Bro My God, They're Making a Reality TV Show Called Bromans, About Bros Living as Romans

Photo via ITV.
Photo via ITV.

There is an entire ecosystem of British reality TV that drifts across my feed without the finer details really registering. Couldn’t really tell you what Love Island is, for instance. But occasionally something stops me in my tracks. For instance: Bromans, a (real) show about lads living as Roman gladiators.


Basically, it’s a stock photo version of Ancient Rome come to tan, glistening, vivid life!

“Eight 21st century lads are to be transported back to the Roman Empire to see if they can cut it as gladiators,” opened ITV’s announcement, which continues:

The handsome boys will fight it out with help from their loving girlfriends. They may have the muscles but do these lads have what it takes to go down in history? Cameras will follow eight modern day couples as they’re transported to an ancient world where they’ll live and fight like gladiators did 2000 years ago.

Along the way there’ll be blood, sweat and tears. However, only the very best will make it through to the Emperor’s Games where one of them will emerge victorious and take home the Emperor’s gold (which today works out at ‘approximately’ £10,000!).

“The boy’s girlfriends will join them on their journey, helping to train and prepare them for the Games as well as immersing themselves in ancient Roman tasks - from wine making to sculpting.” Honestly, it’s a miracle I am not having a heart attack right now.


Of course, this isn’t the first UK reality program revolving around transporting modern folks to the past. It’s really an entire subgenre. But something like Manor House or The Victorian Slum has a pretty PBS vibe. Bromans looks more street-puking weekend trip to Ibiza. In fact, on a recent appearance on This Morning Britain, cast members explained how it differed from Love Island—described by the Telegraph as a program “in which perma-tanned beauties are challenged to find love in a Mallorcan villa”—which is a pretty good indication that it exists in the same universe of programming. How is this real?

Please please please please please somebody get esteemed classicist Mary Beard to write weekly recaps of this travesty.

Senior Editor at Jezebel, specializing in books, royals, romance novels, houses, history, and the stories we tell about domesticity and femininity. Resident Windsor expert.


Kiss me, Hardy!

Kelly- are you acquainted with Take Me Out?

It is amazing.

It is a British TV dating game show.

The premise is that 30-odd girls stand in a row.

A Man (usually an awful douchey bro) tries to win the girls over.

Firstly- he descends in a lift to his chosen music. Picture a guy in a shiny suit gyrating to “Blurred Lines”.

He has a little video about himself “Hi, I’m Dave, a 33 year old personal trainer from Manchester. I live with my brother and our four corn snakes. I love working out and keeping fit”

Sometimes there is a video about him by his mum, sister or best friend.

“Dave is still my little boy, I buy all his clothes, and I know he’s just waiting for the right girl to take care of him”.

“Dave is a real party animal- he’s never home before 6am on a Sunday and he borrows all my hair products!”

“Dave is a top lad, he’s definitely a friend in a million”

Sometimes they do their party trick live in the studio- maybe they sing or dance or strip or do some acrobatics. Maybe they limbo. Maybe they do some magic tricks. Maybe they read their poetry.

At any point, if the girls don’t like him, they turn out the light in front of them. If all the girls turn out their lights, he goes home alone.

If, at the end, more than two girls have their lights on, he gets to pick which one he likes. The host will say something like “One of these girls likes to cut her toenails on the sofa”.

Guy says something like “I love cheese- if you were a cheese, which one would you be?”

Girl A “I’d be Gouda, because I’d be so Gouda to you!”

Girl B “I’d be Brie, because I’d melt in your arms!”

He picks girl A, host says “yes, it’s girl A with the horrible toenail habit!”

The successful couple go to “the Isle of Fernando” (Tenerife) for a date.

The next week the show shows the dates (a boat trip, dinner- nothing exciting) and whether they got on or not.

That’s it.

The catch phrase is “No likey, No lighty”.