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Reality Shows: BBC joins the band wagon with 'Commando'<br>An exchange4media preview

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Reality Shows: BBC joins the band wagon with 'Commando'<br>An exchange4media preview

Blame it on the fickle nature of the Indian audience or give credit to the ingenuity of the producers of television shows, the fast changing television programming scene in India is making producers hunt for new ideas to keep the audience glued on to their channels. Reality shows are latest to jump into the fray.
The lead on this was taken by Zee this year, when they announced their own new show ''POW'', on the lines of ''Survivor'' to counter the dominance of KBC. Plans didn''t work out as expected and the show was indefinitely postponed never to the see the light of the day.

AXN tried its luck by bringing in the mega hit ''Survivor'' itself but the Indian audience didn''t quite identify with a set of people trying to survive without any creature comforts. The show was too western they say, and for the Indian audience, which is used to seeing people live on streets without even the basic amenities, the achievements of the marooned people on the island were nothing impressive.
The latest of the series has been the most advertised English show in the history of Indian television '' Temptation Island''. ?The show that shocked America'' was brought to the Indian homes on the back of massive advertising and promotion. Star''s gamble at drawing audience proved to be a hit but the jury is still out on whether this genre will survive to see another day.

BBC World, the latest entrant in the arena is all set to launch its own reality series called ''Commando''. The show will be based on ''The Army Commando Training Course'' and will start airing from January 1, 2002. This fly-on-the-wall documentary will cover the six-week training course at the Commando Training School at Belgaum in Karnataka, which is considered to be one of the toughest courses demanding the highest levels of physical fitness and mental proficiency. This series follows BBC World''s highly acclaimed & successful reality show - Hospital.

The show apart from being based on real life situations comes at a time when tensions with Pakistan are at their peak and the audience''s penchant for an action-based show is as high as ever. That combined with the fact that the show is based on real life situations involving the Indian Army, makes it all the more interesting. The last show, which came close to this, was the Shah Rukh Khan starrer ''Fauji'' in the late eighties. The show successfully depicted the grueling training course of an army officer combined with the upheavals of his personal life.

Commando!, a 13 part series commencing, 1st January, follows the fate of the commissioned officers undergoing physical and mental exercises such as speed marches, Battle Physical Efficiency Tests, rock climbing & rappelling, unarmed combat & battle obstacle courses to develop them into commandos. The riveting series follows these young officers undertaking navigation exercises, combat survival and confidence- building tests. The Commando course at Belgaum prepares them for demolitions, field engineering and firing techniques including live handling of explosives.

Providing an insider''s view of the various procedures that are undertaken at the training camp over 39 long days and nights, the programme takes a closer look at the confident movements of two pairs of young army officers, who are among the 60 Infantry Officers and attachments who undertake the rigorous Commando course every year. The series depicts the training of Infantry Officers who are considered the foot soldiers of the Indian Army. Their mission is to fight the enemy at close quarters, capturing enemy territory and establishing communication lines through reconnaissance missions.

''We are proud to present yet another fascinating theme in this genre of reality programming which is becoming increasingly popular. The programme following the destiny of the commandos undergoing one of the toughest courses in army training makes compelling viewing. It brings to light the various facets of human behaviour as they pass through some of the most challenging and unnerving simulations,'' said Narendhra Morar, Commissioning Editor, BBC World. ''We are extremely thankful to the authorities at the Army Commando Training Camp, Belgaum for being so supportive and extending their cooperation in the making of this remarkable series,'' he added.

A part of ''The Junior Leaders'' Wing'', this course at the Commando Training School, Belgaum started on September 11, 2001 and concluded on October 20, 2001. The course has been equated with the Rangers Course in USA, which is the toughest in the world. Everyone who is an instructor in the course has undergone the course himself and received a QFI grade, i.e. qualified to be instructor.

The show is another in the series of BBC World''''''''s dedicated strip of locally-produced programmes made for broadcast in South Asia which include Mastermind India, Face to Face, IT: India Tomorrow, Question Time India and India Business Report.


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