For decades, it may have seemed to despairing discerning small-screen viewers that the tap that produced “unscripted” reality TV programmes was permanently opened to full and endless capacity.

Every second show, whether on network or cable TV or streaming platforms, seemed to be yet another series about the rich wives of music producers, basketball players and billionaires; the bad choices made by visitors to expensive tattoo parlours in Los Angeles; the inability of contestants on cooking programmes to master the art of the soufflé in the face of the pressures of the clock and the sophisticated palettes of snotty chefs; or the temptations faced by 12-pack-ab sporting 20-somethings on an island full of equally impossibly sculpted 20-somethings of the opposite sex...

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