Review: Lookalikes offers little resemblance to reality

Celebrity lookalikes Tim Oliver and Martin Jordan in a scene from the TV series Lookalikes.
Celebrity lookalikes Tim Oliver and Martin Jordan in a scene from the TV series Lookalikes.

YOU know when a person says something is so good they couldn't have made it up?

That's what a new "structured reality'' show from the UK promises, and sometimes delivers.

Lookalikes follows some of the 270 doppelgangers on the books of a real-life celebrity lookalikes agency.

The show opens with a message from the narrator about how the show's lookalikes are real people, and it only takes a few minutes to see why the show needs such a disclaimer.

A Rolf Harris lookalike being told his career is over because "it's just too on the wrong side of wrong" seems too good to be true.

The show centres around the agency's founder, Andy Harmer, a David Beckham lookalike who does resemble the soccer star when he's wearing sunnies, a scarf and a flash-looking blazer.

"Sometimes being a lookalike is confusing," he says.

"I get dreams where I really am David living his life, but then I wake up and I'm just a regular guy from Eastbourne.''

That quote perfectly sums up this show's major stumbling block. It sounds and feels scripted, hence the tag scripted reality. It claims to be an observational documentary series but it feels too staged, like a producer is prompting the talent from off camera or at the very least shaping the story.

The subjects' to-camera confessionals feel more like those from Modern Family than a true doco.

Take Tim Oliver, a man who impersonates Ricky Gervais's character David Brent (not even Gervais himself) from The Office.

Cameras follow him during his day job as, wait for it, a packaging products salesman.

"It makes me feel like I am a bit like David Brent," he says.

"It's very weird and unsettling to think my life is like a made up character."

But it's like he's trying too hard to be Brent; as if the line between his celebrity lookalike persona and himself has blurred beyond any reasonable point.

Some of the lookalikes do bear amazing resemblances to celebrities including Gordon Ramsay and Ed Sheeran.

That alone makes this show worth watching for the first episode. Beyond that I wouldn't expect the series to hold anyone's attention for very long.

Lookalikes premieres on Foxtel's Comedy Channel on Monday at 8.30pm.

Topics:  reality television television weekend magazine

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