Catch Up TV review: Celebrity Hunted S2, The Circle S2 Finale
Ivan Radford | On 20, Oct 2019
The Circle Season 2 Finale (All 4)
“That’s very nice!” Those were the words of Tim upon coming runner-up in The Circle Season 2. It was a heartwarming moment of reassurance in a surprisingly uplifting climax to the reality TV’s sophomore run.
The series, which first launched last, immediately set apart to distinguish itself from Big Brother: t sees a group of strangers all stay in the same apartment block but without seeing each other – apart from through a social media platform called The Circle. That element of bluffing and presenting a desired version of oneself has once again proven just enough of a topical edge to make the show genuinely interesting; out of the 15 players from Season 2, six of them were “catfish”, pretending to be someone else.
Even the reasons for that were insightful, from James Doran, 26, claiming to be a single mum with a baby to avoid being voted down, to Busayo Twins, 24, pretending to be a while guy called Josh to demonstrate the racial privilege that works against her and other black women, consciously or unconsciously. Her point was proven by the social media backlash against her, but equally revealing were the eventual winners of the whole thing.
While there was fun in seeing various game plans and deceitful strategies fall apart, the one to walk away with £70,000 prize money was Paddy Smyth. He initially didn’t share with the others that he had cerebral palsy condition, but ultimately announced it to the group, and the response was a welcoming acceptance and support – and from viewers at home too.
Audiences, though, also got a time and their chosen winner (getting £30,000) was Tim. The former monk has been an instant national treasure, not just because of his brightly coloured waistcoats, or even his Persian cat, Bey, but also because he was himself throughout the season. In a TV genre so often defined by tricks, cruelty and exploitation, what a refreshing treat to have a series that sees the people on screen and off screen reward and celebrate honesty.
Celebrity Hunted: Season 2 (All 4)
From The Crystal Maze to Bake Off, Channel 4’s Stand Up to Cancer celebrity specials are always a welcome treat, and Celebrity Hunted is one of the best of the bunch. The show already boasts a fun format that sees people go on the run and avoid trackers, but famous people trying to hide in public is an even tougher challenge, and the higher stakes it involved makes for tense viewing.
The hunters’ police-like measures, from phone tracking to social media monitoring, is as formidable as ever, but it’s the choice of guests that really works. Top of the pile is Boris Johnson’s dad, Stanley, and Georgia Toffolo, the 24-year-old who joined him in I’m A Celebrity…, and their bickering over how to proceed – take the M1? Use the credit card that he claims they won’t be able to track? – is wonderfully entertaining to watch.
A pair of chefs and a rugby duo add a sprinkling of tension, but the show’s strength lies in knowing when to zero in on each pair of fugitives. Episode 1 focuses on Stanley and Georgia, as the hunters start to close in on them – as ever, the super-slick editing does an impressive job of sifting through the footage to craft a gripping cat-and-mouse narrative.