Ever since Big Brother was first broadcast in the UK all the way back in the summer of 2000, our television screens have been inundated with various new formats of reality television. With the likes of Big Brother, The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, The Voice, as well as popular ‘reality’ dramas The Hills, The Only Way is Essex and Made in Chelsea overtaking our screens year by year, it has become increasingly difficult to get away from a genre that has come to such prominence since the turn of the century thirteen years ago. Whether you love them or hate them, there is no doubt about it that the success of this genre shows just how popular and completely addictive they are to audiences across the country.
I will admit, I am if not a little bit addicted to Made in Chelsea, and have been since it was first broadcast on E4 over two years ago, and I will also admit that if there is nothing else on and The Only Way is Essex is on, I will tune in and see what is going on in the lives of those being filmed. Despite admitting to watching both of the new generation of reality programmes, there is part of me that hates watching them. Do not ask me why I still then choose to do so, in all honesty I do not know. I know as well as the next person that such programmes as this are staged and scripted, and lets be honest there is no one in this world that has a life like those who are on Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex, they are completely unrealistic, and oh so over the top and dramatic, it could not be possible for so much drama to happen around one small group of people on such a regular basis. They do completely draw you in though, and I can only say that one of the main ways that programmes such as the previously mentioned are able to do is through the fact that it portrays to us as an audience a life that is so much more glamorous and, dare I say, interesting in comparison to our own regular everyday lives.
Those who have their ‘lives’ broadcast to a high number of audience members every week are shown to have everything that so many people would want to achieve in their lives, yet the stars of the reality world are just in their mid-twenties, sometimes slightly younger, sometimes slightly older. They have amazing homes, expensive cars, glamorous clothes, shoes, jewellery and accessories, adorable pets, the chance to jet off to so many beautifully exotic countries at the last minute, the freedom and money to go out to wherever they want, whenever they want, without a care in the world. It is a life that seems a complete world away from our own, and draws every inch of us into becoming absorbed with what is going on with these young twenty-somethings lives. The life that is portrayed to us on our screens become an almost ideal for us, and through doing so become the perfect means of escape from whatever it is that is worrying us or going on in our own real lives. Through makers of the likes of Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex creating a ‘real world’ full of colourful, unique and different characters, the audience is able to transport themselves from their own lives into a world of ‘reality’. The shows are made in such a way that those who star in it you learn to know as well as you would your closest friends and family, all through the fact that every detail of their ‘lives’ is given to us to see, and make an opinion of. We are welcomed with open arms into the ‘real lives’ of these people, and in being so are taken away from our own one into a completely different one.
I think that it is fair to say that reality programmes such as the ones that have been mentioned in this post are well and truly here to say, and for some people they are the ideal way of escaping from a world of money issues and crime, into one that quite frankly at times seems completely untouchable.