Netflix Selling Sunset London. A street in Mayfair London.

London Selling Sunset spin-off: Tone deaf or tell us more?

Netflix has announced a London-based spin-off of the popular LA property show Selling Sunset, but is the announcement tone-deaf considering London’s current housing crisis?

Property mogul Daniel Daggers and his team at DDRE Global, including ex-Made In Chelsea star Rosi Walden, will take on London’s high-end real estate market from the prestigious streets of Mayfair to the exclusive enclaves of Holland Park.

According to a report from the Greater London Authority (GLA) in March 2023, there were 60,040 homeless households in London in temporary accommodation, a 6.4% increase from 2022.

Actor and activist Sharon Spice has been working in her community on a play called The Perils of Universal Credit, which deals with themes of poverty and issues with Universal Credit after experiencing this first-hand.

When asked about the launch of Buying London, Spice said: “I think it’s insensitive, it’s out of touch.

“There’s a lot of development happening in and around London but the people that live there can’t afford it. 

“I think it’s only for the one percent that might be able to purchase those properties and they probably wouldn’t watch this program in the first place, so I don’t know who it’s aimed at to be honest.”

Speaking about her time as a youth worker, she described seeing families of six plus living in two-bed flats being told they could be waiting up to 17 years for their next housing opportunity.

Spice said: “You can’t escape it, your friends, your family, someone you know is currently sofa surfing, or struggling to find housing”

Centre of London published a report in August 2023 stating 300,000 people were waiting for suitable accommodation in London with 25% of Londoners living in relative poverty.

The British public loves reality TV, the most recent series of The Traitors on BBC 1, a series where contestants lie and mislead each other for a hefty sum of money, drew in 6.9 million viewers for their season finale.  

Shows like Selling Sunset and Buying London have always been popular, they give us a form of escapism and a peep into how the other half live.

Other reality shows such as Keeping Up With The Kardashians have dealt with themes of poverty and homelessness before shedding light on other communities around them.

Handling these subjects sensitively, without appearing to engaging in tokenism, can be a difficult line to walk.

Jemma McCarthy, presenter and reality TV expert, explained that the series had the potential to provide a much-needed insight into the reality of the British property market. 

McCarthy said: “I am intrigued to see how much of the reality of the flawed UK housing market we will get to see. 

“While some may view the show as tone-deaf given the current housing crisis, these shows have never claimed to accurately represent the bleak reality that home-hunting Londoners are faced with. 

“I’ll be viewing the show as a much-welcomed form of escapism and any explosive arguments and wild fashion moments will be an added win.”

Property content creator Lexi Carducci said: “People are always going to watch escapism telly, I don’t think it’s trying to rub it in people’s faces. 

“We’re all fascinated with other people’s lives, particularly the rich and the famous so I don’t think it will have a negative impact. 

Selling Sunset is on its 7th series in LA, despite issues with homelessness in that community.

The Annual Greater Los Angeles Homelessness Count 2023 revealed 75,518 people experiencing homelessness. 

The show has touched on these issues before and shown fundraisers in some episodes.

Carducci said: “I do think it’s important to also produce tele highlighting how to help people on the opposite end of the buying market.”

Photo by Katya Korovkina on Unsplash

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