The Circle



Alice Levine and Maya Jama (2018)

Emma Willis (2019-21)


Sophie Willan (voice of "The Circle")


Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group for Channel 4, 18 September 2018 to 9 April 2021 (61 episodes in 3 series)

as The Celebrity Circle, 9 to 15 March 2021 (6 episodes in 1 series)


To promote their new nightly show, one that's not competing with Big Brother in any way at all, Channel 4's press office sent a missive:

Channel 4 has commissioned Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group to produce The Circle, a bold new factual entertainment series that will ask provocative questions about modern identity, how we portray ourselves and how we communicate through social media.
Our social circles used to consist of a handful of friends we saw regularly, now it can be made up of hundreds of individuals many of whom we have never met in real life. Social media has radically changed the way we make friends, conduct relationships, argue and even fall in love, but how truthful are our internet identities? And what are we prepared to do to be popular, when others can't see who we really are?
In The Circle individuals from all walks of life will compete in a popularity contest to win up to £50,000. They will all live in one modern block but separately in individual apartments, interacting with one another exclusively through a bespoke voice-activated social media platform called "The Circle".
Like many people using social media today, "The Circle" will enable them to chat, make friends, argue and maybe even fall in love. Building their own profiles, contestants will only get to know each other from what they choose to reveal via "The Circle". They will be able to communicate as a group or individually, allowing cliques to form and private allegiances to be made.
Popularity matters and all will be trying to avoid being judged least popular by the rest of The Circle. Throughout the contest the competitors will rate each other with whoever is liked the least running the risk of being 'blocked' and removed from The Circle. It is only when someone is 'blocked' that the others will learn about who they have really been interacting with. Will they turn out to be who they said they were? How will each member of The Circle play the game and stay popular and will the other competitors believe their hype?

The contestant call gave some further information:

"There is a maximum £50k prize up for grabs for the most popular contestant at the end of the competition." It didn't say that viewers would vote on a further £25,000 prize for their favourite finalist.

"Contestants will all live in one modern block but separately in individual apartments, interacting with one another exclusively through a bespoke voice-activated social media platform, called "The Circle". There will be games, surprises, twists and turns."

"The competition will suit confident people who are prepared to be put to the test."

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2018 - Alex Hobern, who played as Kate.
2019 - Paddy Smyth
2021 - Natalya Platonova, playing as Felix.

The Celebrity Circle

Lady Leshurr, playing as Big Narstie.


Players in 2019 included Richard Madeley, invited for the opening episodes as a ratings stunt. James Crossley, who played "Hunter" in Gladiators, was a contestant in the 2021 civilian series.

In The Celebrity Circle:

Web links

Channel 4 programme page

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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