Fortune: Million Pound Beg

Has anyone else seen this programme?

If you haven’t, the premise is thus: a combination of people, some odd and stupid, others desperate and worthy, present a ‘pitch’ to a panel irritatingly dubbed “the fortune five” (five “high profile millionaires”, most of whom are utterly full of themselves and whose very presence on the show says so much about them) and basically beg for a share of £1,000,000.

Hosted by the nauseating Richard Madeley (surely the most patronising man on TV?) the ‘contestants’ have to battle for the sympathy of the panel, in the hope that some scraps will be thrown their way.

Inevitably there are some vaguely comedic moments (like when an absolute moron who lost everything to his turf accountant came asking for money to buy a racehorse to curry favour with his old ‘friends’ down the track) but the leitmotif of the show is surely the poor individual baring their soul in front of the nation.

It’s fantastic when they get the money. Some hugely worthy causes have been pitched and have succeeded in receiving life-changing amounts of money. But at what cost? And is it right?

I suppose if you get the dosh you’ll be happy enough. But what does it say about us (and ITV) that we are happy to make and watch a show where people have to go on TV and prostrate themselves in front of millions in the hope of being deemed worthy enough to be thrown some crumbs by “successful” individuals ?

So why do we watch in our droves? Is it to share in the euphoria when the underdogs get some respite? Or is it because we have a grotesque desire to be witness to a parade of people that are worse off than ourselves? Depressingly, I guess it’s a combination of both.

Long live reality TV eh?


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