Five Best TV Reality Shows That Broke The Mould

Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig, Prue Leith & Paul Hollywood: The Great British Bake Off

From classic concepts and annual extravaganzas to a list as long as Mr Tickle’s arm of kooky, crazy premises, reality TV is a mainstay of our schedules. But amongst the cavalcade of dating shows and talent contests, fly-on-the-walls and survival challenges, there are a handful that didn’t just buck a trend, but made a mark that would serve to influence everything to arrive after.


To choose just five isn’t easy – but nobody said it would be! The quintet are all available to watch right now, so grab your remote and see for yourself why telly just wouldn’t be the same without this lot...



Last year’s season available on Virgin Media Player


The notion of romance blossoming on screen isn’t a new one – but the explosion of this fun-in-the-sun summer spectacle had less to do with lasting love and more to do with raging lust! With hormones racing and emotions rising, it’s like watching a scene from any Irish nightclub...except in a Spanish villa with far better lighting. Unashamed and unabashed, it’s transcended telly to become a cultural touchstone – and if that’s not a sign of changing the game, we don’t know what is…




Seasons 1-6 now available on Virgin Box Sets


An off-shoot of Laguna Beach, this utterly addictive series brought about a whole new genre of reality TV – by blurring the lines between fact and fiction. All manner of rumours and innuendo surrounded the stories of LC, Whitney, Speidi and the rest of the crew, but if a little behind-the-scenes maneuvering was required to create this type of compelling drama, then we’re not complaining! It also taught us a lesson we’ll never forget: always go to Paris…




Now available on Netflix, Virgin TV 999; All Stars Seasons 1-4 available on Virgin Box Sets


The show that launched a thousand catchphrases, this is another that went beyond the boundaries of the screen. It’s fair to say that an entire culture – and the world’s understanding of it – has been completely altered since the queens claimed the stage; twelve seasons, and multiple spin-offs later, there’s no sign of it sashaying away anytime soon either! Joyously over-the-top, it’s the type of flamboyant and fabulous entertainment that we’d rarely seen on screen before!




Watch now on All4


From the outset, reality TV proven an ability to be tense and dramatic, competitive and cruel, shocking and sensational and loads more besides; thing is, we’re not sure it had ever before been, well, nice. You know, a cosy show to watch when you could do with some comfort? Well, a few apple turnovers later, that had all changed – and a modern fascination with sourdough starters prompted in the process. And while the presenters, channel and challenges have changed, the magic is just as tasty as it was all those years ago…




Now showing on E!, Virgin TV 147


Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, there’s no denying that the Kardashian krew has taken over the world since 2007; to put it in perspective, we met Kylie when she was a 10 year old, and now she’s a billionaire. So yeah, it’s been a journey! Still trucking away some 18 seasons later, they’ve had just about every twist and turn imaginable pop up along the way – yet there’s always a new development just waiting around the corner. Even if you’ve held out this long, it’s time to admit defeat; best to sit back and enjoy the madness…



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