Grantchester's Tom Brittney stars in a one-off drama about the perils of fast fame...
The downsides of finding fame on reality TV will be explored in new BBC3 drama Make Me Famous, which launches later this month. Here's what we know.
Make Me Famous launch date: when is it available on BBC3?
The hour-long single drama will launch on BBC3 and BBC iPlayer on Wednesday 17 June. It will also be shown on BBC1 on Thursday June 25 at 9pm.
Make Me Famous plot: what's it about?
The story follows Billy Fearon, a former recruitment consultant who finds fame on reality show Love Or Lust. The drama flips between Billy's initial auditions for the show with the casting producers, and Billy's life 18 months later, as he tries to maintain his celebrity profile.
Some of his co-stars - including Michelle, who he romanced on the show - have managed to carve out successful careers, while Billy's days consist of endorsing protein powder on social media and making appearances at nightclubs.
Billy's life is made harder by the fact that a new series of Love Or Lust is currently on the air, so he's fighting for press attention with fresher, younger faces. His reputation from the show is still getting him a lot of pushback on social media too, which takes a serious toll on his mental health.
Who's in it?
Grantchester star Tom Brittney plays Billy in the drama, with former Hollyoaks star Emma Rigby as his fellow contestant and sympathetic friend Michelle.
"We meet Billy in the casting chair with the producers, and Billy thinks he has to put on a character for them," says Tom. "These reality TV shows are on so often now, and people think they know who they have to be to be successful on them. Billy is no different. He's understood that there's a character that works well, even if that's not really him, so he puts on bravado and becomes an alpha male."
"Out of the whole piece, I think Michelle is the character with the most sincerity," says Emma. "She has found been able to monetise her experience on a reality show. I think this happened because of her relatability to viewers - on the show it seems she was hurt by Billy, so viewers have seen her vulnerability and can connect with it.
"After she comes out, she's managed by the right people and makes all the right moves, but she's still fundamentally the person she was when she went into the show."
Sherlock's Amanda Abbington also stars in the drama as Amanda, Billy's mum. A midwife who still lives modestly, she tries to guide him into making sensible decisions with his post-show fame, but worries about the effect that it is having on him.
"She's wary of what he's getting into, and is scared of what it's doing to him," says Amanda. "When she sees him starting to change, getting more insecure and lacking in self-esteem, it hurts her. They are very close, and when they are together you get an idea of Billy's life before fame."
Other stars in the drama include Killing Eve's Nina Sosanya, Line Of Duty's Aiysha Hart, Enterprice's Trieve Blackwood-Cambridge and former EastEnder Tilly Keeper, in her first TV role since quitting as Walford's Louise Mitchell.
What else do we know about Make Me Famous?
- The drama was written by actor and broadcaster Reggie Yates, and inspired in part by his own changing relationship with celebrity and his fans during his nearly 30 years on screen. "I understand my relationship with the audience so much more now because of social media," says Reggie.
- To research the film, Reggie conducted interviews with people involved in reality TV, on both sides of the camera. "Everyone was so incredibly open about their experiences," he says. "Thanks to their honesty, I was able to build characters that reflected elements of their experience."
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Steven Perkins is a Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and whattowatch.com (opens in new tab), who has been writing about TV professionally since 2008. He was previously the TV Editor for Inside Soap before taking up his current role in 2020. He loves everything from gritty dramas to docusoaps about airports and thinks about the Eurovision Song Contest all year round.
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