Flatmates (2)



Emma Kennedy


Bazal for Channel 4, 5 July to 23 August 2000 (8 episodes in 1 series)


Once upon a time, an eighties band called Living in a Box did an eponymous song called (funnily enough) Living in a Box. Interestingly, it would probably be harder to find and indeed live in a cardboard box than it would be to find and be accepted to live in a room in a flat. Or at least it would if, for example, Channel 4 weren't basing a game show around that very same idea.

But would you believe it? They have, and it's quite an amusing one too. So how do you conjure up this recipe for potential disaster?


1 Mad imp-style hostess
1 Flat
4-5 People already living in that flat
1 Spare Room
6 People wanting said spare room
1 Month rent free.


Spread liberally on Channel 4 on Wednesday evenings. Cook for half an hour. Serve with advertising garnish.

It's clear no-one at Channel 4 watches cable television for, while there's already a game show called Flatmates on UK Play, they decided to call this Flatmates too. And this show isn't a million miles away from the central idea.

The premise therefore is very simple - humiliate six complete strangers and pick the one the housemates like best to have the spare room - and they get their first month's rent paid for them! There should be serial contestants who move around the country always winning so they won't ever have to pay anything ever, but people are in fact not that cunning.

So, in Round One the six get reduced to three by seeing how they fare in a Q&A session with there being no bounds as to what stupid questions the housemates (invariably the studenty types - hurrah!) can use to perturb the contestants. After this round, the housemates have to decide whether each contestant should advance or not by process of pigeonholing the potential flatmates into 'yes', 'no' and 'maybe' piles. Three, AND ONLY! three can go though to Round Two.

Emma Kennedy goes thruuuuuu the keyhole - sorry, wrong show

The other candidates are told to bugger off, in the nicest possible way, by one of the existing housemates (drawn randomly by lot so only certain members get to feel awful). The losers all go off saying that they probably couldn't live there anyway, in the hilarious bad-loser stylee.

The three remaining are then given a challenge to do. They're given some cash and are asked to bring back three things to the flat as defined by the housemates such as 'something entertaining' and 'something useful' and suchlike. They come back, they show their wares and the existing housemates try and look as convinced as possible, before laughing and bitching about their choices behind their backs but excellently, to the cameras. Another candidate is given a restraining order.

So that leaves only two people who get to take part in yet another challenge involving...cooking. Using the ingredients given the two remaining candidates have to prepare some food with the obvious taste tests and housemate analysis.

The final test involves the candidates giving their final words in order to convince the jury that they should be the one. Except, in time honoured surprise tradition, Ms Kennedy has got hold of a reference written by their (at the time of filming) best friend usually something along the lines of 'actually, he's a tight bastard' or 'she's a messy git,' just to undermine the candidates efforts.

And finally... the flatmates decide on who they want their new friend to be. Which means one of them has to go home. Harsh.

This is one of those shows that are eminently watchable but if you were asked to put your finger on why, you'd find it quite difficult. Certainly, it's good fun and the dry-yet-mad-impish way Emma Kennedy hosts the show make it very entertaining. She certainly points out many, erm, sad things around the house in a laconic but good humoured fashion and the show is entertaining enough to warrant at least a second series (let's be honest, it's hardly costing Channel 4 anything to make is it?)

To top it off, cameras stay with the new flatmate for the next month or so to see if they a) stay, b) leave or c) get kicked out. Good stuff.


If Emma Kennedy looks familiar, she played the part of Nostradamus in the BBC2 comedy show This Morning with Richard not Judy.


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