Column: Un-reality

 The Real Housewives of Cheshire. Publicity image may be subject to copyright.

My name is Nicola and I love reality television.

Not just that – what I REALLY love is structured reality television.

You know, the sort that no intellectual worth their salt would actually switch on, or so they say.

But I don’t care. I love the escapist viewing offered by MIC (Made in Chelsea), TOWIE (no explanation needed) and even KK (Kim Kardashian). My latest guilty pleasure RHOC – the Real Housewives of Cheshire. (pictured)

Of course this is not reality at all, which is where the fascination lies. It would be frightening if it was. In fact we recently interviewed one of the RHOC for a story and she seemed perfectly normal.

But it is the manipulation of characters, the awkward posturing of (usually) untalented individuals selected for the looks, quirks and plain inadequacies that make them fascinating examples of social diversity and therefore TV kryptonite.

The unreality of the reality is what makes it work because it unconsciously mirrors the mores and habits of our lives – just on an exaggerated scale. It flames our desires, provokes our pity, triggers our fury and stirs our jealousies. A TV producer’s dream.

And what is a’real’ person anyway? Do we really look like our Friday night-out selves on a Monday morning? Do our Facebook profiles – and photos – reflect the reality of our day to day lives?

Do we tell our friends and loved ones the ‘ warts and all’ truths about our past mistakes and humiliations?

No. We edit. We reinvent.

We create a style, emulate a fashion or a look. Make choices and decisions that influence events In our lives. Let others decide for us. Make a conscious choice to act or speak differently.

We all construct our realities and in this day and age increasingly we publish that – via social media to our friends. So structured reality television is just a mirror of our lives – on other people.

Well, that’s my excuse m’lud. Although I won’t be carrying a really tiny dog in an expensive handbag any time soon.

This column was published in the Lancaster Guardian newspaper. CLICK HERE