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Whatever Happened to Gareth Gates? (2006)



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Credited cast:
Lynn Alleway ...
Narrator (voice)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Gareth Gates ...
Suzanne Mole ...


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Release Date:

23 December 2006 (UK)  »

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Good for fans I suppose but for the majority it is a jumbled curio that mostly comes over as marketing rather than a documentary
30 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

Gareth Gates shot to fame despite coming runner-up in Pop Idol to Will Young. Sell out tours, number one singles and screaming fans followed but it was not long before the media was revelling in his drunken nights out. His second album flopping and revelations about an affair with glamour girl Katie Price (aka Jordan) pretty much spelt the end of his run of hits. Two years later, at the tender age of 22, Gates is prepared for a comeback and documentary maker Lynn Alleway is invited to spend time with him to catch up.

The risk with a title like this is that the answer is "who cares?" but despite this I decided to give this a try. What I found was a strange film that varied wildly from moments of awkward honesty to moments where it seems as stage managed as a Broadway production. It is strange and not wholly successful as a result. The overuse of Pop Idol clips and the "candid" shots where Gareth is talking about the shot he just did – few of which come off as natural and most of them feel and look like they were setup and rehearsed.

As a result of this early on I started to tire of the film but here and there it did throw up moments that seemed natural. Watching him fuss over wearing a hat and struggling to talk about Jordan are moments where I did feel like the film was getting somewhere with its own agenda and they helped hold my attention to the end. Sadly though, these moments are rather dominated by the feeling that the film is being steered by something other than journalistic interest and too much of it feels like a part of his comeback marketing strategy. I say this because the film seems to go out of its way to present him as this sweet ordinary guy who is honest and vulnerable – coincidentally the image that made his name before the opposite image broke it.

So I'm not sure about it I guess is what I'm saying. Parts of it hit home as feeling genuine but too much of it is clips and promotion of brand Gareth and too little gets into his character. It was made worse perhaps by me just having watched a Lousi Theroux film because his style only served to further highlight how accommodating and bland director Alleway was in her investigation in similar circumstances. Those keen to get in on Gareth's supposed comeback will enjoy this film but for the rest of us it will be a jumbled curio that mostly comes over as marketing rather than a documentary.

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