Big Brother may be over and the summer barely happened, but while we’ve been locked inside in front of our TVs glued to Brian and co, another reality show has been quietly filming away in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. MTV’s newest offering Living On The Edge is about to launch and we spoke exclusively to Assistant Producer Rebecca Hall to get the lowdown on what to expect.
The idea for the show initially stemmed from US drama The O.C. and spiralled from there into reality spin-off Laguna Beach. Rebecca explains: “Laguna Beach was such a hit for MTV both in America and here that MTV were interested to see if they could make a UK version too.” And for the last few months, that’s exactly what they have been doing.
Living On The Edge follows the lives of a group of 18-year-olds living their last summer before they all head off to university. But these are no ordinary teenagers – growing up in Alderley Edge is a bit different from the norm. “These teens are rich and beautiful. Alderley Edge is vibrant and glamourous - a playground for the UK’s rich and famous. We follow the highs and lows, the parties and the drama of the group in their last summer together”, says Rebecca.
So can we expect any similarities to the shows that inspired LOTE? Yes and no, says Rebecca. “Laguna Beach was groundbreaking because ultimately it was a documentary but filmed as though it was a drama. In that respect, it is similar to the OC. But the beauty of LB & LOTE is that the ‘characters’ in it are all 100% real people whose real life is being unveiled before the cameras. No actors to be sniffed for miles!” she says.
With British summertime not really happening this year, there have been the inevitable filming highs and lows. Rebecca explains: “The British weather was absolutely the worst part of filming – why did it have to rain all summer?” It wasn’t all doom and gloom though: “It’s definitely been the most glamourous summer of my life. I’ve really got to see how the other half live.”
MTV and Lime Pictures’ production values impressed her too: “The production values on this show are astounding. Filming on high definition cameras and working with Lime Pictures (famous for Hollyoaks and Grange Hill) has opened my eyes up to how badly shot some reality television is and how amazing it could be. The show is going to look brilliant on the screen.”
After the recent phone scandal, some reality shows have come under fire for ‘creating’ situations for entertainment value. In fact the US version of Beauty and the Geek, currently being televised here, comes with a footnote confirming the practice. So did Living On The Edge ever have to resort to this?
Rebecca says a strenuous no: “Seriously, the amazing thing about this show is that you will watch it and not be quite sure whether you are watching actors or real people. Our group have let us have total access into their thoughts and actions for the whole summer, so there has never been the need to ‘construct’ the drama. It’s already there!”
With ten teens under the lens, there must undoubtedly have been power struggles for the spotlight, but Rebecca says it has all panned out well in the editing process: “Esme leads the show because she narrates it, but all of our ten are stars! They each have ample amounts of drama to keep you on your toes through the eight episodes.”
The last summer before university is for most a heart wrenching time, a time of change, discovery and of growing up. But most of all, teenagers are concerned with copping off. So after the dubious joys of BB8’s Chiggy and Bamanda, will Living On The Edge fulfil our need for romance?
Hell yes, says Rebecca: “They are 18, gorgeous and about to be separated for the first time. How could we not have romance?! Watch out for Steve - or ‘Beardy’ as he’s better known. He is definitely the charmer of the group and has Esme in his sights from the beginning of the series.”
With all that in mind, are there any series highlights we should make a note not to miss? “Oh that would be telling,” says Rebecca. “Just don’t miss the first two explosive episodes – they’ll have you hooked for the rest of the series.”
Living On The Edge starts with a double episode on Sunday 14th October at 8pm on MTV. If you can’t wait til then, you can check the teens out on the MTV website – following the links to their profiles.-->
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