When I heard that Channel 4 had decided not to renew the UK version of The Circle, my initial reaction was: “What?!”
Following the popularity of the recent series three which ended on April 9th, and saw Felix aka Natalya Platonova take home the £100K cash prize after catfishing everyone (especially Manrika), it felt like a no-brainer to commission more.
Hosted by Emma Willis, the third series was absolutely brilliant, with new twists such as cloning thrown into the mix and shaking things up even further as Orange Tally and Blue Tally battled it out to prove they were the “OG Tally”.
Let’s not forget the buzz on Twitter, as everyone tweeted along while watching episodes in the evening. The memes were on fire – yes, we’re talking to you Vithun in your bear costume as you went to visit Andy following your blocking.
Quite frankly, we all wanted more after series three of The Cirlcle, which gave us major Big Brother vibes, and brought back feelings of earlier reality TV gold.
So, it was a huge shock to find out that Channel 4 wouldn’t be going ahead with a new series of The Circle.
Sharing a statement, a spokesperson from the network said: “The Circle has been a huge hit for young audiences and has grown successively over three seasons on Channel 4, consistently outperforming slot averages. We’re incredibly proud to have worked with Studio Lambert North and Motion Content Group to invest in such an innovative show and to have given it a springboard for its international format success.
“In much the same way as when we originally commissioned The Circle, Channel 4 has a responsibility to continually look at how we reinvent and create space for new ideas, and so we have decided not to commission the show for a fourth season. We’d like to thank Studio Lambert, Motion and all those involved for The Circle’s huge success over the last three series.”
Despite this news, it was a huge relief when Studio Lambert later revealed to RadioTimes.com that they’d been in talks with Netflix who broadcast the US version of the show, which recently announced Trevor aka Deleesa as the series two winner.
“The second season of The Circle US is doing very well on Netflix and we are in talks with Netflix about the future of the show in both America and in the UK. We are grateful to Channel 4 for all they did to help launch this innovative and entertaining format,” the spokesperson explained.
While Netflix are yet to confirm whether they’ll be going ahead with the UK version, I think it’d be a fantastic idea and they should snap up The Circle while it’s still hot.
Since the US version aired on April 14th, it’s consistently been in Netflix’s Top 10, which means there’s definitely an interest for it, and work has already begun on the third series of The Circle USA.
With both shows filmed in the same location in an apartment block in Manchester’s Salford area, they’re almost identical and will already be familiar to audiences overseas.
Though it doesn’t reach Big Brother or Love Island in terms of ratings, The Circle is definitely one of the more popular reality TV shows in the UK.
According to a report by Deadline, the season two premiere which aired in September 2019, had an audience of 1.3 million, an increase of 30 percent from the first season premiere. Channel 4, also revealed that second season was the highest-rating 10 pm. show among the age 16-34 group since 2010.
I personally think a move to Netflix could make The Circle even bigger and better, with the ability to now binge a few episodes in one go, rather than having to wait until 10pm the next day (I can’t deny, those cliffhangers in season three were killing me!). It’d be great to be able to whizz through the show and take a break, similar to how we watched the US version of the show, which was released weekly in batches on the streaming site.
We’d also be able to watch the episodes at whatever time we like once they drop on Netflix at 8am, and it wouldn’t necessarily feel like a huge panic to get everything done and into bed just so you don’t miss a moment at 10pm.
Of course, this would mean avoiding social media until after the episodes, so you don’t encounter any spoilers, but I think this is a sacrifice many fans would be willing to take to get their Circle fix. Besides, we already do it with the US version, so what difference would this make?
It just wouldn’t feel right to see The Circle go while it’s in what can only be described as its prime – the ratings are going up each year, the twists are out of this world, and the line-up is probably one of the most diverse when it comes to reality TV.
While on other shows, it can sometimes feel like there’s an unwritten criteria when it comes to the contestants, that’s definitely not the case with The Circle, where you are essentially allowed to be whoever you want to be regardless of your race, sexual orientation, career and so on.
This year, we saw an inclusion of four south-Asian contestants – a group who are commonly underrepresented in British reality TV. This just shows how important it is to have shows like The Circle which help to bridge the gap when it comes to representation in British TV.
Like Channel 4, Netflix have also played a very big part in diversifying their content, which would make the UK version of The Circle a great fit for the on demand site, not forgetting its huge entertainment factor.
Additionally, applications have already opened for what would have been series four and the producers recently toldthey have plans for the next run.
When asked how long they see the show going on for, creative director Tim Harcourt said: “Another 10 maybe. We’re already talking about what we can do next year. We had a few ideas we didn’t use this year. We have a few great, new ideas for next year. But we just love those warm, fun cast who love playing the game and it’s only as good as the players playing it, but we’re really happy with the cast this year.”
It’d be an absolute shame to see it all go to waste!