There's Something About Miriam

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There's Something About Miriam
Created by
Presented byTim Vincent
StarringMiriam Rivera
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Original networkSky1
Original release22 February (2004-02-22) –
24 March 2004 (2004-03-24)

There's Something About Miriam was a reality television show filmed in 2003, created by British TV producer Remy Blumenfeld and Gavin Hay and originally aired in the United Kingdom on Sky1 in February 2004. Hosted by Tim Vincent, it featured six men wooing 21-year-old Mexican model Miriam Rivera without revealing that she was transgender until the final episode.

Production and filming[edit]

Remy Blumenfeld first saw Rivera participating in a girl band, after which he planned to cast her in a TV show.[1] The show was produced by the Brighter Pictures subsidiary of Endemol and was originally titled Find Me a Man.[2] Recruitment ads for contestants promised "the adventure of a lifetime" with a £10,000 prize for men aged 20 to 35 who "want it all" and are "fit and up for everything."[3] The contestants on the show were:[citation needed]

  • Mark Dimino, then 24, optician
  • Toby Green, then 23, student
  • Aron Lane, then 22, chef
  • Tom Rooke, then 23, lifeguard and ex-ski instructor
  • Scott Gibson, then 22, martial arts expert
  • Dominic Conway, then 28, Royal Marine

Brighter Pictures managing director Gavin Hay said "they had made a point of never referring to Miriam as a woman when getting the men to take part."[4]

Rivera said "Several of them wondered about me in the first few days. But as the series unfolded, I really thought that we got to like and know each other as friends and had a lot of fun."[5] In response to allegations that she revealed her big secret by lifting up her skirt she was quoted as saying "I would never lift my skirt up on national TV. My mother brought me up very well." On the version that aired, Rivera chose Rooke as the winner and then said in front of the assembled contestants:

I tried to be honest with all of you, not just some of you. Yes, I am from Mexico, I am a model, and I'm 21. But Tom, I really love spending time with you and kissing you. You see, I love men, and I love being a woman. But... shh, quiet everybody, please, quiet. But you see, Tom... I am not a woman. I was born as a man.[6]

Rooke initially accepted the prize money and the trip with Rivera on camera. Rooke later rejected the prize prior to airing and joined the other contestants in a lawsuit that sought to prevent the airing of the show.

Litigation and release[edit]

Following the completion of the show, it was scheduled to air in November 2003, but a lawsuit by the contestants delayed the airing.[7][8] They alleged conspiracy to commit sexual assault, defamation, breach of contract, and personal injury in the form of psychological and emotional damage.[9]

After the men settled for an undisclosed amount, the show premiered 22 February,[10] and the sixth and final episode aired 24 March 2004.[11]

The show was aired in Australia by Network Ten in May 2004, in Poland by TVN in January 2005, and in Argentina in 2005 on América TV. The show was picked up by Fox Reality for airing in the United States in April 2006, and was aired in October 2007.[12][13]


Responses from critics were generally unfavourable, calling it part of a trend in shows that exploit unwitting contestants.[14] A British reviewer noted, "The whole premise of There's Something About Miriam was not a celebration of transgender people's lives. It was designed to elicit horror from the winning contestant discovering that his dream date had a penis."[15] The show was also criticized by transgender groups, who feared a backlash of public opinion.[16] When the show aired in Australia, reviews were critical of both the premise and Rivera:

These guys were duped in more ways than one - while Miriam has a few unexpected bits in her package, she's notably deficient in others. It has become clear Miriam requires a personality implant. It must've been a challenge to find a transsexual pretty enough, mean enough and sufficiently attention-seeking to play this tawdry game, but what these producers found in Miriam is a sultry-looking dill prone to the cheesiest of clichés.[17]

Other British commentators contrasted Rivera with the positive response to Nadia Almada, a Portuguese-born transsexual woman who won Big Brother UK a few months later.[18] That show was also produced by Endemol.

However, the show garnered high ratings in the final episode (970,000 viewers—large viewership for Sky One),[19] and Rivera went on to become a guest on Big Brother Australia 2004.[20][21]

There's Something About Miriam was featured on the 2005 clip show "40 Greatest Pranks" on VH1 and was ranked #11 on the 20 to One episode "Hoaxes, Cheats and Liars".

When the show aired in the United States on the 2007 Transgender Day of Remembrance, trans author Julia Serano noted, "Programs like There's Something About Miriam not only reinforce the stereotype that trans people's birth sex is 'real' and our identified/lived sex is 'fake,' but they perpetuate the myth of deception and thus enable violence against us."[22]

Video artist Phil Collins featured contestant Mark Dimino in an installation on "people who believe their lives have been ruined by appearing on reality TV."[23][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Miriam Rivera, reality TV's first trans star, dies". 9 August 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  2. ^ Davies, Catriona (30 October 2003). "TV Suitors Shocked as Dream Girl Turns Out to Be a Man". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 5 January 2006.
  3. ^ "Transsexual Surprise Holds Up TV Show". Reuters. 30 October 2003. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ Deans, Jason (31 October 2003). "Reality Show Men Sue Sky Over Transsexual 'Trick'". The Guardian.
  5. ^ "Men 'Suspected' TV Transsexual". BBC News. 5 November 2003.
  6. ^ Miriam (24 March 2004). There's Something about Miriam. via Brighter Pictures/Sky One
  7. ^ Higham, Nick (4 November 2003). "Has reality TV gone too far?". BBC News.
  8. ^ Paulsen, Wade (4 November 2003). "UK reality show with Crying Game twist elicits lawsuit threat from duped men". Reality TV World.
  9. ^ Newton Dunn, Tom (1 November 2003). "She Ain't Arf Odd, Mum! Hero Tricked into TV Snog with Bloke". The Daily Mirror.[dead link]
  10. ^ Rogers, Steve (22 February 2004). "Lawsuit settled, Crying Game-like There's Something About Miriam premieres in UK". Reality TV World.
  11. ^ Jennifer Sym (28 March 2004). Transsexual Miriam Rejected by Reality Show Winner. The Scotsman
  12. ^ Rocchio, Christopher (25 July 2007). "Fox Reality to debut UK's There's Something About Miriam 31 October". Reality TV World.
  13. ^ Wilkes, Neil (3 April 2006). "Fox Reality picks up Miriam, Dragon's Den". Digital Spy.
  14. ^ Lane, Megan (9 December 2005). "The Joke's on You". BBC News.
  15. ^ Boynton, Petra (7 August 2004). "Real Life: My Mum Is My Dad" (PDF). BMJ. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2009.
  16. ^ "Reality TV Transsexual Speaks Out Against Complaints". GayLifeUK. 23 February 2004. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  17. ^ Enker, Debi (20 May 2004). "Reality Reaches New Low". The Age.
  18. ^ Smith, Dave (8 August 2004). "Sexual Healing". The Observer.
  19. ^ "Bye Bye Miriam". Sky1. Archived from the original on 9 June 2004.
  20. ^ Buttner, Claire (3 June 2004). "Miriam the BB Intruder".
  21. ^ Buttner, Claire (14 June 2004). "Merlin's Silent Protest". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  22. ^ Serano, Julia (19 November 2007). "There's Something About 'Deception'". Feministing.
  23. ^ Singh, Anita (23 November 2006). "TV 'Victims' in Turner Exhibit; Film-maker Reveals How Small Screen Ruined Their Lives". Liverpool Daily Post. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  24. ^ Odone, Cristina (30 September 2007). "It Takes Art, Not TV, to Show Us Reality". The Guardian.

External links[edit]