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Check out this British TV show about insurance fraud



It’s still summer as we write this. Long lazy Saturdays at the cottage. Barbecues. Known as the “silly season” in journalism. Aside from Zurich’s takeover bid for RSA making editors bolt upright in their chairs and mumble, “I’m awake, I’m awake!”, not much is going on. Might as well get you hooked on a guilty pleasure.

For several seasons now—oops, series—the BBC has run Claimed and Shamed, a show that bills itself as a “documentary series that casts a covert eye over the ever-growing problem of insurance fraud and sees outlandish claimers as they’re caught on camera.” Like all reality-based series, it’s goofy and mildly addictive (not nearly addictive, mind you, as watching the airheads on VH1’s Dating Naked, but hey).

Because we’re looking into crime, we must have a gravelly voiced narrator, in this case one with a Yorkshire accent, video surveillance cut to look more sinister than it is and a dubstep music bed. There are fun Brit-slang expressions like “on the fiddle,” which means you’re taking bribes/stealing. Then there are the moments that are unintentionally hilarious. In one promotional clip you can find online, you hear the narrator warn, “In total, the insurer was facing a £4,294 bill. The paperwork began.” Cut to a close-up of a woman’s eyes, and then her fingers typing… all with suspenseful, mood-building music. Oh, my God, the paperwork’s beginning!

Another sample of narration from a different episode: “In 2012, local man Peter Finney was badly injured here [Shrewsbury]. The culprit—” And we’re not making this up, they really did do a dun-dun-DUN with a bang, bang, bang noise, pairing it with rapid cuts of “A manhole cover!”

If you’re younger than 40, ask your parents if they remember an old British crime show called The Sweeney. Which this show would like to be, but it’s not, innit? Hey, it’s insurance. You thought there might be a claim storyline on Downton Abbey?

Transcontinental Media G.P.