We’re Not Loving.. Undercover Lover
Secrets are notoriously hard to keep, which kind of makes you wonder why it is that Channel 4 feels the interminable need to bother. First we had The Secret Millionaire, then Undercover Boss and now it’s the turn of eligible singletons in Undercover Lover; a reimaging of FIVE’s cheesily enjoyable reality show The Bachelor by way of Made in Chelsea and Spooks.
“Meet Chris Bull” says narrator Lisa Faulkner at the show’s start “You might think that finding the right woman would be easy for Chris, as he’s fabulously wealthy” she continues, alluding to the contrary and presenting to us, the show’s first real problem; we norms feel no sympathy whatsoever for Chris.
Unlike in The Secret Millionaire where someone who has made well in their life now wants to use their money to ease the suffering of others, Chris just wants to hide it so that he can get laid. “It’s going to need a lot of imagination and a lot of candles” he remarks cringe-worthily whilst surveying his temporary accommodation.
I’m not for one minute saying that The Secret Millionaire or Undercover Boss were in any way perfect; the latter teetering on the edge of patronising at times, but at least it showed that in an age of corrupt bankers and aloof politicians, some big-wigs do care. Undercover Lover offers us no such hope.
Another of the show’s flaws is its’ done-to-death format. Are we really to believe that the first thing people think of when they see a nobody traipsing about with a camera making a documentary on stock-topic-of-the-week is not “They’re undercover!” We’ve had six series of The Secret Millionaire, three of Undercover Bosses and one of BBC3’s particularly ill-judged effort Undercover Princesses from 2010, in which to sniff out the rich from the poor. The ending ‘reveal’ is less explosive than a sparkler in a downpour.
In the end and after streams of banal conversation “Are you a chocolate or a sweet person?” Chris chooses blonde Amanda; “accidentally” revealing himself to be a millionaire in front of the Eifel Tower over another typically bland exchange before treating us to his emotional closing piece to camera in which he expresses delight in Amanda being “genuinely not bothered” by his wealth; guess what Chris? She’s not the only one…