm delighted.

The signs? First the Desperate Scousewives cast give an interview revealing every "real life" situation they played out on camera (for a pathetic £10 a day) was invented and scripted, forcing them to "do things we would never do".

Then TOWIE "legend" Mark Wright says he won't do any more structured reality as he doesn't want to ruin his relationship with actress Michelle Keegan (which would, he implies, be "directed", perhaps into oblivion, for dramatic purposes). Then, tragically, TOWIE's "other legend" Gemma Collins loses her magazine column as her allure, it is assessed, declines.

Good rubbishy pop culture is one thing. Lies, exploitation and the prioritising of thinness, fake tan and fashion is another. I just hope the end comes quickly, and without (much) pain.

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