BBC bets on scripted reality series Boom Town

Superheroes Roger Hayhurst and Rebecca Wall Boom Town features superheroes from Salford

The BBC is taking a bet on structured reality television with Boom Town.

The six-part series, made for BBC Three, features a cast of eccentric individuals including a stripper, two superheroes and a white witch.

But instead of simply filming their surreal lives for a documentary, the programme puts its real-life stars into situations that have been scripted for television by the producers.

It follows other successful programmes with a similar premise, the most famous of which is probably ITV's The Only Way is Essex. The long-running series won a Bafta audience award in 2011, seeing off competition from the likes of Downton Abbey.

The BBC series, produced by indie Knickerbockerglory, will focus on a cast of 'colourful characters, each with their very own, self-composed catchphrases and quirky qualities'.

Karl Warner, the BBC executive editor behind the show, says: 'Everyone in Boom Town is 100% real. It might be hard to believe but it's true, and Knickerbockerglory have done a great job of producing a BBC Three series that feels genuinely original.'

'Doing good'

The cast includes a rapper living in genteel Marlow with his mother, and a ladies' man with a 'range of seduction skills' he sharpened on the streets of New York.

The superheroes hail from Salford and are a couple engaged to be married. They say they make the area a safer place to live through 'conducting regular patrols, picking up litter, intervening in disputes and generally doing good'.

Their superhero diet includes Pot Noodles, chips, sausages and fish fingers.

Jonathan Stadlen, the managing director of Knickerbockerglory, says the programme is 'genre-bending'. 'Taking real-life people one would normally see in a documentary and producing them with the genre conventions of a sketch show has made it the most exciting and creatively interesting project to work on.'

Boom Town, a fictional name for the kind of town this ensemble of characters might live in, has been in development for two years.

It will air on BBC Three in August.


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