My Big Mouth: Made in Chelsea – good for Chelsea?


With Made in Chelsea returning to our screens on Monday, we suss out what South West Londoners really make of the show.


By Joel Durston

Infamous TV show, Made in Chelsea, is set to return for a second series this Monday at 10pm on E4.

It’s return will no doubt enrage or enthrall the viewing public.

The show is one of several regional docudramas which have popped up in the wake of the hugely popular The Only Way is Essex – in turn an offshoot of successful US shows, Jersey Shore and The Hills.

The shows contain ‘structured reality’; a term to describe the nebulous ground between real life and fiction. The idea is that the shows do portray ‘reality’, but only as carefully selected, even sometimes constructed, by TV cameras.

Made in Chelsea follows the emotional and vocational trials and tribulations of a dozen-or-so well-groomed Chelsea socialites.

It portrays a very (stereo-)typical idea of life in the undoubtedly moneyed cloisters of Kensington, Kings Road, Knightsbridge and Belgravia.

The show itself seems acutely aware of the image it portrays. At the start of each episode, a cast member claims: “You may have heard rumours that Chelsea is an exclusive world of royals, aristocrats and playboys, where the gossip is as startling as the prices. Well it’s all true, and I’d know. In Chelsea the truth is more fabulous than fiction. This is our life.”

Furthermore, E4′s commissioning editor, David Williams, asserted that: “The staggering amount of audience engagement has proven it to be a perfect fit for E4′s young audience.”

But do people in Chelsea approve of such a glamorous portrayal of the area, or do they find it inaccurate and shallow?

Dylan Watts, 20, said: “It’s fun. It’s the only structured reality show I watch. I suppose that’s because it’s less trashy. If I am going to be watching reality as opposed to reality, I prefer something more grand and opulent, for escapism.”

However, Dylan’s mother, Tuala, stated: “It’s incredibly amusing that they (the stars of the show) are willing to make such twats of themselves to get on TV. I think they need to be educated in some respects.”

It has been argued that the media has a profound impact on the way people live their lives. Does Made in Chelsea have an influence on the lives and aspirations of those in Chelsea and the wider world?

Zak Harris, 18, declared: “People see things and then they copy it. The younger generation are getting bolder and bolder in a way.”

John Jacobs, 62, said: “People are influenced by what they see on TV and form opinions about things they don’t know a thing about. It’s crazy when you think about it.”

Others seemed to agree with the idea of how much power the media yields when averring that Made in Chelsea set a bad example.

Clapham resident, Shumsi Muti, 19, claimed: “I think the show is bad for Chelsea, because it’s making a lot of trouble. There’s a lot of drinking, which is a bad example to set.”

Mr Jacobs added: “I think these shows set a bad example. A lot of women see other women on TV and think I’m too fat.

“My eldest daughter went through it (anorexia/bulimia) at one time. She was about a size 8, but thought she was too fat.”

He and others pointed to the fact it was only a very particular view of Chelsea – true for “certain corners” and “certain people of Chelsea”.

What seems certain is that the new series of Made in Chelsea will continue to divide Londoners, and particularly residents and workers of the SW2, SW3 and SW4.

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