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Top 10 Failed Reality TV Shows

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Robert Barnott Palin
There’s no denying that we Brits love ourselves some reality TV, but for every success there are countless clangers. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Top 10 Failed Reality TV Shows. For this list, we are considering shows that tried and failed to make a lasting impact. This could be due to low viewing figures, having just one -short lived series, or just being a bizarre concept from the off. Finally, as much as we’d love to include reality gold such as, “I Wanna Marry Harry”, we are only counting British entries. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top10 Failed Reality TV Shows


There’s no denying that we Brits love ourselves some reality TV, but for every success there are countless clangers. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Top 10 Failed Reality TV Shows.

For this list, we are considering shows that tried and failed to make a lasting impact. This could be due to low viewing figures, having just one -short lived series, or just being a bizarre concept from the off. Finally, as much as we’d love to include reality gold such as, “I Wanna Marry Harry”, we are only counting British entries.

#10: “Dapper Laughs: On the Pull” (2014)


Featuring self-described comedian and former Vine star, Daniel O’Reilly, under his more widely known stage name, Dapper Laughs, this flop blurred various sketches with real life scenarios to give dating advice. It was promptly pulled after one series though, after many complained about its sexist content, leading to a huge media backlash in which Dapper ended up appearing on BBC’s “Newsnight” to explain himself. It failed so spectacularly on all accounts to the point that O’Reilly decided to stop performing as Dapper Laughs ever again.

#9: “CelebAir” (2008)


ITV2 strikes again. Kudos to those who remember this short-lived series about a group of z-listers training to become cabin crew aboard an aircraft. The eventual winner was – as you well know – So-Solid Crew’s Lisa Maffia, who beat out other contestants like Kenzie from Blazin’ Squad, Johnny Shentall from Hear’Say, and that oh so infamous timelord, Chico off of “The X-Factor”. By the time of the grand finale, viewing figures were estimated to be a not-so good quarter of a million, making all the training and perpetually popped ears totally not worth it.

#8: “Playing It Straight” (2005; 2012)


Set on a Mexican ranch, the concept of this show was that a woman had 12 men to choose from, half of whom were gay and half of whom were not. The objective: pick a man from the latter category after eliminating the others week after week. The prize was a whopping £100,000, adding to the mild jeopardy of the show, but eventually Ben Harris, former winner of Mr Gay UK – who, as you may have guessed, is gay – was chosen. The show had a brief revival in 2012, but hasn’t returned since. Thankfully.

#7: “Totally Scott-Lee” (2005)


A somewhat depressing mid-2000s flop, this was a typical MTV fly-on-the-wall-style look into the life of former Steps member, Lisa Scott-Lee. Her challenge was to release a top ten hit. If unsuccessful, which, spoiler alert, she was, she vowed to quit the music industry. Features of the show include her bickering family, appearances from other semi-famous former pop stars such as Michelle Heaton from Liberty X, and, well, not much else really. Her single from the show, “Electric” charted at number 13 in the end, in part due – oddly enough – to a lack of publicity.

#6: “There’s Something About Miriam” (2004)


This reality TV programme was offensive on so many levels. Part of a wave of ‘prank’ reality shows, a group of men fought for Miriam’s affection not knowing that she was, in fact, a transgendered woman. Naturally, there was a lot of backlash from the show, with some saying that it made a joke out of transgendered people and others claiming it was not fair on the contestants. Unsurprisingly, the show did not return for a second series, meaning it left only a legacy of awkwardness and general insensitivity.

#5: “Eden” (2016-17)


If ever there was a show to make you feel sorry for the contestants, this is the one! A group of 23 people were relocated to the Scottish Highlands with the reasonably daunting challenge of restarting society from scratch. Unfortunately, it was a complete and utter failure in terms of ratings. Channel 4 stopped airing it part-way through after poor viewing figures, although the contestants weren’t informed – and so continued on their daily lives. Of the episodes that did air, the viewers were treated to plenty of fights and rebellion which made for uncomfortable viewing.

#4: “Space Cadets” (2005)


Hosted by Johnny Vaughan, this show was one big cosmic ruse. But, the punchline never really worked. In a cruel hoax, a group of contestants were made to think that they had won the opportunity to travel into space, which included a fake four-hour flight to Volgograd. However, during the time in which they believed they were in space, they were actually in a soundproof hangar somewhere in Suffolk. Although some of the cadets had their suspicions throughout, the reveal by Vaughan was extremely painful to watch.

#3: “Peter Andre’s Bad Boyfriend Club” (2012)


The episodes of this show peaked at the main man’s disguised arrival and then – ahem – they’d Peterout. Based almost entirely on the premise that Peter Andre is the world’s most ideal partner, Mr. Insania set out on a mission to transform everyday slobs into hunky heart throbs. The potential transformees were nominated by their partners and sent off for an Andre makeover with the prize up for grabs being a romantic break for two. Generally uninteresting and incredibly shallow, the show – predictably – did not fare very well.

#2: “Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend” (2009)


Not content with conquering America with various reality TV ventures, mid-noughties socialite, Paris Hilton, headed to our more northern shores in search of a new bestie. But, instead of going to the pub or meeting people at work like normal people, the notoriously modest and humble Hilton likes to find friends by holding competitions. In scenes that more resemble a cult recruitment than cutting edge entertainment, contestants had to impress their leader by performing for her, buying her gifts and designing clothes for her. Needless to say, viewing figures weren’t great.

#1: “Shattered” (2004)


The aim here was to stay awake for seven days, and as you can imagine, it wasn’t exactly a thrill ride. Mostly it was footage of people yawning, which pretty well mirrored the viewing experience... Contestants also faced tests with the losers having to take part in a daily challenge, such as watching a lecture on triangles. All of this was to take home a £100,000 prize, reduced by £1000 whenever eyes were closed for 10 seconds. The only real highlight was that some of the participants genuinely hallucinated, with one guy believing he was the Prime Minister of Australia.
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