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Review: ITV2's The Exclusives
Left to right: Chris Goddard, Ellie Henman, Hayley Newnes, Stuart Roberts, Felix Clarke and Yasmin Mednini, aka Sunny, from The Exclusives. Image. ITV2
Fancy a career in journalism? Eager to work on Bauer Media titles, such as Kerrang! and Heat? If so, you could've done what Chris Goddard, Ellie Henman, Hayley Newnes, Stuart Roberts, Felix Clarke and Sunny (real name Yasmin Mednini) did; namely, sign up for ITV2 reality show The Exclusives.
On an assignment with the stars of E4 reality soap Made in Chelsea, tattooed Stuart Roberts didn't have a clue who they were. That was pretty funny.
Too many to list. But on the red carpet, the scene in which Sunny screeched at celebrity interview targets while Hayley Newnes spoke to Mitch Winehouse about his late daughter Amy was cringe-inducing and insensitive in the extreme.
"Journalism might look glamorous, but it's hard work", warned Lucie Cave, Editor of Heat Magazine. "And in the times we live in it's tougher than ever to give a break to those passionate about the printed word."
So did the auditions, in which thousands were whittled down to just six by industry bigwigs, test hopefuls on their passion for the printed word? Did it showcase their writing portfolios? Did it ask them to demonstrate any relevant experience? Errr no. From the footage that aired, it would appear the final six were chosen on the basis of 60-second speeches.
In fairness, candidates rapping their keenness and spouting outlandish statements to get noticed ("I would push another journalist under a bus to get a story") sounds good on television. And I did chuckle at the person who said that being a stripper and a debt collector didn't work so she wanted to give journalism a try.
The lucky few included Hayley, an English language and literature graduate who is also a glamour model. She was chosen because she is "brimming with passion".
Then there's posh boy Felix; interested in people, but no rapper ("to really see Felix in all of his glory, just make him Exclusive, and he'll get you the story"). Christopher was chosen because he came across as sweet and endearing, Sunny was taken on thanks to her attitude (believe me, she's got plenty), and Ellie made the cut because of her maturity.
"They may or may not be talented writers"
They may or may not be talented writers; that will become apparent across the series. Or at least, that's my personal hope.
However, it is an irony that in a show based around a career opportunity on a Bauer Media title, there isn't much that suggests they have to know a great deal about the printed word. You know, the actual job of journalism.
It's a hard life
In the opener (which was watched by a disappointing overnight average of just over 201,000 - including the timeshift on ITV2 +1), the candidates were whisked into more! magazine for their first set of tasks. Viewers were treated to seeing them undertake chores such as sorting out clothes from fashion shoots, and transcribing an interview with Kinga from Big Brother.
It would appear people are still keen to read articles about her having sexy time with that bottle... a mere seven years later.
"Then it was off to the BRITs to yell at the stars"
Then it was off to the BRITs to yell at the stars on the red carpet in the hope of nabbing a few quotes about who they were wearing, who they like, and who they deem "fit".
To be fair, The Exclusives seemed a pretty realistic reflection of glossy media at this point. But it's a reality TV show so it's inevitable that personalities started to emerge.
Posh boy Felix, for example, was the nice-but-dim character; he asked Chloe Green (daughter of retail tycoon Philip) what sort of girls she fancied and he missed a few quotes because he didn't turn on his Dictaphone.
Sunny is the bolshie one, but she goes about things the wrong way. Bellowing at other celebrities during Hayley's interview with Mitch Winehouse was toe-curling in the extreme.
But in this first episode, it was glamour model Hayley who proved the most capable candidate.
She may look as if she's stepped straight off the set of The Only Way Is Essex, but Hayley had the right approach on the red carpet. In addition, she got the best out of the guys on a more! photo shoot profiling fit British men. The Worcestershire lass put them all at ease, whereas Chris Goddard (who already has a boyfriend) let his hormones get in the way.
Hayley was lauded as the rookie of the week, but we have no idea who was the least successful as no one was booted off the process. Odd. It is a TV competition after all.
The Exclusives could do with fearful figure; it doesn't have a Lord Sugar or a Simon Cowell, someone who will make failure a dreaded consequence. It does have mentors Dan Jude (Deputy Editor, FHM) and Abbie Pethullis (Senior Features Editor, more!), but they're about as frightful as a mug of cocoa.
If you can ignore all the plugs for Bauer Media publications, you still have to put up with plugs for B-list celebrities. And that's without the 'coming up' series highlights section in which we're promised appearances by: Jedward (who had their own show on ITV2); Keith Lemon (who has his own show on ITV2); Peter Andre (who has his own show on ITV2), and Louie Spence (give him time, and he'll have his own show on ITV2).
Is The Exclusives nothing more than a seven-week advert for a selection of Bauer Media titles? Is it a reality TV show? Will it become a proper journalism competition? Or is it also just another excuse for ITV2 to show off Peter Andre? In truth, it's probably a mixture of all of the above. If its message is to convince that a reality show is a shortcut to journalism, it succeeded.
- Rating: It has pretensions to being a great deal more, but The Exclusives is just another reality TV show.
TV quotes of the week - The Exclusives
"Pretend I'm naked." - Hayley's advice to one of the nervous men in a photo shoot went down well.
"I've got a killer instinct." - Chris definitely killed the mood at the same photo shoot.
"For me, there are other magazines I see myself working in." - Sunny is not a fan of more!
The views in this article are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft
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