I don’t have, I should declare from the off, a pathological hatred of reality television. Done properly, I still find myself being drawn in, with the likes of the rapidly waning Apprentice and the US show The Mole among the most interesting. The likes of Big Brother, however, are as welcome on my television as a 24 hour Jim Davidson marathon.
Unbreakables was one I missed when it first came round. That’s understable, given that it was broadcast on Channel Five, but after sitting through the DVD release, I must admit I may have been a bit hasty. Because this is actually something a little more interesting than most, as a group of the supposed toughest of the toughest face the kind of challenges that very nearly put me off my glass of wine and bag of crisps. That’s not very sporting on their part, thought I.
The show brings together a mix of six men and two women, with the common feeling that they are unbreakable. There’s quite a mix of age and professions, and unlike – thankfully – most reality TV shows, there’s no contrived vote at the end to get someone chucked off. In the case of Unbreakables, you’re only off the show if you’re broken. Break your leg or injure yourself? Tough monkeys, you’re on the first bus home.
Personally, having seen the challenges now, I’m not even sure that I’d have unpacked my case. The group go across varying terrains, undertaking challenges under the watchful eye of people who seem to be really quite angry and intense. The challenges themselves are brutally tough, and it’s unsurprising that a health and safety bod regularly seems to pop up and explain what’s what. This is one show that a risk assessment would surely have nipped in the bud in double quick time.
You might have guessed by now that I ended up warming to Unbreakables. It certainly seemed, again from where I was sitting, to pull few punches in attempting to borderline kill and terrorise its contestants, and I had no quibbles that the show lived up to its billing.
There is, however, a hefty fly in the ointment, and that’s over the top voiceover man. Appreciating that the show was broadcast with commercial breaks, he nonetheless dumbs everything down the best he can, repeating things we’ve seen not minutes before and generally getting in the way of what’s happening on screen. It’s a real shame, and I’d have liked to have seen a DVD option that kept his intervention to a minimum.
But still, that’s the only sizeable quibble here, even if it is quite a big one. Granted, those unconverted to date by reality television aren’t going to warm to it, but I quite liked Unbreakables, and wouldn’t object to sitting through another run of it. It serves me right for ignoring Channel Five….