Made in Chelsea has become a perfectly formed, glamorous-yet-trashy soap
Expect a cocktail of catfights and caviar as season 17 of ‘reality’ TV series gets under way
The cast of season 17 of Made in Chelsea
It’s difficult to call Made in Chelsea a “reality” TV series anymore as in the past few seasons they’ve given up even trying to make it appear natural in any way. Most episodes now consist of the cast continuously circling the same stretch of a bizarrely vacant Cheyne Walk, bumping into each other or stopping half-strangers to invite them to some spurious event.
The continuity announcer has even stopped informing viewers that “some scenes are created for entertainment purposes” because Made in Chelsea is so far removed from any semblance of reality that it might as well be an avant-garde animated series set in a snow globe.
Now that the show’s blatant mechanics have been revealed it should make it utterly risible but instead has the opposite effect, Made in Chelsea could qualify as a perfectly formed, glamorous-yet-trashy soap. It’s a derivative Dynasty with all the boring business dealings removed, concentrating solely on the fun stuff: berating cheating cads, raising perfectly manicured eyebrows during conversations and the lost art of drink throwing.
This season opens with the eternally self-satisfied Miles trilling on about his perfect ex with benefits arrangement – an act of foreshadowing so flagrant it could have been coupled with a wink to the camera. Seconds later his mysterious French ex-girlfriend Maeva arrives at a hotel, texting Miles to announce that she’s decided to move to London and would like to spend more time with him. Mon Dieu!
Meanwhile, the grand Made in Chelsea tradition of ushering in the latest cast members in the most embarrassingly staged way continues with new-boy Angus (previously seen on Celebs Go Dating) introducing himself to Habbs at a bar as if he was in an English language training video.
His friend, Taylor Swift lookalike Amelia, is a welcome addition to the cast. Speaking in a series of squeaks and stupid voices, she’s like a character from Miranda who has somehow been transplanted into the middle of the sour duck faces of Chelsea. There’s no staring off into the middle-distance for Amelia.
When she talks about her summer fling with Miles, she bounds over to the startled smoothie in a cheerful-auntie fashion, playfully admonishing him for not getting in touch. Her sunny disposition may not sit well with the catty Chelsea set, so she might be forced to take part in a bitter nonsensical feud with Miles’s French fancy to prove her worth.
As usual the show excels at making the viewer invest in the complicated couplings of various anonymous toffs. James (a boy who resembles a giant toddler) bumps into Eliza and within seconds has invited her to go on a date to Paris with him. No one in Chelsea does small talk or subtlety, evidently. What James doesn’t know is that across town his on-off paramour Verity is getting friendly with show veterans Jamie and Alex at a genetics lecture (what else?) who ask her to an opulent 1980s-themed birthday party.
As everyone jostles about in their finest shoulder pads and sequins, James and Eliza’s flirty chat is interrupted by a glassy-eyed Verity cooing about James, filling in Eliza about his late-night phone calls in a disturbingly Stepford Wives tone. Sadly, faces remain unslapped and drinks stay safely in their glasses this time but season 17 of Made in Chelsea looks set to be a contrived cocktail of catfights and caviar worthy of those crafty Carringtons.