Housing

Filthy, Rich and Homeless: Australian celebs sleep rough for TV experiment

SBS network pairs wealthy celebs with homeless people in Melbourne for the Australian version of Famous, Rich and Homeless

It was a TV special designed to give celebrities a glimpse of homelessness. The BBC’s much-discussed social experiment Famous, Rich and Homeless shocked viewers by showing stars sleeping rough in London when broadcast last year.

The Australian TV network SBS has repeated the trick over three nights this week. The Antipodean version – Filthy, Rich and Homeless – showed wealthy young socialities willing to “confront their privilege” by getting to grips with life on the streets.

Like the British show – which featured John Bird as an  adviser and saw Julia Bradbury spend a week on the street – each celeb is paired up with a person experiencing homelessness, spending time with them while sleeping on the streets or hostel accommodation.

BBC series Famous, Rich and Homeless: Willie Thorne, Kim Woodburn, Nick Hancock and Julia Bradbury.

It features beauty entrepreneur Jellaine Dee, bar owner Stu Lundy and Kayla Fenech, the daughter of Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech.

The model and socialite Christian Wilkins, who introduces himself to viewers by saying “money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy champagne and that’s pretty close,” was seen struggling badly to adjust, forced to call his mum from a public phone box and reverse the charges.

Reaction to the show in Australian has been largely positive. While some criticized celebrities for failing to fully understand the problem, others praised the programme-makers for offering a serious look at the struggles of some of Sydney’s homeless people.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are currently more than 105,000 people who are homeless in Australia, either on the streets or in the country’s “boarding house” hostels.

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