Famous and Fighting Crime, the new reality TV show on Channel 4 that aired this week. Did we really need another new programme in this much exhausted genre? Haven’t we seen all there to is to see now with regards to reality television?
Yes and no, are the answers to these questions because this show was a definite triumph. Based with the Cambridgeshire Constabulary force to help battle crime, we saw five well-known faces become special constables. The celebrity line-up consisted of Loose Women presenter Penny Lancaster, comedian Marcus Brigstocke, TV presenter Katie Piper, MIC star Jamie Laing and Gogglebox star Sandi Bogle.
As crime figures go up and police budgets go down, this was a topical look at how police forces up and down the country are relying on over 12,000 police volunteers known as special constables.
You might have feared these five famous faces being mollycoddled on camera, but the success of this first episode was based on exactly the opposite taking place. Soon into the action we saw them go on an intensive training day. This involved a series of role-plays which Penny and Katie found extremely tough, due to it prompting them to relive traumatic experiences that had taken place in their past. It all made for fascinating viewing that made us realise just what kind of demanding challenges our celebrities were about to potentially face.
Straight after this we were further dramatically hooked into the action. A hair-raising moment to watch was when Penny Lancaster gave chase to apprehend a young female shoplifter. What gave this a heightened sense of drama was that Penny was on her own, having been split up from her more experienced male colleague just moments before this. Furthermore, the girl was threatening to stab Penny with a dirty needle if she came any closer to her.
It was a bit like watching an episode of The Bill, however you had to remind yourself at times that this was not a work of fiction, it was real life. Therefore, it was edge-of-your-seat stuff all the way as this one-hour programme played out.
Jamie Laing might have come across as a bit of an overconfident posh twit at times, but there could be no mistaking his earnest approach and his will to do well in his new role. Every other celeb came across extremely well too. Katie was constantly fighting her PTSD trauma which came across as exceptionally brave.
It should also be praised that negative perceptions about the police were covered which were aired by Marcus and Sandi. Sandi, being a black woman from Brixton, spoke about how some people in her neighbourhood might now see her as a grass for working for the police. As a result of these comments being included, the show therefore did not come across like some glorifying public relations exercise for the police.
All-in-all, a great welcome addition to the much heavily criticised reality TV genre. It ticked every box that you would want from such a show. 5/5.