The rise of ‘reality’ TV

Made In Chelsea walked away with the 2013 BAFTA for ‘reality and constructed factual’ beating off competition from popular shows such as The Young Apprentice and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.

They are not alone in their success. In 2011 The Only Way Is Essex walked away with the BAFTA for YouTube Audience prize. They won over shows such as Miranda, Sherlock and Downtown Abbey leaving many viewers shocked.

These awards have highlighted the obvious rising popularity of these types of ‘reality’ shows.

Made In Chelsea, The Only Way Is Essex, Geordie Shore and let us not forget Desperate Scousewives (although I’m sure many of us wish we could) have allowed viewers an insight into the lives of the people who live in these different areas.

While some shows such as The Only Way Is Essex have saw ratings decrease as they head into their ninth series others such as Made In Chelsea have continued to go from strength to strength and it is currently more popular than ever.

They are more like soap operas that reality TV. In fact I would go as far as to say that ‘reality’ is a term that should be used very loosely in this context.

The vast amount of ‘coincidental’ run ins and people who leave the shows selling stories to every magazine about how they were told what to do/say by the producers makes it clear that while there may not be a script, it is not exactly ‘real life’ either.

However, I believe that the reason ‘reality’ shows are so popular is because viewers don’t really care whether it is completely real or not as long as it is entertaining.

The truth of the matter is no-ones life is as constantly dramatic as these shows portray but if there was an episode where they were spending the night in watching Coronation Street instead of throwing drinks over one another in a bar the ratings would plummet.

These shows need to just be taken as what they are which is light hearted entertainment.

In the end the viewers are hooked, the ratings are good and BAFTAs are being won, so they must be doing something right.


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