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Reality TV sends "Space Cadets" into space

Brekkie Boy

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This December Space Cadets will go where reality TV hasn't gone before - outer space.

Space Cadets will see four members of the public blast off for a once in a lifetime experience - a trip 100km above earth.

100 candidates applied to the Space Tourism Agency for the mission, with cameras following their tough regime as they are whittled down to the final four. The finalists are currently in training at a secret location in Russia before their maiden five-day voyage next month, which will be broadcast live every night.

However, all is not what is seems. This British reality show is planning to pull off one of the biggest hoaxes ever seen on TV - the "Space Cadets" may think they are leaving the Earth, but actually they haven't left the UK.

The Russian training centre is actually a disused airbase at a secret location in Britain, and the flight into space will actually use hi-tech IMAX screen technology to give the Space Cadets the impression they are travelling through space.

Space Cadets begins here in the UK on Wed 7 Dec, broadcasting nightly for ten nights on C4. The first few shows cover the selection and training process, before moving on to the live mission itself.

The show is a number of formats produced for C4 by Endemol UK, the producers behind Big Brother, celebrity sporting show The Games and sleep deprivation show Shattered, in which the contestant who stayed awake longest won

Edited by Brekkie Boy
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  • 2 weeks later...

This show is set to debut in a couple of week on Dec 7th - and so far filming is said to be going well, with the contestants suspecting nothing.

There are still contingency plans though for if the hoax is discovered ahead of the live "space mission" which begins Dec 11th, but if they do find out it's a hoax a documentary will air explaining how the hoax was exposed.

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Just a note to remind those interested that "Space Cadets" kicks off tomorrow night here in the UK on C4, as television's biggest hoax attempts to fool four contestants that after completing an intensive training programme in Russia, they've travelled on a five-day mission into space - when in fact they never actually leave the UK.

Official website (launches Wednesday): http://www.channel4.com/spacecadets

Unofficial website, with latest news and rumours: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/spacecadets

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It's not on the website yet, but it's been revealed the nine contestants are all between 19 and 28 and selected due to their gullible natures (i.e. their thick!).

It's also been reported one of the three undercover actors was pulled out of it as he couldn't get his cover story straight.

I guess we'll find out more tonight (9-10pm GMT).

As for the US airings - the best bet is BBC America sometime next year, if at all, but unfortunately original UK shows rarely make it to US screens, especially network TV.

However, alot of UK formats are remade for US television - but I think the nature of Space Cadets means it's highly unlikely.

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The first show has just aired - and here is the lowdown.

If you want me to continue these reports throughout the series, please reply so I can see if anyone is really interested.

Put simply it was absolutely brilliant - the most entertaining hour of TV I've seen in a long time.

Johnny Vaughan is the perfect host. He was brilliant during his three year stint on The Big Breakfast with a good hand in sarcastic wit - but since he quit C4 for the BBC he's hosted flop after flop. His return to C4 a last see's him working with a fantastic format.

The first show was all about the planning and selection process. In June vague adverts were placed for a show called "Thrill Seekers" - though no details on what the show entailed were revealed. Hundreds applied, with 100 selected for auditions in London. Anyone in the forces, police or with interest in space or physics was rejected.

The main thing the producers was susceptability - and they devised a series of tests to test this.

Participants were shown a series of random dots and told they formed an image - they did not. They were asked to describe the image, with anyone believing they could see something put through.

Next a number of eyeballs were put in a jar, with participants asked to state how many they think are in the jar. They are then asked to write this down on a board with lots of other deliberately high guesses. Those that raise their guesses are through.

The next tests would test for claustrophobia, and involved being strapped blindfolded in a sleeping bag to test "restricted claustrophobia". After this was completed they piled into the lifts ready to move on to the next phase of assessment - unaware that when the lift broke down their everymove was being watched.

A couple of the undercover actors spotted the hidden cameras and raised the tension by becoming the people you wouldn't want to be stuck in a lift with. Those that became aggitated were rejected.

The final test in London was about how self concious they all were - basically they all had to dance blindfolded to the sound of silence. One by one they removed their blindfolded until just one person was dancing in the middle of the room. Anyone who's shy and retiring is out!

Meanwhile, the ex-American air base in Suffolk is being transferred into mission control for STAR - Space Tourism Agency of Russia. All signs of English is removed, with the based refitted with Russian fittings, and the producers off on a shopping trip to Russia for Russian food and supplies.

The next phase of training was physical - with hiking and orienteering testing the contestants fitness - plus abseiling and a 30ft bridge jump testing their nerve. Actually here it was the actors that found the going tough.

A night of camping led to an interesting discussion as some of the lads looked up at the stars, and began talking about their desire for space travel, still unaware what "Thrill Seekers" would challenge them to do.

