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New reality TV show set in Notting Hill

According to today’s Independent, Channel 4 have commissioned a new reality TV show that will be based in Notting Hill – and used to fill the void in the station’s TV schedules left by the cancellation of Big Brother.

For starters, the mention of Big Brother doesn’t really bode well. Nor does the fact that the Independent article starts off with the sentence, “David Cameron’s London neighbourhood of Notting Hill”. (Is that all it’s known for?) To add to the this-is-a-programme-that-sounds-horrifying vibe, this show will attempt to have the “real-time drama of big reality shows such as Big Brother and ITV’s I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!”
Sweeping all these nightmares aside, it doesn’t sound all bad. The programme, with an amazingly inventive provisional title of “Notting Hill”, is supposed to have more of a documentary rather than a reality-show feel (though the words “soap opera” have also been mentioned), with the central characters – ten locals who have yet to be chosen – followed by cameras as they go about their day-to-day lives. One-hour episodes will be screened each week, and the show will have an indefinite run following its start in the autumn. Channel 4 execs are promising a revolutionary show, suggesting it will be a documentary on a vast scale that’s never been done before.
The show could, I imagine, be very watchable and interesting – if it’s something on a similar format to Channel 4’s highly-entertaining The Family. However, I can’t help thinking that it’s been done before. Does anyone remember the BBC programme, Paddington Green, that aired in the late 1990s? Actually set around the Paddington area (of course), that was a rather engrossing docu-soap following the lives of a number of local residents and business owners. So I guess it’s going to be just like that…but bigger?
Channel 4 had better be very be vary careful – and clever – in choosing the main characters. Let’s not go for too many stereotypes, please.

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