2011 saw a huge change to the BAFTA award line-up, when the new category of ‘Reality and Structured Factual’ was added to the list of awards up for grabs. In 2011, ITV2’s TOWIE took the crown, when the show was in its prime with the likes of Amy and Mark still on our screens, but now it’s definitely Made In Chelsea’s time to shine.
Now, I know there are many out there who turn their noses up at reality shows. Why should we really care about the love triangles of Chelsea’s twenty somethings? And do we need to see a group of Geordies getting vodka’ed up on endless nights out, claiming it’s the ‘drunkest they’ve ever been’ – again? Maybe it’s not essential but you only have to take a look at Twitter’s trending topics when they’re on TV to prove they’re still hugely popular viewing.
Reality television has slowly taken over many of the prime time scheduling slots. Not just the big players that spawn countless ‘wannabes’ but also watches like One Born, and Snog, Marry, Avoid? too. They’re easy to dip into, require little concentration, and seem to draw you in more than the long-running soaps. I can’t imagine being followed around on a night out by a camera crew so there’s something intriguing about watching others sign away their nights out, relationships, friendships, and even dignity for the whole general public to see.
This year, it was Made In Chelsea’s turn to receive the BAFTA nomination nod, and it’s definitely earned its place alongside fellow nominees; The Young Apprentice, The Audience and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here. I love Ant and Dec as much as the next person, but Chelsea does has something about it. It’s cool, slick editing almost makes London look like it has 365 days of sunshine and where TOWIE loses out filming so close to airing, Chelsea film so far in advance that they can treat us by cramming in so much drama and awkwardness in an hour, that it’s too good to miss one. Insisting the show isn’t scripted, but instead situations are set up by the producers, it does have a more believable feel to it than its Essex counterpart.
Packed full of indie big bands and upcoming unknowns, it also has a seriously impressive soundtrack. The show’s title track put M83 onto the iPods of many for the first time, and having recently watched an old repeated episode (when Caggie left for New York– remember?), I was surprised to hear recent success Bastille playing as Spenny decided to make a mad dash for the airport. E4 have cleverly added Spotify playlists for each episode, with every tune featured during all those shots of the Thames, the cringey awkward pauses and the post-slap scenes are available to listen to again – and the picks are always impressive.
Whether it makes you want to go skateboarding down the Kings Road with Francis, go shopping with Millie, or generally feel anger towards Spencer (but let’s face it, every show needs a good villain), it might not be everyone’s cup of fancy tea, but Chelsea is definitely my 2013 BAFTA winner, darlings.