There are – and I say this with a strong degree of certainty – few things funnier than watching someone piss the bed on television. Some would disagree, citing the decline of civilisation and other things I'm past caring about. I simply call it art.
Bladder malfunctions, fist fights and some of the most confusing under-duvet jackrabbit sex ever televised are all part of the beauty of Geordie Shore, which began on MTV UK in 2011, inspired by the US MTV show Jersey Shore. Since it started, at least one new series of Geordie Shore has aired every year, and its 19th series just ended.
The staying power of Geordie Shore is down to its casting – specifically in the way that producers somehow found people who are just as willing to go clubbing all night in Tup Tup Palace, before being sick in a burger, as they are to describe that event the next day with the sort of humour it's impossible to write. From the beginning, it was clear that Charlotte Crosby, from Sunderland, was a natural television personality. Known for blending rapid-fire wit with an emotional honesty rare on reality TV, Crosby credits Geordie Shore with changing her life and, since leaving in 2016, has launched her own programme The Charlotte Show.
Crosby, therefore, is a reality TV pro. As Geordie Shore claims its spot on VICE's Top 50 British TV Shows of this century, I caught up with her to reminisce about her experiences on the show, and to hear what it's actually like to make the UK’s most boisterous show. Everything from below is all Charlotte, in her own words.
"Back before Geordie Shore there was one reality TV show on in the UK, and it had only just started, and that was The Only Way Is Essex. There’d been Big Brother, but that was one of a kind – not like what came after that, like Made in Chelsea and things like that.
"A lot of people were cast for Geordie Shore out in the clubs. Now, with me, I wasn't from Newcastle and I didn't go out there – I was on Facebook, and there was a Facebook advertisement. I went on the Facebook page and there was a questionnaire you had to copy and paste, fill out and send back. They read it, and then they rang us, and then there was a telephone interview, and then there was a face-to-face interview, and then there was a camera interview, then there was the sight test, then there was another interview, then you had to meet the people from London, and then there was the last camera interview. So, that was how it happened.
"When I was picked, I thought, 'Oh my god, my life's about to change.' When I was growing up, the most famous people to me were Posh and Becks, because the Spice Girls were so big, and Posh and Becks were like a power couple. I used to think that they must feel, like, this famous feeling – walking around, everyone was following them, they had big sunglasses on all the time. I thought that it must be a different feeling from what a normal person must feel like. So when I got told I was going to be on Geordie Shore, I was like, 'Shit. I'm going to feel the famous feeling, that Posh and Becks feeling.' And then I waited for it. Series one, I just didn't feel anything. Series two, still no feeling. Series three, I was like, 'This must be it: the famous feeling must be about to come. I'm on the third series of the show and there’s still no goddamn feeling.' I still just feel exactly the same!
"I had no doubts about doing Geordie Shore until MTV sent series one to four of Jersey Shore and said, 'This is what we want to make it like, this is how it’s gonna go. We want you all to sit and watch this, just so you know that’s what you're getting into." I watched the episode and Snooki was necking on with Angelina in a hot tub. And I had this feeling, like, 'Shit, I don’t know if I can do this.' I thought, 'So that’s gonna be on TV? I don't think I can do this.' And then I got really worried and nervous, so do you know what I did? I turned it off the telly, I put it back and I never watched it again. If I'd have watched any more episodes of that I don’t think I would’ve gone on the show.
"I know generally people think reality TV is glamorous, but I don’t think anyone ever thought that about Geordie Shore when we were having fights with kebabs, and I always looked like a bloody foot. But I can see how people might think that of Made in Chelsea and TOWIE. Both of my shows [Geordie Shore and The Charlotte Show] are so different to those two. TOWIE’s got a cast of 20-odd people, and some people might only film two days of the week.
"But in Geordie Shore, you live in that house 24 hours of the day, and we do green screen two days a week, so we also have to narrate the whole show, which is about 70 percent of the work. I wouldn’t change that for the world, because I’ve learned so many skills from doing it. It’s knackering, but not in a physical way, in a mental way. Maybe you have to go back to a time when you’re having a raging argument – so they’re telling you, 'Be angry, you’ve got to deliver this in an angry manner.' Next thing you know, 'Be happy, be sad.' Mentally, it’s really tiring.
"People on Geordie Shore do the longest hours you’ll ever know – we’re up at the crack of dawn doing our hair and make-up. There are no make-up artists, and no stylists. We get up, we get ready, do it all ourselves. Then get out of there, get changed, go do what we’ve got to do during the day and then head back to go out again.
"My favourite memory of doing the show is from my first full series abroad: series three, Mexico. Every single memory from that series is the most amazing memory. We went out on speedboats on the open ocean. I’d never done anything like that before. I just remember me and Holly screaming from the tops of our voices, and looking around, and feeling so free. And that was amazing. I love the ocean – there’s something about it which makes us feel so happy.
"Geordie Shore doesn’t necessarily show what every young person is like. Everyone is completely different – and it’s not a documentary or a factual show about how people behave in the area where they live; it’s an entertainment show. It’s put on telly to laugh, cry, feel, to be entertained – although I did always act how I would’ve acted in real life, and so did everyone else. Geordie Shore was so raw, and it was so real. It will always be the best experience I’ve ever had in my entire life.
"I described it to someone before… all these people who go into Love Island, they get so excited, they think, 'Oh my god, this is going to be the best opportunity of my life. I get to go away, make new friends and just have pure fun for eight weeks.' Now, I did that for five years, and I didn’t just go to the same place! I travelled the world, and I’ve made the most amazing memories, and I did things that I would never, ever have done – even now to this day."