Candy Bar Girls - tv show

Date:               Thursday 7 July 2011, (and the next 5 Thursdays @ 10pm)
Location:         Channel 5 (also available on 5 on demand)

All stock footage and no substance?

We tuned in with trepidation following the awful channel 5 promos, and were pleasantly surprised that the docu-drama is  in fact using the real lesbians who work or patronise the newly relaunched Candy Bar.

On the surface the show is little more than a promo for the infamous Bar, that is trying to shed its reputation of lesbians with attitude. However it’s also an opportunity to try and dispel some of the myths about lesbian stereotypes. 

Early on we hear that this is the aim of the new Candy Bar marketing strategy, from one of the show’s background characters, DJ Sandra D, Candy Bar manager, promotions manager, events manager (I’m not sure which as she was referred to as all three in the first one hour episode). 

However Sandra stays firmly in the background as the main area of interest are the younger characters, with whom we get a sneak insight into their ‘real’ lives. We are let down from the outset, none of the three lesbians (or their friends) we follow are over 25. They are all white, middle class, middle of the road London lesbians. 

Setting the show in London, we had such an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of lesbians – age, race, background, even career. There is no mention of the different ways women can be lesbian – I don’t think I heard the words dyke or queer once for example.  Perhaps they were going light on us for the pilot episode – they did tease us with a fetish party for episode two.

Overall, it’s a mediocre documentary, that uses techniques made recently famous by shows such as The Only Way is Essex, such as scene staging. In fact the only compelling scene in the whole hour was one of the leads breaking up with her girlfriend, and even then she’d clearly rehearsed the dialogue, leaving her ex bewildered. 

It’s stuffed full of generic stock footage shots of London (a few of which are even repeated) which makes it look like they did not have enough docu-footage to fill the hour.

Do you agree? Or did you love the show? We’d like to know your thoughts