Eden was a unique Channel 4 series/experiment following a group of 24 people who are shipped away to the Scottish Highlands for one year with the aim to attempt to build a new society away from the technology of today and the hectic pace of modern life. The first season started off as just “Eden” but due to very poor reception and unbeknownst to the participants, it was pulled from Television after a mere 4 episodes, and later it was broadcast again under the title ‘Eden: Paradise Lost’ focusing on what went wrong during the experiment.
Much of the criticism of the show was from animal welfare groups after vet Rob cut open a pregnant sheep and pulled out its unborn lamb. The ewe and lamb were taken back to camp where they were cooked and eaten. Participants then put the sheep’s skull on a pole and used the lamb’s fur as a cover for a hot-water bottle.(1)
The show was broadcast on Channel 4 at 10pm. Channel 4 is the perfect channel for this very experimental programme as they are all about trying new and Unique ideas which is exactly what Eden is. On their commissioning website, they state “Channel 4 has a world-class reputation for innovation and is ready to invest in the next generation of creative content. Our ambition is to be the most Creatively Diverse broadcaster in Europe. “(2). The timeslot of 10pm is also perfect for this type of show, as it is during the UK watershed time of 9pm to 5:30am(3) meaning that they can broadcast unfiltered lives of the participants without having to censor out swearing and violence.
The initial key draw to the viewers is the fact that these people will be living in conditions that are so abstract to today’s modern society for an entire year, bringing them out of their comfort zones and testing them to their limits, giving the viewer a chance to, in a way, experience it from the comfort of their home. Also, the fact that the show seems so unfiltered and natural with seemingly little to no interaction with the outside world.
A similar show to Eden is ‘Big Brother’, another experimental reality show on Channel 4, where 15-20 contestants live in a house for about 90 days constantly being filmed by cameras as they go through challenges set by the producers and each week someone is evicted from the house by vote until one person is left who wins £100,000.
- (1)Hodge, M. and Sandeman, G. (2017). Channel 4 survival show Eden sees episodes slashed as it haemorrhages viewers AND contestants. [online] Thesun.co.uk. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/2657923/channel-4-survival-show-eden-sees-episodes-slashed-as-it-haemorrhages-viewers-and-contestants/#comments [Accessed 12 Oct. 2017].
[online] Thesun.co.uk. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/2657923/channel-4-survival-show-eden-sees-episodes-slashed-as-it-haemorrhages-viewers-and-contestants/#comments.
[Accessed 12 Oct. 2017].
- (2)Channel4.com. (2017). Creative Diversity – Channel 4 – Info – Commissioning.
[online] Available at:
http://www.channel4.com/info/commissioning/4producers/creative-diversity [Accessed 12 Oct. 2017].
- (3)Ofcom. (2016). What is the watershed?.