The life swap they wouldn't show

The following is a true story. It kicks off on the 11th September 2005. Many of the names of the main protagonists have been changed in the written account as a preparation for literary publication. To see the actual edit that wasn't allowed on TV please go to the following link & make sure to only click on it once.....

Before the body of writing itself there is an introduction & background analysis of the TV edit. It's worth mentioning that this highlights the fact that we believe our written account is a more honest & far more detailed explanation of what actually happened. It is well worth watching the director's edit through the link above & then read the actual body of literature. This provides a unique insight into the shortcomings of "Reality TV" quite apart from giving two seperate mediums through which to assimilate a story of epic proportions.

Life Roulette is an attempt by the mainstream media to address the differences between our family of experienced anarchists & a family of successful capitalists. It is a 46 minute show involving a life-swap for one week. However weighted in favour of the "six of one half a dozen of the other" principle it still casts an invaluable beam over the subject of the Iraq War. The other family is involved with the upper echelons of the military hierarchy & ours are active anti-war activists. The most poignant fact concerning this project is the fact that after spending thousands & thousands of pounds on it ITV has decided not to show it. For this very reason alone it provides evidence that the mainstream media is still largely providing a rubber stamp of approval for Britain's appalling imperial behaviour abroad.

When we were asked to participate in a Life-Swap commissioned by Granada TV & intended for release on prime-time ITV we told the researchers to look for someone else. We were then told that we were lucky to have been picked & that there are waiting lists involving thousands of people who wanted to appear on reality TV. We still rejected the idea unless they could assure us of certain conditions. These were that we wanted to be swapped with the richest, most corrupt family that they could find. We said that it would merely feed the bigotries of the bourgeoisie if, once again, two sets of working class families were set at each other's throats. We told them that we firmly believe that the whole reality TV fad is merely an attempt to make the middle classes feel comfortable about their bankrupt lives by exaggerating the flaws of working class people. Strangely the researchers said that they would give it a shot. We said that they had better consider it seriously because if we found that they had paired us up with another low paid or unemployed family we would walk. Since we weren't to know who we were being swapped with until the actual moment itself it didn't seem in Granada's interest to squander its resources on a project that we were obviously going to walk out on at the critical moment.

Amazingly we were subjected to the very experience we had asked for. Contrary to the misleading narration in the final edit our opposites are not "self-made" but were born into extreme prosperity & land-ownership. They also have ties with the Royal Family as bastions of the Polo & Fox Hunting set. Our next issue was the possibility of being made to look either immoral or ridiculous.... an easy thing for the media to contrive with careful editing. We sought council among many of our peers & finally agreed that if our conversation was disciplined & focused around two main issues we would at least draw the public's attention to important themes rather than their viewing-time being taken up with petty domestic arguments. These themes were obviously the environment & the Iraq War.

It quickly transpired that the director seemed more sympathetic towards our view-point than that of the establishment. This, however, did not stop him from playing down our attributes & exaggerating the attributes of our "adversaries". He was quite candid in admitting this. His excuse was that he had bugger all chance of getting the final edit on TV if it looked weighted in our favour.

Since it appears to have been "D-Noticed" he has since decided to furnish us with a copy as a "booby-prize". We have mixed feelings about his final edit. On the one hand it does draw attention to the Iraq War in a way not yet seen on British television. Here we had the two most extreme views on British imperialism going head to head. On the other hand the environment was barely touched on & certain untruths were perpetuated in order for our friends to be made to appear slacker than they are & our family, itself, to be made to appear more duplicitous than they are. Our friends punctuality is brought into question {when, in fact it was the punctuality of Granada's production crew which was at fault} & we were asked to breach an agreement by the director in order to make sure our friends were not in any danger which was secretly filmed & then dressed up as a decision we had made ourselves. All will become clear if you watch the final edit on the link above.

We did consider lifting the original & quite biased narration & inserting our own biased narration but, what the hell, this is as much of a comment on the media as it is on the differences between radicals & the establishment.

One thing that strikes us as an important lesson in all of this is the fact that the director had to cull ninety hours of footage into a 46 minute, sensationalist blast worthy of little more than tabloid attention. Although this is better than nothing we have found this medium for analysing our two families as deeply deficient. We have thus written the following autobiographical account entitled "The Life-Swap They Wouldn't Show" which we believe addresses this important experience more thoroughly.

Granada TV did attempt to furnish us with extra footage from the 89 hours 14 minutes that are not available. We have been told, however, that this is now the property of ITV PLC & they will not allow it to be seen. It all reminds me of what happens at the very end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" where the Ark of the Covenant is boxed up & filed away from public view. To this day we have no idea whether all of this is a product of a "Conspiracy" or a "Cock-up" since even this 46 minute edit really should be shown on mainstream TV at this point in history.