Spycam TV's new group to swap sex roles

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The Independent Online

First Channel 4 commissioned Big Brother - a "social experiment" to see what happened when 10 men and women shared a house under constant scrutiny.

First Channel 4 commissioned Big Brother - a "social experiment" to see what happened when 10 men and women shared a house under constant scrutiny.

Now it is planning an "educational docu-soap", to see what happens when men and women switch roles. Two men and two women will dress and live as the opposite sex for at least three weeks to explore gender differences. The three one-hour programmes, titled Boy Meets Girl, are likely to be shown early next year.

With echoes of the Big Brother screening process, a 10 men and women on a shortlist are being given deportment training and are spending time with gender psychologists. They include an escort, a motivational speaker and a male nurse. The final four will be chosen according to how well they can pass themselves off as the opposite sex and whether they will be able to cope.

The series is being made by London-based Optomen Television. Simon Andreae, managing director,said: "The series has an educational purpose but I hope there will be fun on the way. It's an opportunity to get ordinary people to have some experience of both sides of the gender divide."

A spokeswoman for C4 insisted the programme was not about sex, transvestism or cross-dressing. "It is about the social issues, about how people treat you in the work place. It is not people wanting a sex change," she said. "I doubt very much we are going to encourage people to go down the route of a sexual relationship. I think what you are more likely to find is the situation of going to a pub or a bar and the whole chat-up scenario."

Rising levels of sex and bad language on television have brought a big increase in complaints from the public according to a recent Broadcasting Standards Commission report. The report said viewers were disenchanted with the use of sex to boost ratings.

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