Channel 4’s The Circle is a Black Mirror catfishing nightmare – but viewers can’t get enough

The new social media-themed reality show got a lot of people talking... on social media, obviously

Alice Levine and Maya Jama hosting Channel 4's The Circle (C4, HF)

The launch of Channel 4’s new social media reality show The Circle certainly got everybody talking on Tuesday night – well, you know, on social media at least.

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From its Black Mirror-style concept and catfishing contestants to incredibly speedy voice recognition, viewers were intrigued by the new format.

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Presented by Maya Jama and Alice Levine, The Circle follows a group of contestants as they spend three weeks in separate apartments in a block of flats, communicating with each other solely through the specially built social media platform.

The players can add whatever they want to their online profiles, and the aim of the game is to avoid being ‘blocked’ – at which point the other contestants will discover whether that person really is who they say they are. They are competing to win a £50,000 cash prize.

Lots of viewers took to Twitter to point out how the concept could have been inspired by Channel 4’s former show Black Mirror, with the reality TV concept bearing many similarities to Nosedive – a Black Mirror episode in which people constantly rate each other.

There was both controversy and confusion, too, over contestants assuming a completely different identity online. Case in point: gay contestant Freddie pretending to be a straight guy, flirting with ‘Kate’ (who is actually a man called Alex).

And others were unhappy with one of the contestants, Jennifer, pretending to be an oncologist.

Meanwhile, some people thought watching contestants shouting at a screen for the next three weeks could get pretty old pretty quickly.

But whether people liked the show or not, no one could deny the spectacularly speedy voice recognition going on behind the scenes…

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The Circle continues at 10pm on Channel 4 this Wednesday 19th September