The Real Hustle

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The Real Hustle
Written byAlexis Conran
Paul Wilson
Directed byJon Richards
Adrian J. McDowall
Vaughan Dagnell
Presented byAlexis Conran
Paul Wilson
Jessica-Jane Clement
StarringJazz Lintott
Polly Parsons
Narrated byDean Lennox Kelly Series 1–2
Steven Jackson Series 3–5
Craig Kelly Series 6
Paul Nicholls Series 7
Tom Oldham Series 8–11
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series11
No. of episodes109 (list of episodes)
Running time29 minutes
Production companiesObjective Productions
Crook Productions
Original release
NetworkBBC Three
Release9 February 2006 (2006-02-09) –
30 March 2012 (2012-03-30)
It's Your Move
Don't Get Screwed
Fraud Squad TV

The Real Hustle is a BBC British television series created by Objective Productions, Alexis Conran and R. Paul Wilson for BBC Three. The show demonstrates confidence and magic tricks, distraction scams and proposition bets performed on members of the public by hosts Alexis Conran, Paul Wilson and Jessica-Jane Clement. From series 10, entitled "New Recruits", Jazz Lintott and Polly Parsons joined the hustlers.

Several episodes of the series state that all marks have been genuinely hoodwinked, and that any money lost is returned to them after filming. The BBC's website[1] states that "The marks featured in the show have no idea they are being scammed. They have either been set up by friends and family or think they are taking part in a different TV show."

Following the conclusion of series 11, presenter Alexis Conran tweeted that there were "no plans for season 12".[2]


The show began as a spin-off of the BBC show Hustle, owing to the original show's popularity. However, the series is now considered completely separate and the relationship between the shows is rarely mentioned. The Real Hustle is a factual entertainment series produced by Objective Productions for BBC Three. It features a team of hustlers—Alexis Conran, Paul Wilson and Jessica-Jane Clement—as they try out some notorious scams on members of the public, filmed with hidden cameras. The aim is to reveal how scams work so that the viewer can avoid being ripped off. The participants featured in The Real Hustle are claimed to have been either set up by their family and friends or believe that they are participating in another television programme. After they have been "hustled for real", any money or property taken during the hustle is returned to them and their consent for the item to be broadcast is obtained.


Examples of scams[edit]

  • A deposit is taken on a car multiple times from different people who turn up to buy it.
  • A computer keyboard is replaced with one containing a key logger and bank details are obtained
  • A skimmer device is placed on a cashpoint with a pinhole camera inside it, recording the information on the user's cards magnetic strip along with their PIN; the data is then put on the magnetic strip of an e-top up card[clarification needed] which is used to withdraw money from the victim's account
  • The black money scam at a market stall
  • A fake hollow cash point is installed on a busy street, in which one of the hustlers hides and records the information on the user's cards magnetic strip along with their PIN obtained from the user typing on the keypad.
  • Alex and Jess view a car which is for sale. They are given the opportunity to drive the Jaguar. During test driving the car with the owner, Jess who is pregnant, pretends to be in labour. Alex comforts Jess from the passenger side and strongly suggests to the car owner that he should get out of the car and make his way to the back seat to help Jess, which he does. However Alex immediately locks the car doors and takes off with the stolen car.
  • Paul and Alex hire a van and buy uniforms, a decal sticker for the van and other items to give the impression that they're custom agents. The scam heavily relies on the power of authority. They spot a van packed with alcohol from Calais and pretend to uphold the law by seizing all of the cases of alcohol, and even order the marks to put the alcohol from their car and into the van by themselves.

In Series 8, for the first time in the show's history, a mark was not fooled by the initial scam. The scam was not pulled by the usual hustlers, but by model Caprice Bourret in a section that features celebrities performing the scams. The scam was to switch genuine twenty-pound notes with fake ones, and then exchange those fake ones for genuine tens with a shop assistant. When Caprice asked for tens and fives, the shop assistant spotted the partly hidden genuine twenties and recognized that the others were fake, so she refused to exchange them. Presenter Jess, who was nearby should anything go wrong, rushed out of the shop to alert Alex and Paul, who quickly came into the shop and confiscated the money by pretending to be police officers.


In February 2011, it was reported that some of the "marks" in the programme were paid actors rather than innocent members of the public.[3][4] Following a BBC investigation, the BBC Trust concluded that although some segments may have misled viewers as to the context of participants' involvement, and that those episodes should not be broadcast again, there was no serious breach of broadcasting guidelines. Although some "marks" had previously worked as actors or extras, they had not been hired for this purpose, and the production company had recruited participants through websites "popular with people keen to appear on television".[5]

International versions[edit]


  1. ^ "The Real Hustle - About Real Hustle". BBC. 6 October 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  2. ^ "@alexisconran". Twitter. 8 April 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Real Hustle faking: Actors hired to pretend they are scammed". Daily Mirror. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  4. ^ Dan Sabbagh (20 February 2011). "The Real Hustle investigated over fake scam allegations | Media". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  5. ^ "The Real Hustle 'must be clearer'". BBC. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  6. ^ "International channels and production companies". Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  7. ^ "The Real Hustle Israel". Retrieved 23 March 2012.

External links[edit]