Space Cadets – The Reality of The Reality Show

Space Cadets on Channel 4 is a great idea. It’s turning the whole “reality TV” thing on it’s head, however the other night something struck me. In the commercial break there was a plug for another Channel 4 reality show in which three complete unknowns have to become famous just by fooling the press or photo journalists. These girls need to con the photographers into making them think they’re members of high society or celebrity and get their faces into Heat or OK magazine etc.

This interested me… What a good idea.. to fool people into thinking they were something they’re not. It also reminded me of something Channel 4 tried a few years ago. I can’t remember exactly what, but they were asking for new “interesting” ideas for a reality show. Reality shows were absolutely huge some years ago, so they wanted some new, fresh ideas.

Anyhow, to bring you up to speed with the whole Space Cadets thing, it’s a reality show which…

“… is blasting a group of adventurers, ordinary members of the public, off into space to spend five days orbiting the earth. It’s thrilling, it’s exciting, and it’s totally bogus.

In fact, the cadets will be on a disused military base in Suffolk. Our group of thrill seekers will experience two weeks of intensive astronaut training believing they are in Star City, near Moscow, and labouring under the illusion that they are part of a real space mission. After all, who would go to the trouble of dressing Suffolk, up as Russia, and faking a space launch? To fuel the illusion, the base has been painstakingly decked out in Russian products, down to the very last plug socket. Their physical training is under the supervision of a genuine former KGB agent. Hollywood visual effects specialists, Wonderworks, whose credits include The Day After Tomorrow and Apollo 13, have created the space shuttle itself from a NASA blueprint. Sound effects have been created to simulate the incredible noise generated by blasting off from the earth. Hydraulics and ‘air biscuits’ will pull, jolt, and vibrate the craft around for authenticity. When the cadets look out of the cockpit window, they’ll see a distant earth, thanks to meticulous visual effects.

Who wouldn’t believe?

Watch Space Cadets every night at 9pm and lap up the lie.”

A good idea yeah ? The cadets climbed into a private jet at the start, then they went around in a big circle for 5 hours and then landed in Suffolk – thinking they were now in Russia. They’ve been kept in isolation while advertising and hype about the show was running and they believe they’re on a show tracking the “ground breaking first tourist space training”, for which Channel 4 and Endemol – the people behind Big Brother – have paid a huge amount of money to get several UK people on board. Well, that’s what these “cadets” think. Actually it’s all one big joke. Even the families of these cadets are shown and have approved everything, mainly because (according to Channel 4), the people taking part will get a large cash bung when they’re told of the truth and a free holiday to Kennedy Space Centre in the USA. With me so far ? Now, to maintain the whole idea that they’re really in Russia Channel 4 have planted three actors, which are pointed out to viewers. These actors are a safeguard for the show. Should a cadet become suspicious, an actor can reassure and guide them away from exposing the deception.

Right – so that’s the detail. However, as I said previously, the constant plugging of the “how far can you fool the press” reality show in the commercial breaks got me thinking, and then Mike Scofield emailed me. To explain what I’m talking about, you must look at the Space Cadets website. It says how the cadets were chosen…

“We advertised for ‘thrill-seekers’ to take part in a show that promised lots of surprises and climaxes — including the ultimate thrill. We invited 100 people down for a straightforward interview. They then went through a series of psychological tests and an outward-bound weekend. We chose the final line-up after these tests”.

However, there’s a distinct problem. Remember the facts – there’s THREE actors in the show. The rest are “normal people” who are being fooled…. or… are they ?

The biggest give away is this guy, Ryan McBride. His mop of hair is fairly distinctive…

He is a regular “cadet” and NOT, definitely NOT an actor… at least… that’s what they want us to believe. Oh but wait, does anyone remember the “Give Blood” advert from a few weeks / months back?

Ahh… Well, hang on.. he looks very much like an actor to me… However, in his bio on the Channel 4 site it says he’s an “electrician” and don’t forget that show description “(we are) blasting a group of adventurers, ordinary members of the public, off into space”. Well, he’s not an “ordinary member of the public”….and wait… How about Keri Hasset?

She’s another regular cadet, and again – definitely NOT an actor.. according to Channel 4… Wait a minute… who’s this listed in a Performers Directory? Why, it’s Keri Hasset! Look…

So – no wonder then that this “reality” show is only on for a week. Strange also that the real actors / actresses names are being used too. However, this whole show is obviously NOT a joke on the cadets, it’s one giant joke on us, the viewers. They’re probably all actors! We sit there for a week, thinking “oh what a bunch of idiots for believing all that nonsense”… and then, the twist comes…..

Sorry Channel 4…. Did I just blow the ending for you? ;)