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Catfish UK: New Series Of The Show Starts Tonight On MTV

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Catfish UK: New Series Of The Show Starts Tonight On MTV

It's finally time - Catfish has swam over to UK shores for a brand new series.

Following on from the success of the 2010 documentary film, which followed Nev Schulman as he slowly discovered his online girlfriend is not who she says she is, Catfish: The TV Show has become an international success over the past decade.

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While Nev returned with his 'filmmaker buddy Max' and then subsequently with Kamie Crawford to find out who has been faking their identities on the internet, the brand new British edition of the show sees Nev pass the baton on to documentary maker Oobah Butler and media personality Julie Adenuga.

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In the new series, they'll seek to find out the truth behind some online love stories here in Blighty.

And the timing can't be more appropriate for the show, Oobah says, with the coronavirus pandemic seeing the whole world move practically their entire lives online.

"Catfishing is happening more than ever," he tells Tyla. "Everyone is using the internet now, and there are so many filters and edits being used. There's something out there right now that is making people feel uneasy being themselves."

Julie and Oobah make some shocking discoveries (Credit: MTV)
Julie and Oobah make some shocking discoveries (Credit: MTV)
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This act of changing your identity online is of particular interest to Oobah, who came to mainstream attention after he managed to make his shed in Dulwich London's top rated restaurant on TripAdvisor back in 2018.

Oobah did not do this by being culinary savant (he served his 'guests' microwaved meals), but instead by using fake reviews to manufacture the shed's five-star reputation.

"The experience was objectively bad," he said. "But because of what they read online, they tried to book again. I found it fascinating that people trust what others say online rather than their own experience.

"Restaurants, fashion, media - so many industries out there now are fundamentally catfishing us."

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Catfishing has fundamentally changed from its more 'humble' origins in 2010, where people would steal someone's photos and fashion a fake identity through social media in order to speak to someone - often out of loneliness, sometimes out of spite, and occasionally so extort money.

The pair sleuth out UK catfish (Credit: MTV)
The pair sleuth out UK catfish (Credit: MTV)

Advances in technology, as well as an increasing usage of social media to communicate, means it takes far more than a reverse Google image search to find out who is real and who isn't online.

The UK edition of Catfish just shows how far catfishing has come - and just how dark it can get.

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"We had bricks through windows, we had full on crime at one point," Julie says. "We looked at each other and thought, we've never seen this in US Catfish, what are we going to do?

"Normally we take lead from what Max and Nev had done. In one instance we had to call Nev. We've got a 'What would Nev do?' phrase, and in one instance, Nev was like: 'I don't actually know what I'd do because it's never happened before.'

"There's definitely been things that have made my eyes pop out of my head."

The first episode in the series starts as Catfish UK means to go on - both Oobah and Julie are convinced that the person they're trying to hunt isn't a catfish, as their participant claims to have spoken to him on FaceTime.

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But then they make a shock discovery that changes everything they think they know about who they're 'on' to.

Nev helps out on some occasions (Credit: MTV)
Nev helps out on some occasions (Credit: MTV)

"I feel like I would have fallen for the exact same thing, 100 per cent," Oobah says. "It's very scary. [Our participant] had opened herself up and gave herself over because of this trust built around [a FaceTime]."

"We're having to re-educate what catfishing is now," Julie agrees. "People out there are changing so many things about themselves. We're in a new era of catfishing."

And it's this lack of understanding on how catfishing has ultimately changed which has seen the pair find so many victims in the UK - a far smaller land mass than in America.

"Since we announced the show I've seen the same comments come up, which was 'How can you get Catfish in the UK? It's so small?'" Julie says. "And it is small, there's no argument there.

"But regardless of size, people are people. We're insecure. We want to be loved. Whether there's one million people or one hundred people, you'll find some insane stories."

"We've had one episode where the catfish who was involved with this person was one of the closest people in the world to them," Oobah adds. "You don't need to fly 12 hours to have that story."

Julie is hoping they can re-educate people on catfishing (Credit: MTV)
Julie is hoping they can re-educate people on catfishing (Credit: MTV)

While the pair are hoping that travel restrictions will have eased post-lockdown, so they can follow more catfishing tales around Europe, the pair find the close proximity of the UK makes the new version of Catfish that bit more compelling.

"It is mind-blowing to drive through London and realise these stories we're looking into and the stories we're getting can be just round the corner from us," Julie says.

"That will make a lot of people realise it can happen to friend of yours, and it can happen to you."

Catfish UK starts on MTV at 9pm on 21 April.

Featured Image Credit: MTV

Topics: Dating, TV News, TV & Film, Sex & Relationships

Kimberley Bond
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