Newest Review: ... show puts MP's including the disgraced Mark Oaten and the outspoken Austin Mitchell in worlds so far away from their own that it is diffic... more
As a Social Experiment it makes good television
Tower Block of Commons
Member Name: huggy2009
Tower Block of Commons
Disadvantages: Not convincing, hard to feel sorry for anyone
I'm not quite sure why the MP's felt they would get anything but grief from this show. Ostensibly it is supposed to be a show which introduces MP's to the life of people on Council estates and allows normal people to identify with MP's, but as with any of these programmes, the area they are forced to go to is at the most extreme side of British culture, therefore they are forced to survive on a Council Estate with the bare minimum of social support.
Shown on Channel 4 and now 4Od, the show puts MP's including the disgraced Mark Oaten and the outspoken Austin Mitchell in worlds so far away from their own that it is difficult to comprehend.
The four MPs were Mark Oaten (Lib Dem), Austin Mitchell (Labour), Tim Loughton and Iain Duncan Smith (both Conservative), unfortunately Mr Duncan Smith had to withdraw before the programme began as his wife was diagnosed with Cancer.
In many ways the show is using the MP's as punchbags, allowing ordinary people to show their disdain to pampered MP's, but in many ways this is entirely unrealistic.
It asks the MP's to presume they live on such an estate and adapt accordingly, however one of the MP's argues that his beginnings were not easy but by working hard in school, avoiding multiple pregnancy and getting a good job, they have avoided the lives of some of the subjects of this show. This is a simplistic view but it does balance out the programmes desire to paint its subjects as victims deserving of the MP's constant praise and pity.
Austin Mitchell has been portrayed as the villain of the programme as he refuses to live with the local showing him around and leaves regularly for dinner parties with friends, however the guy is in his seventies and the idea of totally living this life doesn't give you any more reason to understand the surroundings.
Oaten and Loughton put themselves into things more, taking abuse from locals, wondering about the security and lifestyles of locals and hopefully may have something to take back to the House of Commons in understanding people in rough areas. Overall I found the show simplistic and a bit like a glorified Wife Swap rather than an effective social experiment, but it made good, interesting television.
Summary: As a Social Experiment it makes good television