Melanie Hill


Endemol for E4, 19 March to ? 2001


Chained, the Endemol reality game to end them all gives six people the chance to find love - and perhaps sex! - by chaining them together 24 hours a day across a number of days. Billed as 'the most extreme dating show ever', we could think of a more extreme one. How about getting six people to hang around with each other but having to keep a part of your body in one of somebody else's orifices for seven days? Sure, it will be sick, probably quite funny, and probably because it wouldn't surprise us that Endemol will probably think it up and make a pilot for it within the next year, we'd just like to point out that that's (c) Us, 2001. Now wait for the cash to roll in. Cheers!

Back to Chained, then. One person is the leader of the Chain. Five other people are connected up in a line by arm and leg. Every day, the leader of the chain must decide on one person to get thrown off the chain, eliminating that person from the game. The last person other than the leader left on the chain should be the person the leader fancies the most.

What's more, at the beginning of the week the leader is given £5000 to spend however they wish. That's a lot of cash and probably not going to be all spent, so at the end of the game when only one other person remains the leader essentially has three choices. They can keep all the remaining cash for themselves, they can give all the remaining cash to the 'winner' or they can split it any way they fancy.

To live in, the players have a custom fitted modern flat. Unlike the Prison Chic of Big Brother, it's actually really nice. And we've noticed a giant Connect 4 along one wall which is always a good thing (when not tedious). Instead of a double bed, they get a bed big enough to house all six of them. They have a toilet and shower (and a special long chain that can be fitted when one wants to use them). They've got a nice kitchen, albeit one that can get crowded. They can even go out!

There are also numerous cameras. It's not quite Big Brother but they're definitely there, as are the camera people who don't make any attempt to hide. Each day, each person can also speak out to the 'confession cam' by being on the extra long chain and having everybody else wearing headphones with loud music being played through them. It's quite a good effect, having one person sitting right in front of the cameras talking and everybody else looking vacant with stupid looking orange headphones behind them.

The programme is presented by former BB housemate Melanie Hill, who went on Panorama to complain about her treatment on TV's most infamous reality show. It's a little hypocritical, that's she's taking the TV dollar here. Anyway, her role is to introduce the show, unchain the losing contestants and interview them, which is about five minutes of the total programme. The voiceover is done by "some Scottish bloke". There is the obligatory hardcore dance track theme which isn't nearly as good or infernally catchy as Elementfour's Big Brother one. The 3D computer 'Chained' graphic is quite nice though. And instead of the white noise of Big Brother between different scenes, we have shots of trendy young people 'being close'.

It's a show that aims to mildly shock (as well as the traditional one woman/5 men, 1 man/5 woman weeks, there's also a bisexual and lesbian combo) but it doesn't take itself seriously and it's quite good fun. However, it's not a show you'll find yourself getting too "attached" to. Ha ha!

Key moments

When they got released from their cuffs. Key moments? Geddit?

Web links

E4 programme pages, via


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