Channel 4 is set to bring back its multi-award winning format Wife Swap for a one-off Brexit special. The show that allowed families to experience different lifestyles and perspectives on the world, returns for an intimate look at the nation’s biggest talking point – Brexit.
The 60-minute episode, due to air later this year, will be the first since the show ended nearly eight years ago.will see couples from either side of the Brexit debate swap households for one week and live with a family with very different views.
Emily Jones, Commissioning Editor, at Channel 4 said:” Wife Swap was largely about how people chose to run their homes, but it always had political undertones. Now the world has changed and recent events have brought political issues into the heart of every household. What better time to bring back this much loved format to explore Brexit and hear firsthand the conversations happening in every home”.
Wife Swap first arrived on Channel 4 screens in 2003 and quickly became a global phenomenon. The final series aired in the UK in 2009.
Channel 4 has commissioned a spin off to their First Dates serious called ‘First Dates Hotel’. The spin off will see Maître D’ Fred Siriex and his team welcome a whole host of hopeful singletons from all over the UK. First Dates Hotel will follow blind dates with a difference in a romantically charged boutique hotel in the French countryside.
This new series will include a brand new format where if the answer is ‘Yes’ their stay will be extended in romantic hotel and French countryside. And for some who don’t meet with success on their first date, they will be re-matched for a second chance at finding love.
Series Editor, Adam Chapman said: “Having worked across multiple series of first dates we’re really excited to develop the format and take into a new space. The hotel, whilst retaining all of the charm of the restaurant series will give the viewer the chance to see first dates develop into second dates answering that eternal question ‘what happens next’. Maitre-D Fred will be on hand as always to deliver a bespoke first date like no other. The First Dates Hotel will be the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life; an oasis of romance where daters can concentrate on one thing and one thing only – finding love.”
For the past three years, First Dates have brought to us a contemporary but romantic alternative to the frustrations of modern dating. Now, for daters looking to take the next big step, First Dates is opening a hotel for a variety of people from all different backgrounds and ages.
Channel 4 recently aired a documentary entitled “Meet the Police Commissioner” – which was a fly on the wall look at Kent’s first Commissioner who is charged with efficient and effective policing Ann Barnes
The documentary paints a pretty unflattering picture of Ann who seemingly bumbles her way from one meet to the next.
And there in lies the trap door of life…never agree to a television programme without having a veto on the final edit.
Television makers employ people to make their subjects like and trust them. To tell them all the stuff that said subject thinks and feels they want portrayed on the screen – make them feel like they are the ones writing the script.
The truth is – the only people writing the script are the TV production company and all those moments when you thought you had their trust, when you thought you’d made a real friendship – goes right out the window – they will tell you anything you want to hear to get their story.
And that is why I feel really sorry for Ann Barnes. I do not for one second believe that the image portrayed by this documentary is fair and rounded and certainly not what was promised. Out of all the hours of filming – they have focused on maybe 10% of who Ann is.
Imagine for one second, if you had camera’s following you 8 hours per day at work for 3 months and you were trying to be as open and honest as possible. There would be, I’m sure, many good things – but also – there would be some embarrassing moments, a few mistakes, some points you’d rather weren’t show and some that you hope they do.
Now imagine if over the course of an hour – you saw all those negative bits – those big nasty warts that’d you’d hoped would have been cut or edited – the main focus of the programme. I guess, like what may have happened to Ann – the blood draining from your face.
I can only imagine that Ann’s agreement was part genuinely wanted to engage the public in understand her role and part ego. Maybe she allowed herself to believe the sweet talk from the producers who, I’m sure, assured her that she’d be pleased with the results and all was fine.
The truth is television relies on those who take part to be flattered into signing away the right to your personal identity and allowing a production company to define your image – put it out for everyone to see – then walk away.
I’m not sure what is going on in the private life of Noel Edmonds at the moment. At the age of 65 – he’s gone past the ‘mid-life crisis’ point – or at least, let’s hope so! Maybe his contract is up soon at Channel 4 and he is just trying to prove to the boffins at C4 – he is still bankable and can create waves?
First he demands to be able to buy the BBC as a commercial enterprise and before he’d managed to take another breath he’d went on to say that if he did get his fake tanned hands on auntie – he’d cull BBC local radio.
I wonder if he was all alone one evening in bed – struggling to get to sleep and weighing up what the world would look like if he was in charge? If he had his nibble finger on the button of control! Suddenly…an idea….
IF I RAN THE BBC….(dot dot dot)
I can’t claim to be an expert on BBC local radio as I very rarely listen – but then, I don’t suppose Noel does either. What I do know is that BBC local radio is cheap and provides a service that commercial radio doesn’t want to compete in.
The nearest thing to this would be Community Radio – that is unshackled from the need for speeding through 15 songs an hour – with a DJ occasionally telling the listener about their ‘crazy night’!
