Irish and French demand a real deal

Posted February 21, 2011

Irish and French demand a real deal

The French moan that they have to work too hard. The Irish complain that they can’t get work. The root of the problem? Reality television.

Traveller families are considering taking legal action against Channel 4 over the negative impact that My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding has had on their community. They say that the programme caused a public backlash and that they are being refused work because they are gypsies.

According to the Daily Star, which admittedly is a tad obsessed with reality celebs (how often has Jordan now featured as its cover story?), the travellers could receive a big fat payout of up to £10 million, if their claim is successful.

I don’t know if the participants of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding received any payment at the time of filming. If they did, then their community could always suggest that they donate their earnings to a traveller’s fund. Seems only fair, doesn’t it?

And it’s a sense of fairness that has galvanised French TV contestants to take reality TV programme makers to court. The poor loves gave up their office jobs thinking that they’d seen the last of being constantly bossed around. But non! They soon realised that taking part in a reality TV show such as L'Île de la Tentation, the French version of Temptation Island, is much more demanding.

The promise of fame alone was no longer enough for these newbie stars. Exhausted by their exploits, they demanded a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s reality show participation. Jérémie Assous, the lawyer who has been representing the contestants said: “It’s incredibly tough, it’s like a film shoot, only the conditions are much harder. You have to work from 7am to 3am every day. You have to do an activity every 20-30 minutes…” I can only imagine what these arduous activities entail … scantily clad, on a beach, on a tropical island.

The French case has been running for over six years now and judges have already ruled that appearing in reality shows constitutes work. The appeals court now has to decide how much the participants are ‘owed’.

It is rumoured that English spinsters are also seeking compensation. They claim that recent successes on Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent highlight their potential eccentricity value and that TV bosses have been negligent in not recognising this before now. The spinster community is negotiating a hefty sum in lost earnings for undiscovered singing and dancing skills.

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