MTV Spain has just announced that it has commissioned the reality TV show “Ibiza Shore” – a Spanish version of the US’s “Jersey Shore” and UK’s “Geordie Shore” where a group of pumped up prima donnas with filthy mouths are put in situations that cause as much friction as possible and sexual shenanigans are actively encouraged with the inevitable fallout all being filmed for public consumption although I’m reliably informed that it’s a ‘roller coaster ride of a show with down to earth individuals who have hearts of gold but are a bit mental’. Whatever your viewpoint this is what makes popular viewing these days to a youth demographic bought up in the digital age.
ITV’s illusion show Tricked was here in May and August will see “Made in Chelsea” on the island with their own special brand of TV where posh people look down their noses, get drunk, fornicate and then deal with the complications, all on camera for the viewing public.
Last summer saw a a whole slew of reality TV programmes based on the white isle. “Ibiza Weekender” took over an entire hotel and flew in some ‘clients and reps’ and had hidden cameras catching all the ‘action’ that was, surprise surprise, usually centered around drink and sex.
TOWIE did a special one off ‘The Only Way is Ibiza’ last September and although the program is billed as reality TV it’s actually tightly choreographed with a bunch of friends (and enemies) vying for screen time. Nowadays TOWIE is more of a lifestyle brand and did at least showcase some amazing Ibiza venues such as the Hotel Hacienda, Cotton Club, Es Paradis, Plastik, Harbour Club, Cala Bassa Beach Club and Dalt Vila. I worked behind the scenes on TOWIE and the cast and crew worked very hard in difficult conditions due to unseasonably bad weather which was a massive shame. Word on the street is that they won’t come back to Ibiza as they ‘weren’t made to feel welcome’ unlike Marbella (or is it Marbs) where they are welcomed with open arms.
Last September I was also involved with ‘Blue Go Mad in Ibiza’ that had the famous boy band ‘running’ a San Antonio bar for a couple of weeks however the producers threw in some red herrings with comedy actors cast as Ibiza natives to spice things up. I thought it was a refreshing concept as it didn’t centre around the usual and the finale saw the boys arrested by fake cops and taken to a secret venue for the big reveal with their families present. It was a great cast and crew and we all had great fun however the Spanish just didn’t get it and it was denounced in the local press for showing San Antonio in a bad light – lost in translation yet again!!!
The Ibiza reality TV affair all started at the end of the 90s when the Island was still mainly undiscovered until a certain reality show changed it all, a seminal event that can now be traced back to where it all started. ‘Ibiza Uncovered’ still sends shivers down the spine as what started out as a behind the scenes show became a world wide smash once the producers stumbled upon a magical formula: Drink and Sex.
Those 2 words again! And that’s the problem. As soon as any reality TV series is mentioned we know exactly what it’s going to be about. Here on the island we live in hope that somebody someday will catch the true nature and spirit of the island including all its good and bad points. After all Saints need sinners and vice versa otherwise all you get is bland and Ibiza is anything but bland.
So why do so many reality TV shows come to the island? Most importantly they want to spread a little magic dust on their franchised product and where better to do that than the white isle. Speaking to friends in TV production they also tell me how they love to film in Ibiza as everyone is so laid back and the public are happy to get involved whereas in other places they aren’t so keen. The recurring theme yet again of a Liberal Ibiza never saying NO.
Reality TV is here to stay and in many ways it keeps Ibiza relevant and in the public eye and is there any such thing as bad publicity? Well ‘Ibiza Uncovered’ proved otherwise so I don’t think we should slam the door shut but maybe we should be a little more selective with our open door policy.