As independent commercial radio seems to be homogenising into one or two branded blobs – culling a service that is geared to get the community on the air – is not the way to go. In fact, more BBC resources should be put into local output – and not more managers – more presenters – getting out in the community.
So, I say No to Noel. It seems like there is more than one Banker on Deal or No Deal!
And so it came to pass that a programme which told it’s participants they were recording a show about “community spirit” and how individuals “were working together and helping each other in tough times” finally ended. The fact that the programme makers lied to the participants (they filmed lots of working people and community events over 18 months that was just dumped) – doesn’t seem to matter as they would have been made to sign contracts waiving any rights to what material was used and how the show was edited (under the guise of – we are programme makers – we understand this process – you are poor and stupid…errr you are in need of some well deserving attention brought upon you and (fairy dust sprinkle) (annoyingly enthusiastic voice) – we can make it happen.
The series ended with a ‘live’ debate, involving the participants and other interested parties including MPs and journalists who written some nasty stuff – about these benefits scum…I mean those people who claim additional financial support from the state.
Mass hysteria had been whipped up in the press and from commentators about the fairness of the welfare system and this programme was all the evidence they needed. “It’s not fair that people should sit about all day doing nothing and then get paid money for it” they shrieked!! Really? so what do these so called commentators do with the rest of their 37 hours after they’ve spent just 3 slagging off lazy, idle, work shy scroungers into 500 words? Does yet another afternoon lunch with Sebastian and Felicity for a skinny Mocha -chocca-latte -chino-frappo crapo chato – followed by attending yet another pretentious “must see” exhibition at a tiny art gallery – quaffing free champaign – really count as work?
The truth is, seeing laziness in others is easy. Seeing it in ourselves – when we spend so much time flapping and “frapping” about from one “rendezvous” to another….not so. And therefore I don’t rush to criticise nor condemn the people that channel 4 made minor celebrities out of.
Actually, I think on the whole they came across ok. There are much worse streets out there where the people aren’t full of witty remarks and camaraderie – but nasty and truly awful to each other – where stealing from their neighbour is just as commonplace as stealing from the state. Streets where the police only go when required and for whom society and it’s morals might as well be on another planet.
And then, like the benefits themselves – it all finished. I’m hard pressed to come to a conclusion about what the merits or otherwise of watching the programme had on me – or for that matter, the general debate on welfare. In the first episode I learned that if you want to try and shoplift something – try wrapping kitchen foil in the bottom the bag – as it stops…something….from doing…something… or something like that? Then in the second episode I learned that gangs of european men come over here on a promise of easy work and easy money – only to find themselves in squalid conditions, working 12 hour days and only receive token payments for their labour. When they try to report the dodgy gang master who is not paying them money – and our police and state seem impotent in it’s ability to deal with the situation…”go after the bloody businesses where these men work and are being exploited” I shouted at the TV screen. Nothing happened.
There were of course other characters: the rather annoyingly chirpy church woman who is keen to transform James Turner Street from a rather downtrodden, ugly, messy street into a downtrodden, ugly clean-ish street; the guy who knocks on people’s doors selling things for 50p – hence why he is known as the “50p man” – but doesn’t have much luck and (capitalists look away now) seems to take pity on every other person he meets – and gives them stuff from his bargain box free.
Finally, we got to the “Live Debate” – hosted by Richard Bacon and stuffed full of people I think I’d heard of and faces I think I recognised.
This mass-debate was pretty poor – lots of uncoordinated shouting or cheering – depending upon what point was ineloquently made. White Dee (it seems she prefers to be called Dee – real name Deirdre Kelly) was the only human from the programme that was allowed (or trusted) to speak more than one sentence.
There was the Minister for Work and Pensions – whose name I forget, but who used to be a fireman in a previous life (told us twice) and whom at one point, if I heard correctly, made a joke about shagging white Dee’s mum?? The Minister’s shadow Minister (do try and keep up) had been too busy to watch the programme (too many functions with free booze & cold sandwiches to attend) and so watch 3 of them that day and was appalled by stuff that I can’t remember and don’t care to regurgitate.
One of the interesting angles that came out of this debate for me was seeing those hard nosed columnists, who normally write whilst cocooned in the safety of their middle class homes – their venom slowly dripping onto the page – come face to face with those people whom they’d slagged off. Being people on benefits – of course they had actually read any of the articles and so weren’t offended in the least – but Mr Bacon did try and get a bit of a confrontation going – alas there was nothing to bite. The columnists didn’t want to say things such as “I wish you hadn’t had any children you couldn’t afford” or “I have not met such nasty dole-scum since one traveled on a train in London”. More of this – commenter -v- commentee would be interesting.
The debate only had Richard Bacon as it’s thread and I didn’t feel he really managed to weave it together very well and generally it seemed the pre-production of it had been sloppy and lazy at best. So, basically, it couldn’t have finished better.