'Reality TV' has been the fastest growing television genre, blurring the lines further between television and the every-day, and it has since given birth to first parody (The Office, Veep, People Like Us) and now its strange step-child, the 'Structured Reality' show. But aren't all documentaries really 'structured reality'?
I've always believed that together our voices are stronger. That's why, on Sunday 29 November my family, myself and friends will be joining ActionAid on The People's Climate March ahead of world leaders coming together on 30 November for crucial talks on tackling climate change. This is a huge chance to demand urgent action now and for good.
I can't help wonder if the whole premise of a fancily produced show set yearly on the other side of the world is all that necessary, when right on our doorstep is: 'I'm a Toddler Get Me Out of Here... no don't actually, I've changed my mind. No Mummy, I not want to get out of here! I do! I don't! Give me a biscuit!' (It's a working title)...
Over a period of two months UKAH grew all the signs of a cult-like subculture. It had a hierarchy, a dating community, a fashion trend, a music taste, a sense of nostalgia, rules, an idea of authenticity, a 622,771 word old testament type document, and a name: The Ainslamic State.
I write this with a quivering lower lip and a slightly less shaky right leg than I had 48 hours ago. Now voted out of Strictly Come Dancing, my leg has stopped shaking because I don't have to dance again. My lip has started quivering because I don't have to dance again... It will be a little while before I feel completely normal again. Normal is ligaments not swollen and heart not racing every time I see my diary marked for Saturday. Normal is where most of us ought to be most of the time. But returning to the world is hard. Because Strictly is another planet.
I feel very lucky to have worked with such extraordinary people on this show. Everything from the research period onwards has been a mad mad ride. It is a story where we've tried to be really ambitious with what we're saying about the world, and it is a war cry of sorts...
I've been sickened by all the talk recently of it being a "fact" that mums and dads always secretly have a favourite among their children, and that those who don't have the courage to admit it are in denial. I absolutely refute that.
I love dance because its great fun, keeps you fit and boosts your confidence. I love it when people tell me how much they are inspired by seeing dance programmes on TV, and in fact new research shows that around half of those watching TV programmes like Strictly Come Dancing get so wrapped-up in the rhythm that they can't help but dance along in their living rooms.
"Odd jobs have become BIG BUSINESS," informed the doomy voiceover. They have? I spend every frickin' weekend doing odd jobs yet have somehow failed to become a billionaire, but I'll take the Beeb's word for it.
I smiled naively thinking what a lovely thing to do, come over on a Sunday, get sushi delivered and watch a classic London based rom com staring a spectacle sporting Hugh Grant. I happily accepted and I was looking forward to the evening!
John Lewis has said that the purpose of the ad is to raise awareness of the elderly and the importance of being together at Christmas through "thoughtful gift giving". But, in an age of intense commercialism, does the ad have mixed messages?
When he's training: he has a little cry. When he or anyone in his vicinity mentions his family: he has a little cry. When he's interviewed by Claudia and she's making a JOKE and probably wearing a weird hat: yes, he has a little cry. The guy is so in touch with his soul. Seriously. In fact I might have a little cry...
So how do you take on such an iconic and recognisable show and make it into a great new series for a new generation of viewers? Hopefully by learning from the huge success of the original show but also listening carefully to the needs of those new viewers.
The region of Chikwawa is hot, remote and extremely poor with no electricity in most homes and no safe drinking water. TV production facilities in the country are almost non-existent, so we had to bring everything with us. Here I have detailed some of the statistics that made up our trip to Malawi...
The ominous phone call comes, candidates to be at St James Square with 30 mins to get ready. That annoyed me as when I was on it, we only got 20 mins, one likes to looks ones best when there are up to 10million people watching you.
Back in the house, there was an entirely different atmosphere. None of that politeness and decency HERE, thank you very much. "I'd like to raise a toast to myself!" shrieked Charleine, as the others glumly knocked back the booze, hating her.