UK 'Jersey Shore' Already a Hit

The British version of the MTV show debuts Tuesday to strong ratings and a storm of criticism; “whole new low,” says one critic.

LONDON - Naked surgically enhanced breasts, vomiting in the streets, acres of fake-tan and what one critic described as "a whole new low" for British television. Yes, it's Geordie Shore, the UK version of Jersey Shore, which rolled out on MTV Tuesday night.

The series, which follows a group of sexed-up twenty-somethings from Newcastle, provides a near-anthropological study of their mating, fighting and hot-tub antics that has horrified local residents.

"It was even worse than I thought it would be. Geordie and North East folk have been made a laughing stock of," one viewer posted on Facebook. But the show looks set to follow in the footsteps of similar series The Only Way Is Essex, Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Made in Chelsea by being a big hit with young British viewers.

MTV UK said Wednesday that the show's debut had scored its biggest audience in three years, pulling in 330,000 viewers - of whom 177,000 were 16-24s for the first night episode.

The audience numbers were a very strong showing for the digital channel, beating The Hills and making MTV the highest viewed non-terrestrial channel in pay homes in the 10 p.m. slot, beaten only by BBC1 and Channel 4.

The show’s Twitter tag (#GeordieShore) was listed as one of the most popular trending topics on the night in the UK & Ireland and featured in 0.25 percent of all Tweets.

But even a solid ratings performance has not endeared the show to TV critics.

"It was enough to make most Geordies want to distance themselves from Newcastle and to make the rest of us want to distance ourselves from humanity," wrote The Metro's Rachel Tarley.

"We truly have kissed goodbye to our standards, television viewers," she added.  "Geordie Shore was a whole new low."