The Exclusives Episode One Review – just when you thought reality TV couldn’t get more lowbrow!
Ever since The Apprentice became a bit hit there have been umpteen competition shows based around the chase for a job and whether it be in the world of food, modelling or fashion, there’s always been opportunities available to those who are willing to make fools of themselves on camera for a ten week period.
In the case of The Exclusives, a job with one of the UK’s top celebrity magazines is on the line and after a so-called ‘shout out’ was placed in some of said magazines, those interested were whittled down to a manageable bunch to be interviewed. The interview panel were Heat magazine editor Lucie Cave, the creative director of Baeur Julian Linley and More’s editor Chamy Horton who would be taking on the rookies at her magazine in the first week. Predictably instead of picking the six candidates who had the best qualifications, which included someone who’d worked as a press officer for senior clergymen in the Catholic Church, they picked half a dozen youngsters who could be easily pigeon-holed by a specific characteristic because after this is a reality TV show. The six finalists, who got to move into a swanky London pad together, indeed were all characters however in terms of qualifying for a position on The Exclusives it seemed it was more acceptable not to have any qualifications than have them.
That was certainly true in the case of Stuart who was proud of his lack of qualifications and pleaded with the panel to give him one last chance at a career because after all he was now at the completely over-the-hill age of 28. Stuart is the typical bad boy who really winds people up the wrong way but has seemingly been picked by the women to be the plucky underdog and possibly because he is extremely handsome.
Joining Stuart in the no qualifications category is Sunny, who is your stereotypical bolshy girl with tons of attitude although we are meant to believe that she’s not passed any exams in her life, it is later revealed that she dropped out of law school so she must be fairly brainy.
Snotty-nosed toff Felix, quirky Ellie and sarcastic gay guy Christopher all do at least have journalism degrees, with the latter also having tons of sob stories about growing up in care…. it would be great if he could sing as he would then have an automatic place in The X-Factor live shows.
Finally there’s Hayley who’s USP is she is a freelance glamour model, however it also seems that she spends more time working at Pizza Hut than she does with her boobs out. She’s the pretty girl whose out to prove that she has brains as well as beauty.
So it was off to More Magazine to muck in at the deep end with the staff keen to show the candidates that life at celebrity magazines wasn’t as glamorous as they’d predicted. Clothes mad Ellie was in her element when she was asked to sort out unwanted clothing items in order to return them to their PR people however posh Felix looked like all this menial labour was above him.
On paper Christopher and Sunny had the easiest task which was to transcribe an interview but when it turned out that they had to listen to former Big Brother contestant Michelle Bass’ Geordie twang for hours… it suddenly became akin to water torture. In essence it was Stuart and Hayley who had been assigned the most sought after position namely helping out on a celebrity photo-shoot but when a trio of hunks, who weren’t big-named stars, arrived the pair were slightly deflated with Stuart actually not having a clue who they were.
It transpired they were a trio of Made in Chelsea men but even though I thought I am quite knowledgeable when it came to the world of celebrity culture, I couldn’t even tell you their names, so a lad from the wrong side of the tracks like Stuart would have no chance. Stuart in fact looked annoyed throughout the entire shoot, not a good impression to give on your first day, especially when he had to steam wafer-thin shirts for the Chelsea bunch to wear meanwhile Hayley was in her element as she ran to the local newsagents to buy the boys a ton of Fruitella and in return they granted her an interview. It seemed odd to me that there was so much mention of Made in Chelsea – Chloe Green even popped up later in the episode – as I thought it was the rival show to ITV2′s Towie so I was expecting Joey Essex rather than Freddie and Spencer but it seems that constructed reality show loyalty has now officially been tossed out of the window.
The aforementioned Top Shop heiress popped-up in the second task of week one which was to hang around at various Brit Awards after-parties hoping to get words with some of the bigger stars. After a master-class with the deputy editor of FHM, which basically amounted to telling the candidates they could either compete with the masses or go to quieter venues, it was off to the event. Felix, Sunny and Hayley followed the majority of the paps and were able to get interviews with Ms Green as well as Maverick Sabre, Tinchy Stryder and a very uncomfortable chat with Mitch Winehouse. The other three decided to go off the beaten track and found their way into a desolate after-party populated by a Z-list crowd that not even I had heard of. I did like the idea that all the big names go to some swanky shows but still let the no-names have their own party as our trio went around interviewing the likes of Junior NuNu and the ‘snake girl’. Eventually they left this purgatory and went out on the streets, where Ellie got a big scoop when she got a picture of Caroline Flack’s legs meanwhile Louis Spence ran away from them and they insulted Nick Grimshaw when they confused him with Rick Edwards. Finally Stuart and Christopher were truly star-struck when they met the biggest name of the evening in the musical God that is – Nick Knowle. The lesson I learnt from this was that you can’t win them all.
As I realised I’ve rambled on for ages I won’t talk too long about the final task, which involved finding British men to strip off for a photoshoot, and instead just give you my views on the show as a whole. As you can probably ascertain from my comments I generally wasn’t a fan especially after the process to pick the six most worthy candidates ended up with a gaggle of youngsters who wouldn’t look out of place in the Big Brother house. Though I had a soft-spot for Stuart, mainly because he looked completely out of his comfort zone for the entire period he was at More magazine, I really couldn’t give a damn about the rest of them. I understand that the show wanted to get over the fact that magazine journalism wasn’t all glitz and glamour, it still put over a world in which everything is very superficial with the top prizes awarded to those who could find the most men to go topless. For me though there was a bigger problem that was that throughout the episode there was a ton of product placement for all the dictaphones and cameras used, that culminated in a competition where you could win these items from brands such as Fuji, HP, Olympus and LG which were billed as the ‘journalism starter pack’. This starter pack also includes a twelve month magazine subscription although I’m not sure where you’d get the time to read it among conducting interviews with C-Listers and buying sweets for reality TV stars.
Generally there was nothing of worth in The Exclusives, which didn’t put either the candidates or the job of magazine journalism in a particularly good light, and indeed the final six were almost used as puppets to plug various gear that you yourself could use if you decided you wanted to be a journalist. I feel though that as the weeks go by, the show could improve slightly as different publications, including Kerrang Magazine which is being used next week, take the candidates on for a few days. Maybe I being unduly harsh believing that the majority of these guys could actually work for a magazine as I could never see Stuart Baggs or Adam Corbally as Lord Sugar’s business partner however this series is very much at the low-end of the reality competition genre and is as lowbrow as the majority of the ‘celebrities featured throughout.
Did you watch The Exclusives? If so did you enjoy it more than I did? Leave your comments below.