Buying London: Netflix’s ‘British Selling Sunset’ ridiculed by critics

Steven McIntosh,Entertainment reporter

grey placeholderNetflix The cast of Buying LondonNetflix

Buying London was described by the Guardian as “tired, tone-deaf and shamefully crass”

Netflix’s reality series Selling Sunset has inspired a British version – but so far, most critics are not buying.

Buying London follows in the footsteps of the US series, which sees beautiful estate agents who sell expensive properties.

Many storylines focus on the personal lives of the cast and their working relationships.

The UK series, however, received a zero-star review from the Guardian, which described it as “probably the most hateable TV show ever made”.

Netflix did not seem concerned by the response, however, even embracing the review by quoting it and showing the empty outlines of five stars to promote the show on X.

The company chose to post that review instead of more positive write-ups, like the Evening Standard’s, which awarded four stars and said the show proved “the formula can indeed translate across the pond”.

While Selling Sunset follows the Oppenheim group in Los Angeles, Buying London follows the agency DDRE Global.

The company serves some of London’s most exclusive areas, including Kensington and Chelsea, Belgravia, Mayfair, St John’s Wood and Highgate, as well as neighbouring counties.

Many of its agents have built personal brands as property influencers on social media, where they advertise their listings to attract buyers.

grey placeholderNetflix Promotional image from Netflix's Buying LondonNetflix

The agents sell properties in Mayfair and Chelsea as well as London’s neighbouring counties such as Hertfordshire

But Buying London is “tired, tone-deaf and shamefully crass”, according to the Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson.

“Watching it will work you up into a total rage,” she said in her zero-star review.

“I saw Selling Sunset as quaffable junk, the sort of telly that passes the time pleasantly. It is hard to feel the same about Buying London, because it is boring and infuriating, and neither are the garnishes I like on my trash.”

She added: “Obviously this will be widely watched, since gawping at rich people and their wallpaper might as well be a national sport.

“But aside from the politics, aside from the ostentatious, largely off-camera billionaires, as a reality TV show, it is tired.”

The Telegraph’s Anita Singh described the series as “artificial, vulgar, post-truth TV” in a two-star review.

Buying London “consists of phoney conversations, confected drama and lip filler”, she said, describing the series as “superficially fun, but ultimately soulless and artificial”.

“The people on screen aren’t reciting a script,” she noted. “They’ve just learned – through prolonged exposure to ‘scripted reality’ shows – to actually speak like this. They know what is required of them. The whole thing plays out like one long Instagram reel.”

grey placeholderNetflix Estate agents on Netflix's Buying LondonNetflix

There was another two-star review from Carol Midgley of the Times, who wrote: “I’m delighted to say it’s every bit as ghastly as you would hope.”

She added: “Prepare to be faintly appalled yet oddly transfixed. During a cost of living and housing crisis, is it crass and tin-eared to rub people’s noses in this grotesque, mind-boggling level of wealth? Of course it is! Horribly so.

“But people will watch it, because this is a penthouse peep show, and noses will be pressed fully to the window.”

However, the Evening Standard’s India Block was more enthusiastic.

“The audience is here for the gossip! The intrigue! The in-fighting! The drama!” she noted.

“Netflix has this formula nailed down and Buying London doesn’t deviate from the Selling Sunset beats.

“This is why reality TV is so popular. It elevates the everyday experience of having housemates, a family, a job, a crush, to epic proportions that look as dramatic on-screen as they feel inside.”

She added: “It’s trite to call London a character, but as backdrop she’s looking fabulous in the B-roll.”

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