UK Reality Show Challenges Nation's Poor to Battle for a Year's Wage


Imagine a future where an audience of television viewers gathers weekly to watch a reality show on which a group of unemployed or minimum wage workers participate in competitions meant to prove their societal worth. No, this isn’t the plot of a Black Mirror episode; it’s BBC 2’s very real upcoming series, Britain’s Hardest Grafter.

“The BBC is seeking 25 British workers, a mix of the unemployed, the under-employed and those earning the minimum wage, who will be given the opportunity to ‘prove themselves’ through a series of challenges,” reports The Independent. “A cash prize is on offer for the winner.”

The casting notice for Britain’s Hardest Grafter calls for people earning less than £15,500 ($23,799.40 USD), which is the U.K.’s current living wage.

The series, as described in a statement made by production company Twenty Twenty to blog Graduate Fog, will go as follows:

“In each episode, people will be put to the test in a series of challenges and tasks. At the end of each episode, those who have produced the least will be eliminated and by the end of the process, just one worker will remain. The winner will receive in the region of £15,000 which is a year’s living wage (outside of London).”

From the gladiator pits to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, human history is rife with poor people being used as entertainment, but Britain’s Hardest Grafter pushes the concept to an extreme, explicit and (as The Independent points out) Hunger Games-esque level of exploitation that’s almost unheard of on modern-day television.

Well done, BBC. This is capitalism at its finest.

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Image via Getty.

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