There was a time when Liverpool ruled the airwaves – 1995, to be precise.
Brookside was pulling in millions to watch Sinbad knock up Mandy on the Close, This Morning (Fred the eccentric weatherman, and all) was pumping out all manner of interesting tidbits for housewives and students from Albert Dock, teen-soap sensation Hollyoaks (filmed in Liverpool) had begun titillating the socks off us… there was even a brief revival of Carla Lane’s The Liver Birds in production.
Sadly for the scousers, by the early noughties, much of the Mersey TV magic had gone. Hollyoaks was still around, but Brookie had gone to the big cul-de-sac in the sky and This Morning had moved to London in search of a better class of guest.
But wait; could 2011 be a new golden age for Liverpudlian television?
If reports are to be believed, the constructed reality gold rush has jumped on the ferry ‘cross the Mersey and is now firmly rooted in scouse.
Ever since The Only Way Is Essex blew the roof off ITV2’s ratings-o-meter there’s been talk of The Only Way Is Liverpool in media land. It makes sense, as Lime Pictures (the folk behind TOWIE, Geordie Shore, and Hollyoaks for that matter) are holed up in Childwall, L16.
However, TOWIL (you’ll never read that again) is off the agenda, we learn, because Lime (once Phil Redmond’s Grange Hill-Brookie-tastic Mersey Television) have got back into bed with MTV to start casting Mersey Shore – think Surprise Surprise meets Big Brother in purgatory.
As if this wasn’t enough, it appears E4 also want a piece of the north-west action. Not satisfied with the slating of a second series of their rich inbred man’s TOWIE, Made in Chelsea, the digital wing of Channel 4 are understood to have commissioned Desperate Scousewives (yes, you read correctly) to fill the void for voyeuristic desperados between series of SloanieTubbies, featuring Caggie, Millie, Hugo and Po.
Apparently Splash Media (the Candy Cabs people) have already begun auditioning for “cast” and locations for their own piece of E4 constructed real estate. Watch out if you’re a regular at Mosquito bar, it looks like you could be making your telly debut soon.
And so it seems the die is cast. Despite the godfather of scouse telly, Phil Redmond, recently remarking that TV “had lost its way” by overly relying on reality formats, it seems not only there’s a whole host of new shows about to be made on his doorstep – but to add insult to injury, at least one more of them is going to be made by the company he flogged to All3Media in 2005.
Viva la scouseland!