‘Downton Abbey on the water’: why TV's Below Deck is still making waves

In the summer of 2011, eight tanned and smiling twentysomething cast members boarded the superyacht Honor for a six-week charter around the Caribbean. Accompanied by Captain Lee Rosbach and a camera crew, the cast welcomed uber-rich guests for day trips around the scenic islands, while rushing to cater to the guests’ every whim, forging on-board romances and descending into drunken feuds. The results were aired in July 2013, on US network Bravo, as the reality series Below Deck. Seven years and seven seasons later – plus two spinoffs – the series has reached British shores, where it has proved a hit on Hayu and Netflix.

Combining the lives of the wealthy and the fame-hungry with a low-budget immediacy that gives early seasons the feel of having been filmed in the early 2000s, rather than the early 2010s, Below Deck has become the surprising reality success of lockdown.

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 24/09/20]