Freshers, Sex and Suspicious Parents: The latest cringe gawp at your life

‘I could bring girls back whenever I can. It’s pretty much an option now’


Have you tuned into Freshers, Sex & Suspicious Parents on BBC Three?

After seeing boozed-up randy teens cope in Kavos, Val d’Isere and Shrewsbury Fields Forever Festival, the producers still weren’t satisfied –– they’ve cracked the whip once more to flog out a show for the freshers.

This series, if you’ve yet to waste a whole hour of your Tuesday night, has the camera crews chase 19-year-olds pumped up on diet coke and Glen’s in the hope they’ll snog as their horrified parents look on in secret.

They’ve done it for Mediterranean post-A Level holidays, ski seasons and South England festivals. Now it’s back for another series: welcome to Freshers’ Week at Sheffield Hallam 2k15.

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Cleo on the Smirnoff Ice

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And Joe with his guitar

Meet the freshers: forensic accountant Cleo, 19, who comes from a Christian upbringing in Bedford, eager to meet boys and smash VKs with them. She joins historian Joe, 18, from Northumberland who wants to do just the same with girls. The narrator loves to remind us how they’re about to embark on the biggest step of their life but for now they’re just getting battered in Sheffield.

Finally away from his parents in his new room, Joe tells the camera with wide eyes: “I could bring girls back whenever I can. It’s pretty much an option now.”

The nights out the producers follow him on look like the blandest carbon copies of the Freshers’ Week events we’re trying to forget. Check out these pictures and imagine how many times they’ve asked each other what subject they’re doing.

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So where are you guys from?

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Haha that’s so funny, I also love playing Fifa

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The producers are making me do this

It’s the usual run of boys and girls escaping their overbearing parents for the first time and going a bit mad. There’s the same routine of boozy revelations about independence as suburban teens find jägerbombs and rave paint, which we all went through and moved on from.

Like with the previous versions on Sea, Snow and Festivals, it’s always a wonder to think where they found the parents who agree to go on the show, inviting judgement on how well they’ve raised their kids. Where do they come from? They’re all dyed-fringe Pizza Express mums and wasp-chewing dads who managed to haul their beer guts off the sofa for three days of overanalysing their kids from a surveillance van.

Take Brian and Shonagh, the love-smothering parents of son Joe –– who looks like he’s just failed an X Factor audition. They’re a bit emotional as they say goodbye at his halls but they’re soon cooing warmly as he makes scrambled eggs with a knife and roars David Guetta lyrics on his third night out in a row.

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Joe’s mum Shonagh

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We might as well be lovers on the sun

This show feels like an even more budget rip-off of the Secret Life of Students, Channel 4’s embarrassing attempt at documenting student life.

With this in mind, we spoke to 2014’s uni star, second year Aiden at Leicester. Here’s his take.

Aiden's view

Going back to Sheffield, let’s ignore how the fourth interpretation of the “Location, Sex & Suspicious Parents” could never be as watchable during Freshers’ Week in Sheffield as a turbocharged holiday in Magaluf. For one, there’s less puking on sunny beaches and more trudging home alone in the drizzle. In Malia, if you got too lairy on the strip you’ll end up in a fight, in fresher halls the worst that could happen would be going into someone else’s kitchen to drink their Sainsbury’s Basics orange juice.

Which goes to show how this programme has really been done to death. What else is there to say about first years gelling their hair senseless and going out to discover dancing in circles? Now we’ve moved away from holidays to grey uni towns, the only drama so far has been figuring out how to use laundry machines and arriving to lectures on time.

If all this isn’t enough to convince you this show isn’t all the doing of some out of touch, middle-aged producer, look at this screenshot of Joe sleeping off a large one from last night. He’s been out drinking the night before, so there’s a mug labelled #hungover next to his bed. Now how uni is that?

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Cuff me

Stay tuned for next week, when the narrator promises we’ll find out the answer to the burning question, “can this Geordie girl ever hit her boozing limit?”