Decent reality TV programmes?

I fucking hate reality TV. I keep it to myself in real life though as i also can’t stand people who broadly dismiss popular stuff, and we all spend time watching pointless shite so each to their own. Think there’s probably some class snobbery and at the root of the naysaying as well, maybe some sexism, idk.

Think the reason i tend not to like it is because so many of the contestants are so vacuous and fame-hungry. Quite like the narratives of reality programmes, but i struggle if the people taking part aren’t bringing any sort of skill to the contest or doing something they’re passionate about.

Recently i’ve been trying to get past my reservations about reality TV in general. I watched a BBC series called The Rap Game and really enjoyed it. The contestants all seemed relatable and were clearly quite driven and talented.

Question then - can anyone recommend any other reality TV series i might like based on the above, e.g not just a few shaggers with bleached teeth in a wobbly cardboard house who look good in budgie-smugglers?

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Obvs as fake as anything but the stories are often nice and given the number of people on it from poor / deprived / isolated backgrounds there’s no class snobbery about it.

All or Nothing: Manchester City

Hell’s Kitchen is pretty good. A fair bit of Ramsay’s performative histrionics but the most of the contestants are there for the right reasons and it’s a pretty interesting and entertaining process.

:heart::heart::heart: REPAIR SHOP :heart::heart::heart:


The Circle :o:


I watched an episode of Kitchen Nightmares by accident recently, i’d had a few and lost the remote in the early hours. It was a pair or twins who owned the worst ever vaguely Italian family restaurant in America somewhere. They were a strange pair, completely reliant on eachother but one like the father figure.

Got to be honest, it was great TV. For some reason those two fellas stayed with me. There was one scene where Ramsay got them to spar in a boxing ring and so much anger came out it was really hard to watch, but then it seemed to work out and they’re still open. As much as i’m cynical about how scripted these things are i like the episodes where you end up rooting for someone.


I love that episode! They’re so fascinating those twins. Did find them fairly amusing during that boxing bit when one keeps crying and the other gets really pissed off with him. Kitchen Nightmares is good entertainment but all a bit formulaic if you watch more than 2 or 3 at a time.

Have you ever seen The Up Series? Think you’d like it.

And yeah, The Circle. It does have fame hungry types on it but it’s such a good laugh.

Race Across the World was brilliant and is on iplayer. Mostly nice people, some lovely bonding between friends and family.

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Yeah this.

It really is the best thing on the box. Watched one recently when an old lad took a wireless radio on that him and his wife, since passed, bought decades ago. My hayfever really flared up towards the end.

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Celebrity Hunted
The Island with Bear Grylls
Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls
The Heist (sky1)



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The Circle

Rupaul’s Drag Race

Beyond the array of talents they need for drag itself, there are some really beautiful human stories throughout.


Try Below Deck (not the med one) It’s set on yachts and they have guests on for 3 days and it’s based around the crew. My bf loves it as they’re actually doing stuff and having to work rather than just arguing.

Bad Lads Army

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Jersey Shore


No skills involved really, but if you can find it, Average Joe is essential. Peak mid-2000s pre-Instagram reality tv, the kind where everybody gave their last names and seemed to be in a permanent state of wonder that they were being filmed. The premise is a model thinks she’s going on a Bachelor type show, but instead all of the contestants are “average.” Then they bring in a literal boat load of “hunks” halfway through to crush everyone’s spirits. Who will she choose? It’s equally cruel and heartwarming (and has some great moments that were clearly bad ideas pitched by network executives to make things seem more shocking).

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Kid Nation is a must if you can appreciate it from a “how did this get made” standpoint. Back in 2007 they dropped a bunch of kids, aged 8(!) to 14, off in the New Mexico desert and made them form a society.