“The Romans gave us roads, viaducts and basic sanitation but ‘Bromans’ may prove to be their greatest legacy.”
There’s a possibility that I will always remember where I was the day I first heard the words of Ben Kelly, an executive producer at Electric Ray Productions, a company which is a subsidiary of Sony but, with roguish charm, describes itself as an indie. Our new friend Ben here is referring here to the new show he has developed for ITV2: Bromans.
Bromans. Romans but Bros. I know. The name alone is almost too much to take. But we can get through this together. Come with me and find out what could possibly be better than roads and sanitation.
Obviously, the only thing better than civil engineering is sexy couples living in a Roman palace with some actors for 8 weeks. The bros themselves, described merely as “having muscles,” will train as gladiators while their “loving girlfriends” will engage in traditional Roman female pastimes such as wine-making (!) and sculpting (!!). At the end of the 8 weeks the bros will battle in “a Colosseum” (!!!) in front of a mysterious emperor to win 10k.
This description alone convinced me that this had the potential to be the greatest televisual experience of the 21st century. This would make the joy I experienced watching Bone Kickers look like a weekend in a cave.
But it got better.
The bros will be trained by a doctore (someone in the office obviously watched Spartacus: Blood and Sand), played by David McIntosh. David McIntosh is mostly known as Kelly Brook’s ex-boyfriend and I thank him for reminding me that Kelly Brooks exists. He sounds absolutely awful but he has many many muscles and is often shiny. He once crashed a van full of dead badgers into a bus stop. So the training sounds great.
At the palace where the couples will live, they’ll be under the constant surveillance of an emperor’s assistant (I shall refer to him as a freedman even though he will DEFINITELY be costumed in a shit toga). He’ll be played by Tom Bell, not the dead one but a comedian who seems very nice but was definitely cast because he looks a bit gaunt and like he’d be in Slytherin so I feel like we’re going for a creepy smarmy sycophant vibe here. A little bit Varys from Game of Thrones but creepier (I hope he never reads this. He really does seem lovely).
Now I know you’re thinking “Emma, please, no more.” But there’s more.
“Whilst living in ‘ancient Rome’, the couples will wear the attire of the day – sandals, leather loin cloths and gold lamé pants”
The mind boggles.
It’s taken me a full day to process this phrase, and the multiple interpretations thereof. I initially read it as gold lamé trousers, an image which made me swoon with pure wrongness. But Greg Jenner read it as gold lame subligaculum, aka a kind of loincloth. Which would effectively be a gold speedo for the bros I guess. And I really hope Greg is right but the reference to leather loin cloths as well as gold lamé pants, and the only subligaculi in the UK are leather ones. So many possibilities! All of them involving nearly nude couples!
The executives at ITV2, who all sounds like the absolute worst, are really keen to let everyone know that the couples will be good looking and nearly nude all the time and do this by saying the word sexy a lot, even though no real person has unironically described anything sexual as sexy since 1973. This is good though, as they happily let slip the real purpose of this bizarre adventure in reality tv programming.
Sexy, Sexy Sex
Yes, dear reader, the gladiatorial games are just a ruse, a cover for the aspect that has made the producers and Head of Digital Channels and Acquisitions for ITV (and god isn’t a genuine effort to stay awake for that entire job title) rub their hands together with ratings glee: the sexy, gold-lamé clad, muscle-bound couples will be living together in a palace and will, I quote, “carpe diem together”. Where carpe diem is absolutely, definitely, without a single doubt, a euphemism for shagging each other. Ideally, members of opposing couple-teams causing much drama both in and out of the “Colosseum” and hopefully getting some tits on screen. I know this to be true because, for the actual competition for the cash, there is literally no point in the women being there. They contribute nothing to actual contest. They are just there for the sex.
You can just hear the head of digital channels and acquisitions heavy breathing from here.
So what we’ve got here is a production company that makes a show that’s basically Pimp My Ride but with the format of Ground Force and would almost certainly think that Jonatton Yeah? from Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker’s Nathan Barley is a brilliant man, who have seen Love Island and decided it wasn’t conceptual enough. Who saw the old ITV show Gladiators and decided it didn’t have enough sex.
Obviously, the idea is brilliant. They’ve got hot people who are somehow willing to be on this show. They’ve made them semi-nude. They’ve made them sweat all day doing physical tasks. They’ve put an actor in with them to enhance the paranoia. They’ve got the heady mix of gladiatorial fighting with the implication hanging over it of impending death, and sexy sexy ladies. It’s Freud’s Thanatos and Eros theory made into an ITV2 8×60 reality game show.
Oh and the whole thing is narrated by Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet’s son, hired exclusively because his name is Roman.
I absolutely cannot wait.