MTV: The Valleys – As Bad As Everyone Thinks?
Unless you’ve been living in a cave or have been stuck down a well for the past few months, then the chances are pretty high that you’ve heard about the new TV series about to hit our screens - MTV: The Valleys. The reality show, which is similar to Made In Chelsea or The Only Way Is Essex, takes 9 young people out of the valleys (not including the two ‘bosses’) and will throw them together in a house in Cardiff, following all aspects of their time together. These aspects will include: finding jobs, partying, relationships forming (and maybe even failing) and generally following the lives of the ‘contestants’ for the duration of the show.
So far, the show has garnered a lot of negative attention. One person who gave the show the thumbs-down was none other than award-winning writer, Cwmparc-based, Rachel Trezise, who won the Dylan Thomas prize in 2006 for her short story collection, Fresh Apples. In an essay, which she wrote on the Valleys Are Here blog – a site which opposes the TV series going ahead – Trezise wrote that plans for the show are “disturbing” and “If you don’t know the Valleys you’d be forgiven for accepting MTV’s ideology. But there is nothing remotely ‘rural’, ‘tranquil’ or hamlet-esque about the Valleys.
“In fact MTV’s choice to use those words will strike anyone who has spent any time in the Rhondda as utterly inept.”
The Valleys Are Here blog is the brainchild of brothers Alex and James Bevan, who’re from the Rhondda, and it was predominantly created to promote the area and provide a realistic picture of life in the region. Alex said the campaign was showing “stories on the people, places and things that do the place proud.”
Alex told the Echo: “For some reason MTV don’t want to broadcast that stuff so our message is clear – if MTV won’t feature it, we will.”
The show has ruffled a few feathers but will it portray as bad an image of the valleys as some people think? One thing that the show will definitely do is bring Wales, and the valleys, into the limelight, but a lot of contestants in similar reality shows have given people a false image of other youngsters from the area where the contestants are from. The Only Way Is Essex – take note. Of course not everyone in Essex wears so much fake tan they look as if they’ve just washed in gravy, of course not every bloke in Essex takes hours to get ready and has their chest waxed, of course not every bloke in Essex cheats on their girlfriend, of course not every woman in Essex tries their best to resemble a human Barbie doll, and so on etc. The same goes for young people in Wales (and all over the world, actually) - not every girl in the valleys has got DD breast implants, like contestant Jenna Jonathon.
With reality shows comes fame. Again, The Only Way Is Essex is a prime example. Mark Wright, a contestant in The Only Way Is Essex, has been featured on magazines, has done TV interviews and even had his own spin-off show when TOWIE finished. Mark Wright’s Hollywood Nights. The six part show follows Wright and his entourage of Essex friends and family setting off to the hazy thrills of LA. The show details romance (of course) and lad banter and the cast partying in the hotspots of LA. Other cast members from TOWIE who have found fame outside of The Only Way is Essex include Amy Childs who went into Celebrity Big Brother and then was given her own show, All About Amy, on Channel 5, which was cancelled after only its first season. Rumour has it that Amy is now filming a show with her cousin and fellow TOWIE star Harry Derbidge.
So, it’s not really that hard to imagine why The Valleys contestants have decided to go in for the show. Fame brings wealth and wealth brings the chance for you to get out of that rut and make a better life for yourself. But are the contestants in it for the wealth and fame?
Here are the contestants, click on their names to see photos of them.
Make your own opinion:
A 19 year old hairdresser from Swansea, Nicole matches her bubbly personality with her loud, colourful outfits and big, red hair.
An aspiring fashion stylist, Nicole is hoping to achieve her ambitions on MTV: The Valleys and to ‘become a star’.
A self-confessed attention seeker, Nicole’s motto is: “Don’t hate me, cause you ain’t me,” and we hear she has a little crush on someone called Mark Wright?
“I’d like a bit of Mark Wright. He’s nice, I’d like to date him!”
A 26 year old rugby player from Ystrad Mynach, also known as ‘Lip’ by his team mates, is hoping to break into the music industry through MTV: The Valleys.
A far cry away from your typical 'only gay in the village' stereotype, Liam is no Little Britain’s Daffyd.
Not in it for the fame, Liam is hoping to get out of the 'rut; he is stuck in and climb the ladder of DJ, tableturning fame:
“For me it was an opportunity to get out of the rut that I’m in, and also to inspire gay people to ‘come out of the closet.'"
A 21 year old Law student from Tonyrefail, Jenna is the brunette version of Legally Blonde’s blonde bombshell, Elle, complete with handbag pooch accessory and partner in crime, Princess, her Chihuahua.
Not too dissimilar from a dark haired Sophie Reade, Jenna is hoping to flaunt her 18th birthday presents in The Valleys and break into the glamour industry, using her Double D bust instead of her A* brains.
“You’re only young once and your looks are going to fade…law is a bit too boring; I’ve always wanted to model while I still can!”
A 21 year old labourer from Bridgend, Leeroy is set to be the first big urban music sensation to come from The Valleys, and could be set to give Liam a run for his DJ spinning money!
A self-confessed ladies man, Leeroy is focusing his attention on his music, saying that rapping is his “priority” rather than the ladies, though with temptation in the house we’re sure it won’t be long until his mind (and eyes) wander from his ambition.
