I first got hooked on the antics of the Made in Chelsea cast four years ago. Since then I’ve watched with a level of mild obsession as, over ten series, the immaculately-dressed, perfectly-coiffed cast of the E4 reality series have partied, snogged, slapped, shopped, giggled, glared and gossiped, all for our viewing pleasure. It’s been my fond guilty pleasure – a staple of my Monday night viewing.
I say this to add some context to what I’m about to suggest because, although I love MIC, in recent weeks I’ve found myself wondering: has it had its day?
A year ago the cast descended on New York for a summer of socialising stateside. It was MIC back to its Bafta-winning best: there was drama by the bucketload and the relationships even had a smidge of reality to them – Louise’s boyfriend Alik upped sticks and moved to London once the cast’s holiday was complete. It was true love.
So, this August they’ve packed their bags once again, swapping the fast-paced Big Apple for the slower pace of Los Angeles. Only this time, Made in Chelsea’s A-list have opted to stay put in Chelsea and boy has the series missed them.
Instead of bullish Spencer’s bad boy antics and Stevie and Proudlock’s budding bromance, we’ve been left with conversations between Alex and JP so wooden they wouldn’t look out of place in an IKEA flat pack. Replacing acidic Victoria Baker Harber (who I never thought I’d miss), is shrill Toff and her schoolgirl giggles – no match for the sharp tongue of her supposed sparring partner Mark Francis. Lucy and Binky provide some light relief, but even they can’t carry the weight of this dreary spin-off.
New York introduced Alik, but also brought us the delightfully awkward fling between Rosie and her “polyamorous” beau Jules, not to mention Stevie and Jamie’s contest to win the heart of newcomer Billie. In contrast, LA has delivered clingy Naz and her nauseating ‘relationship’ with Mr Laing, ‘mother of the earth’ Olivia, Binky and JP’s non-romance and a couple of meatheads whose names I’ve already forgotten.
I’m bored. The ‘drama’ (for want of a better word) feels empty – an inevitable outcome when every possible coupling has been explored. Jamie is dating an American for the simple reason that he’s run out of Brits, having made his move on every girl in his friendship group.
And it gets worse. The MIC B-list can’t carry a series but – bad news, folks – they’ll have to because, while they’ve been sunning themselves on the golden coast, their London-based cast mates have been dropping like flies.
This summer has seen an exodus. July brought us a blog post from Andy Jordan confirming speculation he was quitting the series. Then last weekend his best mate Stevie released a statement announcing his own departure, adding, “I cannot offer the show as much as I used to.”
Their decisions come amid speculation that Spencer Matthews’ exit is imminent marking the departure of one of the show’s few remaining original cast members.
If true, Spencer’s departure will leave a gaping hole in his friendship group – I take no pleasure in massaging his ego but Mr Matthews’ pantomime villain is the show’s beating heart; without him Jamie well and truly becomes a lost boy.
Of course, Made in Chelsea isn’t the only reality series to experience a high turnover – both TOWIE and Geordie Shore have found a fresh lease of life in new characters, but MIC won’t have much of a future if it keeps replacing its fan favourites with duds.
LA has brought the return of a blue-haired Gabriella Ellis and promises the comeback of her Union Jack-loving ex-boyfriend Ollie Locke, but it doesn’t feel like enough. After ten series, Made in Chelsea needs some exciting new blood if it’s going to survive – or at least keep this fan watching.