When Channel 4 announced reality television series Seven Dwarves it did feel like we were going to get a show like Big Fat Gypsy Wedding mixed with the worst kind of programmes that Channel 5 has to offer. Instead we have a genuinely touching series filled with lovely, honest people and it doesn’t matter about their height.
Although it aimed to break through the presumptions and the stereotypes that dwarves have to deal with in fact you learn about some really interesting lives that are then thrown together each Christmas to play the comedy roles in panto season.
Taking one of the actors and looking at their lives in an in-depth manner each week, whilst also seeing the interactions with everyone else as well we learn more about them as the series develops.
In some respects it is like Big Brother as these larger than life characters have been brought together to be watched over such as Britain’s only dwarf drag queen act and a swimming world champion who has only just turned 21. In fact three of the participants have been best friends since they were young, two have started a relationship and although some of them may be new to showbiz they are all friends, not people who will stab them in the back once out of the house.
Although there are sad elements when the crew talk to family members when they delve into their family and being dwarves they have had a number of medical problems to contend with along with the usual ups and downs of life, overall it is amazing to just watch them like when they started doing bad Hitler impersonations.
The odd thing is being a dwarf does open all sorts of job opportunities. Most of the seven people featured are actors or performers but some have normal jobs in offices but come to the theatre each Christmas as one of the participants, Max, says to do the “hi ho shit” aka the panto season. Others come from acting legacy families who were ewoks and some are paid to dress up as Oompa Loompas and other amusing characters to follow stag night parties around.
So what started as an amusing idea actually became something quite touching and even though they are talking about their lives as dwarves in parts of the show it is not the focus. Whether that means it has succeeded or they just had genuinely interesting people to talk to I don’t know.