Will the real Gemma please stand up? Linda E pretended to be the homeowner from Surrey (Picture: BBC Pictures)
Stacey Dooley’s new reality series, This Is My House, has been hailed as everything from bonkers to barmy but, overall, highly entertaining.
Each episode follows four people who all claim to own the same house and be the same person. However, only one of them is telling the truth; the other three are actors.
It’s a pretty simple concept which makes it a wonder why it hasn’t been done before.
Last night’s episode featured radio presenter Linda E pretending to be homeowner Gemma, who lives in a technicolour house in Farnham, Surrey with her partner Pete.
Linda certainly has a bright personality but, was the bright house really hers?
‘I didn’t win but I was close,’ she told Metro.co.uk after narrowly missing out on being crowned the winner of the £1,000 prize money.
‘I’ve always been good at improvisation,’ Linda insisted.
In other words, it’s all about appearances and, for the contestants, keeping them up.
Linda says: ‘The concept of it is so simple but it really does play on our preconceptions because we are literally looking at four people and judging whether or not we think they’d live in that house based on how they look, based on things they say.
‘I just love the idea that this show challenges ourselves to look at ourselves and what preconceptions we might already have.’
It’s all a bit of escapism really, especially as we count down the (hopefully) final days of lockdown.
Linda adds: ‘Whether or not it will have people looking at themselves and their own prejudices etc… I don’t know if the programme needs to do that for individuals because that’s an individual journey.
‘But the programme’s good at being entertaining, providing that escapism and making people question, why do I think this person wouldn’t own this house? It really plays with your mind.’
Taking part in a show where you have to keep up a lie requires a strategy beforehand.
As for Linda’s…
‘My tactic was to root my life in truth,’ she explained.
‘It’s so random that where the location is, an ex-boyfriend of mine had gone to uni there. So I used that with my story when it comes to how I met my husband. In life, if someone says something to you and they say it with their chest, you’re gonna believe them. So that was my thing, whatever comes out their mouth, say it with confidence and hopefully these people would buy into that.’
Sometimes though, the lie can catch even the most quickest of thinkers out on the spot.
Recalling the hilarious moment she was asked for her children’s favourite teacher’s name, Linda admitted: ‘I couldn’t even think of the name of a teacher I had in real life! So the name that I gave was Mrs Applebum. That was a lie.
‘I don’t even know anyone with that name.’
Stacey is joined by her celebrity panel on This Is My House (Picture: BBC, Expectation Entertainment)
Linda joked that lying came ‘too easy’ but added: ‘I’m a radio presenter so I often have to think on the spot so it’s not that I’m telling a lie, but my brain does work in that kind of creative, fantastical way.
‘Even though it came easy, the Applebum situation just shows that you can only lie so far and then your brain kind of can’t deal with the stress of having to lie.
‘You have to think of the lie, remember the lie and then react to anything else that comes around the lie. My brain honestly couldn’t handle the stress.’
Luckily, Linda had a supportive cast on-hand to ease her into the game.
She revealed: ‘Stacey [Dooley] was amazing, she made me feel like she was my friend and I’d known her for ages. There was no ego, there was no awkwardness. I can’t tell you how nice she was and that’s one thing that I take away from it.
‘We were just talking like women talk, honest girly conversation. She was brilliant.’
Linda added of the overall experience: ‘Everything was so amazing, the whole crew. At no point did anyone make you feel uncomfortable.
‘When we wrapped, I was like can I come back tomorrow? They were all so professional and I loved my time on the show.’
This Is My House returns to BBC One next Wednesday at 9pm.
Linda E hosts Tribe Urban Radio weekdays from 9am-12pm.
Credit: Original article published here.