The finalists were then selected and put in isolation, and then asked to nominate a member of their family or friend they trusted implicitly to make decisions on their behalf.

The production team then went to meet these people and explained the entire concept of Space Cadets to them, telling them their loved ones would be the victims of the cruelest hoax in TV history.

They all agreed to it!

The 12 contestants, including the three undercover cadets, were then gathered at a Kent airstrip to be told for the first time what they were competing for - to be the first televised British Space Tourists. They were given the option to back out, but all boarded the plane to leave for, well Suffolk!

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Once again, please reply if your reading this just so I know I'm not talking to myself!

I'm quickly beginning to love this show - it's great to feel so intelligent as our would be space cadets fly around in circles and land just a few miles from where they took off.

The show picks up with the 12 Space Cadets, three of which are undercover actors, in the plane that's flying them to "Russia". One of them spookily suggests they're not about to land in Russia, but in fact are somewhere near Brighton!

Obviously excited at the prospect of travelling into Space, they failed to notice that after taking off from Kent, the plane flew towards the North Sea and slowly turned back on itself, doing four loops through the air before four hours later they landed on the runway in... Kent!

A different airport of course, but just a few miles apart! Here they are transferred into a helicopter which will take them on the final leg of the journey to their Russian Military base at Krymsk on the edge of the Black Sea - or as we like to call it, somewhere near Ipswich!

Here they are met by a strict Russian military official, who by day is a city banker, but on this night is barking orders at them in Russian. The mis-pronounced names of the cadets are read out and they are ordered to leave the helicopoter one by one and board a waiting bus. All except one cadet that is - poor Ryan. His name isn't on the list!

He takes his passport off him and leaves him on the helicopter as he steps outside to radio his superiors, with the others looking on wondering what is happening to Ryan. After a few minutes of Russian chit chat, Ryan joins the others.

The bus then head off for the STAR headquarters - passing a few Russian military tanks and missiles on the way. At the STAR HQ they meet mission Commander James Campbell, actually Richard Campbell posing as a former RAF squadron leader - who as STARs senior British personel, will be looking after the cadets hoping to go on their first mass tourism mission.

They are welcomed with a shot of Russian vodka and warned that the Russian military that surrounds them don't like surprises - so they are strictly forbidden from leaving the compound!

It's decked out in traditional reality TV style, with one big dorm and a confidential "diary room". Steve, one of the undercover actors, is amazed how realistic it is. They are supplied with some Russian snacks and drinks, and instructions which tells them it's safe to drink the Russian tap water!

The next morning and there is an early injury - as Charlie, one of the undercover actors, accidently pulls of the toe nail of Steve, another undercover actor. It's a pure accident, but considering Steve was quite ill during the assessment programme, it doesn't look good!

Training begins immediately with James Campbell having to train the cadets to believe everything that happens on their five-day mission is real.

He gets them chanting the STAR motto in Russian, telling them it translates as "We are the Adventurers". Actually, it's literal translation is "It's not Rocket Science".

He gives them some background on STAR and how it's ahead of the new space race, stating their two years ahead of Richard Bransons plans for space tourism.

Then, he informs them of the one thing that could see the hoax exposed on day 1 - they won't experience weightlessness!

Rewriting the rules of gravity, he tells them they'll travel into "near space" within the earth's atmosphere and that they may find it surprising that as they will remain within earth's gravitational field, they won't experience weightlessness. Well, would you know any different?

The cadets don't, and though surprised, they remain silent and continue with their training. Any doubts are quickly erased when they are promised "one hell of a view!"

It's all going well until one of the undercover actors nearly blows it with an awkward question. The space cadets are being taught acronyms for the names of the planets - but Charlie buts in "What about planet X?" Campbell is stumbled but quick to point out that it doesn't matter, and in fact Pluto may soon be declassified as a planet.

Perhaps Charlie's awkward question will actually mean less suspicion around him. Later Charlie confessed he asked the question as at the time he actually believed they were training to go into space. That's how good these guys are - they are fooling the undercover actors!

And that's show two. Tomorrow more from the Russian base as training intensifies - and one of the cadets is sent packing - to a Travel-lodge down the road!

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With my lack of direction I wouldn't have known that I was going around in circles. lol I wondered how they were going to do the anti-gravity thing.

Thanks Brekkie...UK reality rocks!!!

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And that's show two. Tomorrow more from the Russian base as training intensifies - and one of the cadets is sent packing - to a Travel-lodge down the road!

I'll be sure to tune in tomorrow for episode 3. I really wish there was some way for us to watch this, but your summaries are definitely the next best thing!

