The producer of E4’s latest hidden-camera comedy show has hit back at claims they exploited desperate young unemployed people.
The Work Experience has been criticised for taking youngsters desperate to get into the fashion industry and setting them up with internships that involve humiliating tasks.
The Guardian’s Ben Lyons said the programme chose cheap targets and added: ‘The subtext is that it's all right because we're laughing at how ridiculous the fashion industry is, not that young people are prepared to humiliate themselves in their desperation to get a job.
‘Ultimately the show leaves a bad taste in the mouth, because in real life, The Devil Pays Nada.’ Writing on The Independent’s website, Clare Mortimer said: ‘This programme makes light of what is a harsh and unfair reality for many young people.’
And a post on the Graduate Fog website said: ‘The joke was on the interns – whose lowly status meant they were unable to object to anything that happened around them.’
But The Work Experience producer, Samantha Martin, has today written an article for Chortle defending the show – saying internship is a fact of life for many young job-seekers, and at least those who took part in the programme had some memorable experiences.
She said: ‘I believe that exploiting desperate young people for work is wrong, of course it is. But The Work Experience is not the evil face of this.
‘At the very least, during their time at the fictional Grade PR, our interns had ridiculous experiences that they could share and laugh about at the end of each day. And the hidden camera footage showed that this was exactly what they did.
‘Far from feeling put-upon these fired-up young bucks spent their time gloriously gossiping over the ridiculousness of their co-workers and bigging each other up for their mettle in each increasingly bizarre situation.
‘I can say hand on heart that everybody had a good time. We are all friends and nobody felt as if they had been exploited, in fact most of them told us they wished Grade PR actually existed – it had been fun.’
Click here to read her response in full.
And here’s a clip: