Unreality T.V.

Following the account of procedures attached to the production of The Big Questions, and exposure of the tactics used to ensure car-crash telly (so as not to bore the audience) here’s another example of the tampering that goes into making a programme aimed, above all else, at ratings.

I know the strictest parents series has an agenda. It’s set up to show that delinquents need boot-camp parenting. This theory has as many holes as a sieve, but that’s not my point. It is that most programmes start with a conclusion, whereupon much film is shot, most of it is discarded, and the rest is edited to fit.

I saw an episode that featured strict black Christian parents unconvincingly performing ‘wonders’ on two rebellious British teenagers. We’ve all seen black Americans going crazy in church before, so this lot didn’t seem particularly surprising, but neither ‘parents’ nor teenagers came out of it too well.

The series in question is shown on BBC3 so I don’t expect many people watch it, but the Orthodox Jewish episode was bound to ruffle a few sensitive feathers as it made the strict parents look as bonkers and unreasonable, if not more so, than the naughty teenagers.

A plague on both their houses, one might conclude. I certainly wouldn’t recommend participating in exploitative rubbish like that. But for another inside story see this JC article and the comment from neighbour Chani.

“Over 100 hours of film was shot that week, including many examples of the neighbors delivering dinner, partying around a lag b’omer bonfire, loaning the teens clothing from the “Clothing Gemach”, strolling with the teens around the neighborhood, and throwing them a good-by party where they showered the teens with personal blessings. None of these clips made it in. What did make it, unfortunately, was a line that Tzippy was “fed” by the director regarding “the community authorities.” Taken out of context, it leaves an incorrect and imbalanced representation of a community that smothers and rejects, but does not embrace and accept”

It’s not this stupid series that worries me. I fear that everything we see on the BBC is, to one degree or another, similarly manipulated. With their access to the media, programme makers and producers are in a uniquely powerful position, and in any other profession exploiting naïve people would be regarded as a form of abuse.

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5 Responses to Unreality T.V.

  1. Grant says:

    The BBC left-wing agenda would be that the State is better at bringing up children than the parents, unless they are Muslim, of course.

    But, there is a problem with “black” people.  They are “victims” and some are radical  (good ).  On the other hand , many are quite conservative and traditional  ( bad ).  Some are Muslims ( good ), some are Christians ( bad ).  

    A big problem for the BBC to fit them into one stereotype. 

    Not only BBC bias , but racism  as well   !!! 


  2. Bob says:

    It’s a reality show made by twentytwenty which has been reproduced in several countries – any manipulation here is down to the production company trying to create a product to sell, unlike an actual BBC production – such as a docu or politics show, it makes little sense to worry that everything on the BBC is manipulated based on one independent production

    and remember your source here is an unverified claim on the net – if she actually is real it’s not surprising her nose would be out of joint if they didn’t come off well – you’ll often find people whinging at programs that don’t go their way, such as labour councillors when they do a docu on an estate


    • sue says:

      As it happens, I agree with you. But it doesn’t mean I like it, or think it’s worthy of the publicly funded BBC. It’s a growing trend, too, don’t you think?


  3. davka says:

    I don’t suppose Chani has an axe to grind – why should she? but the editing here does seem to have had a particularly distorting effect. Moreover, the family reinforces the BBC stereotype that Israelis are affluent American settlers


  4. 1327 says:

    These low quality “reality” shows first appeared on Channel 4 where they were pretty dire to be honest. Now we have the spectacle of the BBC with more channels than it has content trying to copy them but obviously on the cheap. 

    Incidentally its interesting to watch the titles/credits of the American versions of many of the shows which seem for legal reasons to contain various warnings that some of the scenes in the show were setup or recreated and that other scenes may be shown out of sequence.

    One of the property forums I’m on recently had an fascinating discussion of a Channel 4 property show. Other list members pointed out that the “members of the public” taking part had also appeared on various Channel 4 and BBC reality type shows but under slightly different names and with different occupations. These people don’t seem to be actors but rather publicity seekers who want to be Z list celebs.