Reality TV is extremely popular in the UK. At their best, these programmes give us a good look into the lives of different people in Britain. At their worst, they are a very cheap way to make programmes and sometimes involve people behaving very badly.
Here’s a selection of some of the UK’s reality TV shows.
Strictly Come Dancing
In the show a celebrity learns to dance with a professional dancer. Every week they have to learn a different ballroom dance such as the tango, the waltz or the cha cha cha, and perform it live on TV on Saturday night. Four judges, who are all professional dance experts, give the celebrities scores and they comment on their dances. After that, the public call in and vote for their favourite couple. The two least favourite then have to dance again and the judges decide who stays in the competition and who leaves. This is a very popular show with small children, teenagers and adults of all ages.
A group of young people live in a house for a week and must stay awake. Each day there are tests to see how well they can function even though they are totally exhausted. They must leave the house if they fall asleep. Viewers vote on who stays in the house and text their comments every day.
Come Dine with Me
Each week four people prepare dinner in their home for the other contestants. Each competitor then gives the cook a grade out of 10 for the food and entertainment. The winner gets a £1,000 cash prize. Sometimes the food is terrible and the contestants are very rude to each other.
World’s Strictest Parents
Badly behaved British teens are sent abroad to live with a super strict family for a week. The teenagers have to follow the rules of their host family and go to the local school. After seven days the teenagers return home and their parents tell us if their behaviour is better. There is often a lot of crying and shouting in this show but it can be incredibly funny too.
Don't Tell the Bride
The groom (the man who is going to get married) has to arrange the wedding without the help of his bride (the woman he is going to marry). He has to choose the location, the dress, the flowers, the cake, the music….everything, in fact! The groom is always very stressed and worried. Usually the bride is very happy with the wedding but occasionally there are disasters, for example, the bride’s wedding dress is too big or the groom forgets to order a cake.
This show follows people deciding on a new place to live in the UK. They are filmed during the process of moving town and house. For viewers who are going to buy a home soon, it’s really interesting to see the prices of flats and houses in different parts of the country.
This show follows people as they learn to drive. People are filmed while they fight with their driving instructors, test the patience of other motorists and pass or fail their driving test. Learning to drive is very stressful, as we can see in this programme.
The show follows the daily lives of police officers (informally known as 'coppers') from different police forces around Britain. We see them in lots of different situations, such as riot control, city centre night-time policing, and responding to emergencies. Watching the police in action is absolutely fascinating!
Worksheets and downloads
What's your favourite reality TV show? Would you like to be on a reality TV show one day? Why or why not?