Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Millionaires to give away cash in reality show..

A new show in which secret millionaires give their cash away will become the latest reality television series to hit British screens when it is aired next month.

Secret Millionaire, which was commissioned by Channel 4 and which will be launched at the end of November, has been made by RDF, producers of existing popular reality show Wife Swap.

But instead of asking families to swap wives for their latest venture, the television company sent five wealthy individuals to go undercover and live on the breadline within deprived areas of the country, before they were asked to decide which individuals within their new community deserved to receive some of their cash.

Millionaires taking part in the show subsequently surrendered up to £50,000 of their own money to deserving causes after living incognito for ten days.

In order to combat suspicion about their identities within the communities they went to live in, local people were told that contestants were taking part in a television show about the rural poor going to live as urban poor.

Series producer Jenny Crowther told the Guardian at the weekend that the show's makers realised that they might be criticised by charities for encouraging "poverty tourism", but stressed that the programme had been made as sensitively as possible.

"If you were doing it as a game show where the businessman turned up in a Rolls-Royce wearing a pinstripe suit and went to the pub to give out £50 notes from his briefcase, it would be very different," she said.

"But the participants really care. It's not very often that you see films about life on the estate or in the homeless hostel or the asylum seeker's shelter. I think it absolutely justifies the format."