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  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 1, 2000
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9
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  • Starring: Michael Kitchen, Les Keen, Julie Mays
  • Summary: Faking It is a documentary series made by RDF Media for Channel 4 (UK). Part makeover, part challenge, and part fly-on-the-wall show, each programme follows a volunteer from one walk of life who lives and trains with an expert from a completely different field. After a four-week crash course in their mentor's area of expertise, the volunteer is put to the test by competing against genuine practitioners. Judges (who in most cases aren't initially aware that there is a faker in the line-up) are asked to pick a winner, and then pick out the fake. There is no particular prize for success - the fakers do it just for the experience. And to entertain us, of course.

    The programme has won several prestigious awards:
    Montreux Television Festival 2003 Golden Rose (awarded for the best TV programme overall) (Orchestra Conductor episode)
    BAFTA Awards Best Factual Primetime Feature 2001 (Chef episode); Best Factual Feature 2002 (series 4)
    Royal Television Society (RTS) Awards Best Primetime Feature 2001 (Series 3)
    Radio Times Reader's Choice Awards Best Factual Programme 2002
    Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Single Documentary 2002 (Drag Queen episode)

    Faking It has been sold around the world and has been, or soon will be, seen on Life Network Canada; Channel 9 Australia; TV2 Denmark; TV Norge Norway; Kanal 5 Sweden, BBC America, BBC Prime (South Africa) and Channel 33 Dubai. An American version was shown in both the UK and USA (on TLC) in March 2003 and other domestic versions are in production in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Brazil.

    Faking It is made in 16:9 widescreen, except Season 7 which is in 4:3.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How are fakers selected?
    In a variety of ways. Generally, the challenge is devised first, and then the producers look for someone who is a good contrast. Usually they advertise in relevant publications and websites - for instance, having decided they wanted someone who worked in computing to become a surfer, they advertised in the computer magazines. Other times, they actively scout for fakers (a visit to a London music college turned up Sian Evans, the cellist who would be transformed into a DJ in one of the show's classic episodes), or invite people who've written in. For the first USA series, open auditions were held. Now that the series has taken off, the producers have plenty of applicants to choose from, so the shortlisted applicants (sometimes as many as 50) have a final audition before the faker is chosen.

    What do they win?
    I don't know what it says about the different cultures, but for some reasons Americans are always asking this question while Brits almost never do. The answer is: nothing. You could say that the experience of being on the show is its own reward. "Faking It" isn't really a gameshow, after all - more of a "staged documentary" (to coin a phrase).

    Do they get paid?
    They get "expenses", apparently - it appears that they are compensated for loss of earnings, but they don't get an actual fee.

    Is it three weeks or four weeks? I'm sure they've said both. Has it changed?
    It's four weeks on the UK show, three weeks on the US version. I'm not sure why the difference - perhaps they just reckon Americans won't be able to get four weeks off work.

    Has anyone ever dropped out?
    No. The fakers are free to walk out if they choose, but no-one has ever done so (the closest is Chris Sweeney, who left, but then came back). There was one faker who never made it to screen though - the girl originally selected to become a ballroom dancer was so bad that she was sent home after two weeks.

    About episode titles: With the exception of "Web Surfer to Wave Surfer" and the follow-up special "Faking It Changed My Life", none of the British episodes had official titles when shown in the UK. For the purposes of this guide, the titles given are those used by BBC America (where known). These can be considered semi-official. The Faking It USA episode titles were used by both TLC and Channel 4 and can be considered official.
  • Genre(s): Reality, News/Documentary, Documentary
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