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‘They’re young, they’re Geordie and they work in retail!’ There’s a winner of a TV pitch for you. Hot on the heels of the excruciating but infuriatingly watchable ‘The Call Centre’ comes another show about the working lives of Britain’s youngsters. Newcastle’s Metrocentre is the biggest shopping mall in the country; by the looks of this, it’s staffed by a reasonably likeable bunch of kids who repeatedly bump up against the fact that there’s probably never been a worse time to be a young adult in recent British history but whose only real crime is the repeated and incorrect use of the word ‘literally’.
Like most of BBC3’s factual output, it’s a blaringly busy watch – music fills every space, the editing feels hyperactive, a trajectory is imposed at all times and as many archetypes as possible (Barbie-girl, lad, flamboyant gay) are squeezed in. But it’s not without interest, particularly in terms of the dodgy terms of employment facing youngsters today – the vile ‘zero hours’ contract raises its ugly head more than once. The suspicion remains that channels churn these kinds of programme out because they’re cheap. But even so, we’ve seen worse.