Thanks, Brekkie! ;)

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Episode three and we are now beginning to see more of the personalities of the cadets.

At the beginning of the show we're introduced to Val - a genuine former member of the KGB Special forces who's responsible for putting the cadets through their paces to be physically fit for the mission. Once again here it's undercover cadet Steve who fails to keep the pace - eventually doubling up in pain only to be picked up by Val and carried round the barracks, with Val repeating their will be no special treatment - "This is not England" he repeats on numerous occassions!

The other actors aren't prepared for how tough it is - with Charlie admitting though it's hard and painful, it is "slightly fun" - before going onto state he hopes it'll become more fun before he dies at the hand of Val.

Later that night the cadets beging to worry when one of the girls spots Steve vomitting violently in his bed that night. Paul is quick to see if he's OK, before the other lads come to his aid and take him out to the living space. A producer from C4 then interupts them to say they are taking Steve out of the barracks due to the highly contagious nature of his symptoms.

With Steve out of the way, concern turns into anger when they realise he may have jeopodised their place in space!

Steve then joins Johnny live in the studio and explains he was genuinely ill. Since his departure none of the cadets have questioned his disapperance, believing that as he missed a chunk of the training it be impossible for him to catch up. IMO that's one of the weak links gone!

Now throughout the training period the cadets will attend hours of lectures preparing them for their mission - but they are unaware that only 80% of the stuff they learn is fact. The other 20% are lies - either to cover any cracks in the hoax, or just to make them look stupid!

Animal Pioneers lecturer Vladimir Negodivic (an actor) teaches them about Laika the dog, who in 1957 was sent into orbit to test space suits, sacrificing their life in the process. The Russians remember him to this day - and this is all true - but actors Charlie and Ranie struggle to keep a straight face, while Cheryl is reduced to tears and has to leave the room.

Next they are taught about Minsky, a monkey sent into space in 1958 - and as the first Russian animal to safely travel into space they named the city Minsk after her. They are then shown Minsky, who was stuffed and preserved for future generations. They are asked to show respect with a minutes silence. Of course, Minsky never existed!

Other lectures see them learning commands to communicate with Mission Control. Once again a mixture of true and stupid commands are introduced, with the cadets convinced that the commands "NACAS", "FIDO", "LIDO" and "DIDO" are all important to space travel. I don't think so!

Back in the barracks and we begin to see how much the cadets want it. Billy doesn't want the feeling of being "nearly there" and fears his more academic rivals, while Astrid doubts she has got what it takes - though would love to be the first Welsh person in space.

While Cheryl studies alone in the bedroom, Keri leaves her work behind at the table while Charlie and Paul play chess. With Keri out of sight, Paul draws a penis next to her work - causing the first major argument of the series. Keri is furious after working for hours, with Paul protesting "That is not my cock "

As host Johnny Vaughan walks around the base, he talks about how much the cadets want this and how he pities the poor bloke who will have to meet them as they land back on earth after five days in space to inform them it's all a hoax - before the producers remind him that will be his job! Johnny orders for Val and a couple of kalashnikovs to back him up!

Finally, our actor Charlie tries to keep up the pretence of his status as a "poet" by penning the song "Christmas in Space". It has the other cadets in stitches - and is possibly the biggest giveaway so far, but still no-one suspects - or do they?

More from the training camp tomorrow - with our first potential space lovers set to be revealed!

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What happens if they do find out its all a fake?

Then we revert to plan B - a rerun of Jamie's School Dinners - the surprise hit series from earlier this year which exposed the scandal of how poorly kids were being fed in school and led to a major change in policy from the UK Government!

There will also be a show to wrap things up and explain how the hoax was exposed!

C4 and the producers are quick to admit it could all go wrong - in fact I think it's the threat of it going wrong at any minute which makes it such a brilliant show!

A question for you lot now - is it true this show is getting some coverage on US breakfast shows? ABC are also said to be interested in it, but surely the nature of the show means making a local version without participants knowing it's all a hoax virtually impossible!

Edited by Brekkie Boy
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LOL would have loved to have seen the faces of the lecturers trying to keep a straight face while explaining the 6 sheets rule.

This has got to be cracking the lecturers up off screen. There is no way I would be able to do that without dying from laughter.

Thanks again Brekkie :lol:

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So if round 1 is found out...there is a round 2...lol

Keep us posted Brekkie....I can't wait for their reactions when they find out its all fake!!!!

You've been Punk'd :D

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BREKKIE....Don't leave us hang....er oh wait you just posted that.....

Well hurry up and "land them" lol

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OK this is too good and damn Charlie and his ass saying he will spill if they don't give him money I would ahve stopped it then took him off the shuttle and took him outside for a good old soap in the sock party... What a little caniving ass..

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