A new reality TV low as actors impersonate dead relatives for bereaved families on new show
If you thought reality TV had already scraped the bottom of the barrel, think again. A new TV show about resurrecting the dead is one of the programmes being premiered this week at the world's biggest TV market in Cannes.
On display at TV trade fair MIPTV (Marché International des Programmes de Télévision) is Japan's TV show Resurrection Makeover, which is made by Fuji TV. In the show actors use high-tech make-up techniques to look like the deceased and then visit the bereaved so that grieving families can be "re-united" with their dead loved ones.
In an episode of the show promoted in Cannes, a wife whose husband had died of cancer at 31 – and left behind two children – is startled as the lookalike actor turns up at her door saying, "I am so happy." He then proceeds to sing his wife's favourite song. Fuji announced proudly on their website: "Great News from our colleagues attending MIPTV in Cannes! Two of Fuji TV's brand new formats, Answer Like an Animal and Resurrection Makeover, were chosen as two of the twenty world's most interesting TV formats of the last six month at the Fresh TV sessions at MIPTV!"
Death is also the subject of the Dutch TV show With Love From Above, in which dying people record heart-rending messages to their loved ones and then get the chance to arrange gifts that will be sent to the bereaved from beyond the grave.
The other big subject matter is love. Among the tasteful programmes on the European agenda for next year are a German show about romance for middle-aged virgins called A Shot at Love, and a dating show from Spain called Date My Avatar, in which actors stand in for suitors with the real contenders feeding them their lines through an earpiece.
The 7 not so magnificent shows coming to a TV near you soon...
Mygrations (Fox International Channels)
Want to be a human herd? Then apply to join the 20 men and women – including survivalists, hunters and scientists – who have to follow the six-week Wildebeest migration to the Mara River in East Africa, confronting predators along the way. No to be confused with Wimps in the Wilderness, a new show about people on a wilderness journey who are accompanied by a life coach.
Answer Like an Animal (Fuji Creative Corp)
Contestants have to “embrace the spirit of wild animals” by solving challenges as the animal as which they are dressed. Virginia Mouseler, head of The Wit research agency, who has been studying the latest trends in TV programmes, said the growing trend for animals shows in particular was a sign of people looking for comfort as technology takes over. "People are feeling overwhelmed by technology and need to reconnect with the animals within," she said.
Date My Avatar (La Competencia/Televisa)
Find love without ever actually having to meet your lover. Perfect for the digital generation.
A Shot at Love (FremantleMedia Intl)
A lonely hearts show with a twist as middle-aged virgins aim for love, with the participants including, apparently, a quirky belly dancer.
With Love From Above (Tuvalu Media)
This show gives the dying a chance to give messages – and sometimes even gifts – to loved ones after the present buyer has passed away. A sort of 'say it with flowers' in reverse.
Resurrection Makeover (Fuji Creative Corp)
Meet your missing deceased in the shape of actors who have been professionally made up to resemble the deceased.
Guess My Age (Vivendi Entertainment)
For a potential prize money pot of £75,000, contestants must guess the age of people they’ve never seen before. You lose money for every year you get wrong. Let's hope Benjamin Button isn't involved.