LONDON (Reuters) – A new British reality TV show, which will film two people – one disfigured, the other attractive – living together in a house full of mirrors, has been branded a “freak show” by critics.
In each episode of Channel 4’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, a different pair will be followed by cameras inside and outside the home, to explore how people’s lives are shaped by their appearance.
“Channel 4 made a commitment to end this type of voyeuristic programming when they announced the end of Big Brother,” said Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch UK.
“Putting a disfigured person in a mirrored house in the name of entertainment is neither healthy nor appropriate subject matter for a television program,” she said.
“It looks like an extraordinary monster show.”
The six-part series is however made with the cooperation of disfigurement charity Changing Faces.
Channel 4, which is state-owned but funded by advertising, defended the programme: “The series aims to challenge the narrow definition of beauty in a candid and engaging format,” a spokesperson said.
Details of the program have been revealed just as Channel 4’s Big Brother nears the end of its 11th and final series.
This program had been criticized for featuring a person with Tourette syndrome, midgets and plastic surgery obsessives who critics say exploited vulnerable people for television.
Beauty and the Beast is set to air later this year or early next year.
Reporting by Isabel Coles; Editing by Steve Addison