Space Cadets

Space Cadets

I’ve just watched the first episode of Space Cadets, a new series on Channel 4 aiming to be the biggest prank in TV history.

Since June, the channel has been recruiting a group of members of the general public, for an unknown TV show, and tonights episode showed the selection process, where anybody with any space knowledge, interest in space travel, ability to rumble the prank was removed, then the remaining people tested to see how gulible and suggestive they were.

One particularly notable test involved a container full of plastic eyeballs. The participants were initially asked to estimate the number in the container verbally, and then were asked to write their estimate on a flipchart. The flipchart included other apparent estimates from the other participants – however the estimates were wildly different from reality – and obviously so. To ‘pass’ the test, the participants had to go with the apparent opinion of the group, rather than what their own eyes were telling them.

Just to ensure that the group mentality works, there are three actors who are included in the group who are in on the show, and are there to be convinced by the whole thing.

At the end of this first show, the lucky participants were told that they had been selected to go into space, and to board a plane that would take them to a Russian space training facility. In actual fact the plane flew round and round in circles over the North Sea, and has taken them to a disused military base near Ipswich, that has been made up to look Russian.

It was certainly an engaging first show, and it has certainly left me interested to see whether the participants will catch on. Although they apparently have imported a powerful simulator – the one thing they won’t be able to simulate is the loss of gravity – so although they will use a bit of technobable to try and convinve them, quite whether the prank will be discovered before the end remains to be seen.

Of course, the other thought that occurs to me is that it could be that the biggest prank in TV history is actually on the audience – a great big double bluff. Certainly it will be interesting to watch and find out!

2 thoughts on “Space Cadets”

  1. Double bluff. Spot on. The big joke is on the audience I guarantee. One of the “victims” even appears as an actor in an ad during the show.

  2. Now it’s done I thought it was quite funny, but not exactly joke of the year. For what was essentially the product of a month’s reality Tv, they struggled to make 10 decent hours of entertainment, I mean it had it’s moments but the interesting and funny bits were spread quite thinly.

    On hearing that the show cost £3m to make plus £200,000+ paid out as humiliation compensation to the contestants, it made me feel quite sick considering how that money could have been so better spent going to a charitable cause, I don’t mean Minksy’s family

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