It doesn’t seem like he is the fussy type either… “Skinnies or fatties, I don’t care… sex is sex , innit.”
A 21 year old call centre manager from Caerphilly, Carley dreams of swapping her boring job at the centre for the action in promotion.
Wanting to make it in the cut-throat world of PR, Carley also hopes MTV: The Valleys will propel her to the heights of TV presenting fame; the same as her idol, Holly Willoughby.
The girl-next door type, Carley says Cardiff has changed her boyfriend aspirations from “someone walking out the job centre with a can of beer and wearing a trackie, to a nice hot man in a suit – the difference in talent is huge.”
A 25 year old brick layer from Bridgend, Darren, called by his surname, Chidgey, is a self-confessed ladies man.
Looking set to give Geordie Shore’s Gaz, AKA ‘The Parsnip’, a run for his money when it comes to pulling the birds, Chidgey is MTV: The Valley’s aspiring male model who rates himself a modest 10/10.
Hoping to make it big in the modelling world and bag himself a Calvin Klein campaign, Chidgey only has one thing on his mind….success:
“I don’t want to be a nobody, I want to be a somebody.”
A 23 year old call centre supervisor from Pontypool, Natalee and Carley might find they have a few things in common!
This glamorous girl is, surprisingly, a self-confessed ‘ladette’ who describes herself as ‘honest’, ‘open’, and ‘not like anyone else’.
Also aspiring to be a model, Natalee might face some ‘bitchy’ competition in the glamour stakes… hopefully Natalee’s secret weapons ‘Phil and Grant’ (her boobs) will take her to victory!
“Good press or bad press, it’s all some kind of press. There’s going to be bitchiness and more hating but on a larger scale – it doesn’t really bother me.”
A 19 year old student from Tredegar, Aron is a three-time world champion kickboxer aspiring to carve himself a career in sport.
Fanatical about UFC, Aron hopes to swap the hills of the valleys for the bright lights of the Hollywood Hills in America: staging his own kickboxing events or starring in an action movie, like his idol Jean Claude Van Damme.
We think that there may be a bit of stiff competition between Aron and Chidgey when it comes to the ladies in the house: “The other week I went out three nights in a row and slept with a different girl each night.”
A 19 year old accounts administrator from Port Talbot, Lateysha is MTV: The Valley’s wannabe WAG and budding diva.
Dreaming of a life of fame and fortune, Lateysha is also an aspiring glamour model, with Miss Katie Price, and her alter-ego Jordan, as her business woman role model.
Working her way through many different job roles since getting kicked out of college, she is currently kept as a WAG by her long time boyfriend Ryan, of five years; will she be tempted by the buff boys (and girls) in the house?
”I kiss boys and girls too, [my Mum's] not going to be happy!”
31 year old glamour model and photographer from Cardiff, Anna – or AK, is here to show The Valleys girls how it's done!
Giving Tulisa a run for her money in the ‘Female Boss’ stakes, AK wants to break the stereotype and prove that all glamour models are not bimbos, and can have both brains and beauty. The girls won’t know what’s hit them, as they are about to find out just what hard work and determination it takes to break it in the world of glamour modelling.
“I don’t like people who think the world owes them success. They need to work for it,” AK insists. “People are going to think that I’m strict, I don’t take any attitude, I don’t deal with divas – I’ve got a very fun and flirty nature, but I like people to work hard.”
A positive-thinking business woman, with her head firmly glued to her shoulder’s, AK will make sure the girls know that they are here to work hard, not party hard.
Previously in the Navy and having worked as a female bouncer, the successful single mum of one knows how to deal with men and handle pervy photographers.
Taking no prisoners, she will be showing the girls that you don’t have to be a WAG to be successful.
“I want to help these people and give them a chance but it’s going to be a hard slog, they will have to prove themselves.”
A 28 year old promotions manager from Cardiff, Jordan’s business head is in the game as he knows that business comes before pleasure.
Here to teach The Valleys cast members that working in PR and party planning is not all fun and games, Jordan won’t stand for anyone who is messing about and forgetting about the job at hand:
“It’s my way, or it’s the high way straight back to the valleys. Disrespect and slacking – I don’t tolerate either.”
One thing that Jordan might have a hard time teaching the boys of the house is his business ethic that – ‘business comes before women’, he even ended a nine year relationship to prove that there is method behind the madness.
“I started off with very little in life and I’ve worked my way from the very bottom to get where I am today, and that’s exactly where the housemates are. I’m blessed that I’ve achieved everything I’ve wanted to in life, now the buzz is to get someone else to achieve something.”
Jordan knows what he is talking about when it comes to the PR events game: “I live and breathe promoting, it’s what I do five nights a week, 52 weeks a year – I fill night clubs for a living.” And no doubt he will be fuelling the house mates ambitions with tales of celebrity scandal at star studded events.
“I’m the ultimate fly-on-the wall specimen…I’ll entertain by being real, being exciting, confident and the ultimate party person in the capital of Wales.”
Looks like the cast members will have to work extra hard to steal the limelight from this boss!
A spokesman for MTV said the show would hopefully be “irreverent and funny as well as warm, authentic, familiar and genuine”.
But, what do you think? Is The Valleys a good idea, or would you rather watch the BBC News at 10?
The show is due to hit our screens at 10pm on the 25th of September, so let us know your thoughts.