The secrets of Taking New York: putting the structure in structured reality

How was it cast? Is it scripted? Is it replacing Made in Chelsea? Educating Yorkshire producer David Clews reveals all...

Is this being lined up as a replacement for MIC?

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I don’t think Monkey, the production company who make MIC, would say that! No, I don’t think so. I think there’s room for more than one. This is definitely the new, exciting baby on the block and hopefully it will be as successful as MIC. 

I guess it’s interesting to see what happens with the cast of MIC and TOWIE [The Only Way is Essex, below] – they’ve become very famous and that must have an impact on how they react to things. I think audiences will like the freshness – not just that they’re a new cast but the fact that they’re new to being in a series as well.

A lot of people would say that this kind of TV is complete trash.

No, it isn’t. It’s entertainment but the production values and the talent that go into making a show like this are equal to Educating Yorkshire. It’s a different genre and that means you make it in a different way. But the people that like this, love it as much as the people who love Educating Yorkshire. I think they’re [the people who would say it’s trash] just being a bit snobby.

What did you learn from Taking New York?

I was interested in how different is it from making a standard documentary series.

What we did with Educating Yorkshire was make something very unobtrusive and truthful, and part of the success of the fixed rig is the fact that the cameras disappear.

This is the opposite of that and has incredibly high production values. Scenes are lit and set and there’s a big team behind the camera, in front of the real people. I was interested in how they acted – would they act differently to something much more pure and subtle like Educating Yorkshire? But I think that when the cast actually buys into the process, actually they can’t help but be themselves.

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Taking New York continues at 9 pm on Mondays