The return of Challenge Anneka is another sign that we are eager to get back to basics.


When you think about it, Anneka Rice was a woman who was decades ahead of her time. In the late ’80s, women on television were still required to wear meters of orange blush, bright lipstick, and hairstyles that seemed to be trying to communicate with Mars.

These smiling women were allowed to cover themselves with cars, and that’s basically it. Sitting behind a news desk was considered great feminist progress. Miss World was still mostly the swimsuit round and Alexis and Krystle’s fight in Dynasty It was just good, clean and fun.

And then in 1989 came Anneka Challengea television series derived from a segment on Children in needwhere Rice, fully clothed, sporty, and keen on permanence, ran, literally, across the country, fresh-faced, often ankle-deep in mud, putting the world in order.

She also knows that it was good. “She really changed the face of television in a lot of ways,” she said in a recent interview.

Anneka Challenge It was where the country’s 10-year-olds learned about the orphan crisis in Romania when Rice and her team renovated a dilapidated orphanage in Siret, and about the importance of equine therapy for disabled children when some disused stables in Buxton were turned into a specialized riding center. .

And now she is back. Forty years after she first appeared on TV Treasure huntThen in Anneka ChallengeRice will be on Channel 5 with four new hour-long episodes of the latest makeover show later this year.

Rice’s challenges always had to be completed within a certain amount of time and what made this show truly groundbreaking (at least it would be today) was that they sometimes failed. There was none of the bogus bogus danger of most modern programs because there was a genuine risk that they wouldn’t do it. There was none of Supernanny’s deeply suspicious happily ever after or even my all-time favourite. queer eye. I’m sorry, but no makeover program can have a platinum hit rate and while we’ve always known we’re being scammed, are we starting to get tired of it?

maybe the reboot Anneka Challenge it will usher in a new phase of real-reality, rather than constructed reality or real-whenever-it-fits-the-format.

After all, Channel 5’s vision for the show is to go back to basics. The announcer, Rice says, “didn’t want to change anything.” He specifically requested the same soundman (Dave Chapman, a breakout star of the show) and the same blue truck they traveled in. Will the jumpsuit be the same, with the neon pink sparkles on the shoulders? Please let it be so. Admit it, all of that would be, counterintuitively, fairly new programming.

This longing for real reality is emerging in other parts of the culture. I have noticed a campaign for a dating app that only works on Thursdays and hosts in-person dating events. One of the mottos of this application is: “I just want to meet someone in a bar.” It’s a rather sad cry from the collective heart of all singles, some of their best years cruelly stolen by the pandemic, fed up with spinning around in fruitless eddies of dating apps.

More generally, IRL events are selling out. If you want to do something this summer, it’s about to be too late to book it. If you want to do something over Christmas 2022, start booking in August. And I’m not kidding.

And it is one of the miracles of the modern age that true rebirth is possible at any age. For Mary Berry, for Julia Roberts (not that she never left) in gas lightfor Kate Winslet in Easttown Marefor Emma Thompson, who is undressing for Good luck to you, Big Leo.63, the same age as Anneka Rice.

Rice was a national treasure before we had national treasures, she was #fitnotthin, physically unafraid, years before the female recruits on the tv series. SAS: Who dares wins and she was altruistic before it was dismissed as “virtue signaling.” She is definitely the woman we need for 2022.


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