All would be well if, if, ifCry the green bells of CardiffWhy so worried, sisters, whySang the silver bells of WyeAnd what will you give meSay the sad bells of Rhymney
From The Bells of Rhymney by Idris Davies
By now you have probably seen or heard about MTV’s latest Reality TV show The Valleys. Filmed in Wales, it is a spin off from Geordie Shore, MTV UK’s commercial hit show which was based in Newcastle. Following a similar format MTV producers chose volatile wannabe halfwits trying to make it in ‘the industry’, this time plucking nine young people from the ‘obscurity’ of the south Wales valleys and placing them in a share house in the bright lights of Cardiff. Although the show is unscripted, unlike TOWIE and Made in Chelsea, it still sets up scenarios and heavily edits footage to cause the participants to get it on or kick off with little regard for the communities and reputations of the places it discusses on camera.
The Valleys’ emblems are lazily obvious Welsh stereotypes – sheep, leeks – shoved on billboards, and later tattooed on the girls’ nether regions in a charming display of commaraderie. Seeming to prefer unreality for their reality shows, the MTV team created their own Welsh myths – press releases depicting the valleys as rural backwaters, talking about the ‘tranquility of valleys life’ and our ‘hamlet towns’ (but meaning the contestants home towns of Swansea, Bridgend, Tredegar and Pontypool). Towns that they imply are uncrossable distances from the metropolis of Cardiff, rather than the short bus or train hops they really are:
“Deep in the heart of South Wales, in the quiet and picturesque rolling countryside known as The Valleys, nine youngsters are currently stuck in humdrum and unexciting jobs, but dream of a life of stardom, limousines, flashing paparazzi bulbs and adoring fans. Brand new show The Valleys will pluck them from obscurity and thrust them into the limelight where they will live in a house kitted out with a ‘cutch-hut’ (sic) and cameras, to see if they succeed amidst the hustle and bustle of Cardiff city.”
Read the article in full on Click on Wales: http://www.clickonwales.org/2012/11/a-welsh-reality-tv-car-crash/