Like many grads, I have the occupational status of eternal intern/ odd job extraordinaire. Although this has at times made me feel like a miserable parasite, sucking the life and soul out of my parents, it has also led to a wealth of work experiences, and gaining a stone through home cooked meals.
Desperation for a job, any job, has resulted in a multitude of mismatched work experiences. They have ranged from the hilariously awful – donning a bright pink polo shirt to work in a milkshake shop and being told after working there for two weeks that I was going to be given the equivalent of £4 an hour and that the milkshakes I’d been making were too watery – to really interesting insights into industries that I would love to be a part of.
Perhaps none were more interesting than my recent internship at Monkey Kingdom Productions where I was able to follow the goings on behind the production of Made in Chelsea. Contrary to the fact that I am a bit of a TV fan, I have to admit that before the internship I had only watched one episode of Made in Chelsea. Shocking, I know. However, I soon felt the urge to swot up on my Made in Chelsea knowledge when I was told on the first day that I would be having a day or two on set, assisting with filming the latest episodes of the series later in the week. Therefore, it was in the evenings of that week that I watched Made in Chelsea, working my way up to the most recent and ridiculous episode and I have to admit, I loved it. The cringey sense of humour of Francis, the ridiculous snobbery of Mark Francis and the will they/won’t they aspect of Caggie and Spencer’s relationship were enough to keep me hooked.
So when it came to the big day that I would be being a runner on set, I was nervous. I was going to meet, not only the directors of the show but the actors too, ahem not that there’s any acting involved… The scene that was being filmed was a scene in which Mark Francis, Francis and Freddie were deciding on props and the theme for their extravagant party, Series 2. I said a quick hello to them but other than that was relatively ignored by the three as they made their way awkward way through filming the scene. They were hilarious, and seemed to be competing for who would come across the funniest, much to the director’s annoyance as he wanted to get the scene completed in good time.
At lunch, I went with the runner to Starbucks to buy the crew and Chelsea stars some coffee and snacks. As expected, Mark Francis asked for something ridiculous that I had never heard of before and I don’t think actually exists, but in the end he was given something fairly normal (for those interested, it was a macchiato).
The day of filming finished relatively quickly and it was back to the office for me to help out there. But on my journey back I started to wonder about a few things. As I stood there, an unpaid intern I started to think- why do I watch a programme about privileged people my own age? What is it that makes people tune in to watch rich, young people swan around, getting their hair blow dried, drinking champagne and buying the latest, overly-priced clothes? With the economy in its relatively hideous state it is a funny thing that we choose to watch a programme full of people who almost slap us in the face with their rich lifestyles, people whose connections/ trust funds appear to be giving them the lives of film stars.
It is the obsession with celebrity lifestyles that seems to drive us to watch our Chelsea counterparts with awe. It has been reported that The Only Way is Essex has resulted in an economy boost of £1.4 billion pounds as people were inspired to spend more on looking orange and fabulous. It is in our nature to ignore the strife’s of everyday life, live beyond our means and strive for something better, be it a vajazzle or a skiing holiday.
However, like with The Only Way is Essex, Made in Chelsea isn’t actually idolising these peoples’ lives. More than anything the show makes of a mockery out of them. Therefore, although it is perhaps with the teensiest bit of resentment that we will watch the next series of Made in Chelsea, I for one will be tuning in avidly for some more Made in Chelsea escapist nonsense, chuckling away in awe at their fortune but at the same time being very pleased that I was Made in Bounds Green.