apart from Idol - 22nd March 2007
Annie Lawson reports on the new
reality television series that uncovers - literally
- hitherto unaired talents.
when you think the reality television genre has
explored every possible permutation along comes
another format to test the boundaries of classiness.
Candice and Brooke, who prefers her porn-star
name Beebee Brannon, are among the 10 dancers
competing for the title of Australia's most talented
Erotic Star, which screens on Foxtel's Arena Channel
contestant, Ettiene, a 27-year-old from Bondi
Beach, whose favourite pastime is sex, confesses
early on in the series that she's scared of heights,
which is surely a problem for an aspiring pole
dancer. Rival Claudia tastefully admits: "I've
had plenty of moans and no complaints."
is the way in the brutal world of reality TV,
contestants are booted off each week for failing
one of the many challenges that spice up this
eight-part series. There are dance-offs, a James
Bond-themed show, and even surfing and beach volleyball
skills to master.
champion ironman Guy Andrews, Ken Done's son,
Oscar Done, and body painter Tim Gratton appear
as guest judges.
it reads like a smutty stripfest to attract voyeuristic
viewers, the show's host, Bessie Bardot, insists
this is not the case. Instead, she says, it's
about resurrecting burlesque - a risque form of
dance that blurs the lines between art and stripping,
as well as capitalising on the popularity of pole
point of the whole show is based around the hugely
popular pole-dancing phenomenon and to revive
the lost art of burlesque," she says.
people think it's going to be T and A, this is
the wrong show. Occasionally you'll see one of
the girls topless, but that's all you'll see.
It's absolutely not gratuitous."
fact, there is loads of T and A, and after the
dance-off in the second show, one of the judges
admits: "I felt uncomfortable watching it.
To be honest, I felt like a voyeur".
who has made a living out of talking and writing
about sex and relationships, aims to debunk the
seedy image of the erotic dancing profession.
easy to jump to conclusions that girls who are
professional dancers somehow haven't done what
they wanted in life or have perhaps been involved
with drugs and alcohol, but it's not the case,"
the contestants include a mother whose husband
is serving in Iraq, and an English virgin, demonstrates
that it's not all about sex, drugs and pole dancing,
who has appeared regularly on Channel Seven's
Sunrise, co-hosts with husband and former Gladiators
star Geoff Barker. The former British green beret
commando, whose Gladiators alter ego was, unsurprisingly,
Commando, keeps a disciplinary eye on the girls.
logic of having husband-and-wife co-hosts was
to "sex down" the show so it doesn't
stray into X-rated territory and turn off female
point of having Geoff and I was to keep it not
overtly sexual so it would be watched by men,
women and anybody, really," Bardot says.
Erotic Star format was developed by British producer
Jacqui Maskall primarily for British television
network ITV, and it is already being shopped around
Europe and the US.
of erotic dancing hopefuls across the country
auditioned for the series, many professional dancers
and strippers in men's clubs and cabaret clubs.
clashes and tensions emerge among the group, which
lives in a mansion in Sydney's Manly. "For
the majority of girls that go into this industry,
it's performance art and they see themselves as
actors," Bardot says. "To be seen on
the show and to win, just as if you won the businesswoman
of the year award, would eventually equal more
Star airs on Saturday at 11.30pm on Foxtel's Arena