Britain’s Ugliest Models

Thursday 2 September, 10:00pm on Five

This documentary series explores the work of Ugly Models UK – a London-based agency that deals exclusively with character models. Narrated by Leslie Phillips, the series follows the bookers, photographers and models who make a living from unusual looks. This week, it is a case of little and large as the agency adds more ‘wee folk’ and ‘curvy kittens’ to its roster. Prince Albert goes for a new world record, and the cameras visit the New York offices of the Ugly empire. Run by former model Marc French, Ugly Models UK is one of the world’s oldest character modelling agencies. The company specialises in supplying unconventional models for use in advertising campaigns, magazine shoots, television shows and films all over the world. “We have every character you can think of – from fat to thin, large to small. I don’t think there’s anything we haven’t got,” says Marc. Having turned his back on regular beauty work, Marc focuses exclusively on the character market and now has over 1,000 models on his books. “I just love the concept,” he says. Ugly booking agent Coxy is at the Big Girls Paradise event in London, on the lookout for more ‘curvy kittens’ to sign to Ugly’s roster. There is always a demand for larger-sized models, and a contract with the agency can prove lucrative. The night out pays off, with several of the girls appearing at a casting later. However, how many will have the nerve to strip off their clothes and dance around the office for the chance of a contract? Meanwhile, company director Simon Rogers runs a tight ship at the Ugly offices in New York. Given the current economic climate, he is keen to see as many unusual-looking clients as possible to have the edge over his competitors. “It’s a savage environment out there and we need to fight back,” he says. Luckily for Simon, there is a deluge of ‘wee folk’ talent in the office. Always in high demand, little people can command large salaries. A group of five have learned that they will earn $1,000 each for a few hours of playing Munchkins at a private party. To celebrate the deal, Simon takes them out for coffee, where they reveal some interesting perspectives on their lives and loves.

Thursday 26 August, 10:00pm on Five

Beginning this week on Five is a brand new documentary series exploring the work of Ugly Models UK – a London-based agency that deals exclusively with character models. Narrated by Leslie Phillips, the series follows the bookers, photographers and models who make a living from unusual looks. In the opening instalment, company director Marc French strives to sign the world’s most-pierced woman, four-foot Graham takes to the skies for a bizarre magazine shoot and 150 models compete for the chance to appear on the front page of the agency’s new catalogue. Run by former model Marc French, Ugly Models UK is one of the world’s oldest character modelling agencies. The company specialises in supplying unconventional models for use in advertising campaigns, magazine shoots, television shows and films all over the world. “We have every character you can think of – from fat to thin, large to small. I don’t think there’s anything we haven’t got,” says Marc. Having turned his back on regular beauty work, Marc focuses exclusively on the character market and now has over 1,000 models on his books. “I just love the concept,” he says.For head booker Coxy, no two days at the office are ever the same. “You could be supplying dwarves for a porno film one minute and then you’ll be supplying a fat person to test bed springs,” he enthuses. Heading for the studio today are 150 Ugly models all vying for a spot on the front cover of the agency’s new catalogue – a gig that would guarantee extra work. Among the hopefuls is 78- year-old John, a green-faced pensioner who boasts some 235 piercings all over his body. Also known as Prince Albert, John was spotted by booker Lulu at Camden Market, and is now one of Ugly’s most successful faces. Despite having to snap John in all his pierced glory, photographer Michael would not swap his work for any other industry. “I’ll take this any day,” he says of his job. The latest signing on Ugly’s books is Arti, a fourfoot model who hopes to make a name for herself as one of the agency’s ‘Wee Folk’ – a department devoted to short people. Working as a model has given Arti a new confidence in her appearance. “I look at all the positives in life,” she says. “I’m unique and I think I am this way for a reason.” After just a couple of weeks on the books, Arti has already won her first major contract – a fashion shoot for a weekly women’s magazine.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1