Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby is about to hit our TV screens as a “celebrity” on Channel 7’s SAS Australia.
If you’re a little foggy with the details, let me remind you how Corby became “famous”, or rather, infamous.
In 2004, the then 28-year-old left Australia for a surfing holiday to Bali. Upon her arrival, Corby was arrested after customs officers at Bali’s Denpasar airport found 4.2 kgs of cannabis inside her bodyboard bag.
Seven months after her arrest in May 2005, she was found guilty of importing the narcotic into Indonesia. At the time, she was sentenced to 20 years in jail and fined $13,875.
After several reviews, Corby served nine years in total, gaining parole in February 2014 and on May 27, 2017, arrived back in Australia, 13 years after her conviction.
Now, three years on, the 43-year-old former beautician will be tested mentally and physically, while been taken through the Special Armed Services selection process on the show and her casting is somewhat polarising.
Alongside Corby is Nick Cummins, a former Rugby Player and star of The Bachelor, radio host and comedian Merrick Watts, publicist Roxy Jacenko and Ironwoman, Candice Warner, all of whom are household names in their prospective fields.
And then there’s Corby. A convicted drug smuggler.
Corby knows that’s what Australians think, and during the 95-second trailer for the show, she says: “I want to change my life.”
But, is a reality TV show the right move?
There has been plenty of speculation surrounding Corby’s next step with countless rumours over the past few years, however, now that it has been made official, there have been some mixed feelings.
Some reality TV fans have made their stance clear. A convicted drug smuggler should not be put on a pedestal and thrust amongst the ranks of other “celebrities” in our country.
*head desks* So apparently Schapelle Corby is going to be on a celebrity reality TV show… Is that what it takes to become a "celebrity" now? Smuggling drugs internationally and serving prison time in another country? What the fucking fuck?
— Caleb Fathers (@BeekayKitty) August 16, 2020
If 2020 is any worse, Schapelle Corby gets on a TV show! Why? #disgrace
— Drew Semmens (@drewie_5) August 15, 2020
Maybe they should be called “notorious” instead. It’s no secret that some of the names already released have had their fair share of negative press.
While certainly a polarising list, none have served a hefty prison sentence.
Channel 7 is smart. When the news of Corby was first circulated, she was the first name to be thrown out into the ring then after the announcement, everyone’s names except hers have been accompanied by titles of what they are known for. And then, within the first 30 seconds, Corby announces she is ready to change her life.
Already she has made steps to redemption, loving a peaceful existence with her family.
In an interview with 7 News in May 2020, Corby said: “I’m with Mum, I’m with family, I’ve updated, revised my book My Story, I’m in Queensland moving forward in life and I’m happy.”
She has also maintained her innocence all these years and it is true that those who have served their sentences should be given a second chance, right? But is a reality TV show the right way forward?
For one, the kids who view the show will be enthralled by the physical nature of the series and likely won’t have any idea who she is. To them, unless they’re told otherwise, she’ll just one of many adults, taking part in a challenge where others yell at them for fodder.
The SAS team on the show also “don’t care” who these people are or were. To them they’re just a number (although they’ll know exactly who she is).
Maybe the fact that she will live with this scarlet letter on her forehead for the rest of her life is punishment enough, and letting her prove herself in some way, is what will really give her redemption.
But no matter your opinion on the subject, having Corby on a show will make for some compelling viewing and frankly, we cannot wait.