On the island of Hvar in Croatia’s Dalmatian islands, clinking champagne glasses and braying voices are ringing in the air.
For it is here where the well-heeled Made in Chelsea set are frittering away the summer of 2018.
And it is on the sun-drenched Dubovica Beach we find love’s young-ish dream, Jamie Laing and his girlfriend, Heloise Agostinelli (‘Ell’).
But is there trouble in paradise?
Don’t miss brand new Made In Chelsea Croatia. Next Monday 9pm 🎊 pic.twitter.com/GTUOJG3nur
— Made in Chelsea (@E4Chelsea) July 30, 2018
It’s Made in Chelsea, so that’s a given – and folks, we need to talk about Jamie…
Since he bounded onto our screens in Series 2, resident hedonist, Jamie Laing, has been the very bubbles in the MiC champagne. Fizzy, frothy, and always leaving a mess for lesser mortals to clear up.
However, having reached the advanced age of 29, Jamie seems keen to relinquish his party boy ways and to reinvent himself as an Ancient Relic.
No wonder he and his 19 year old girlfriend have very different ideas of what constitutes fun.
Ell suggests scuba diving. Jamie prefers “nice naps in the afternoon.” Ell wants to go hiking. And Jamie? Jamie has a sore hip.
— Made in Chelsea (@E4Chelsea) August 9, 2018
Perhaps in a future episode, Laing might consider an older woman as a romantic option – one who might appreciate more sedate pursuits – with the caveat that she shouldn’t be a day under 90 if he wants to maximise his chances of compatibility.
No wonder Ell keeps namedropping Miles Nazaire, the improbably handsome “young buck” who has been whispering french to her under Jamie’s suspicious gaze.
But we aren’t worried about Miles.
For Jamie seems more amused than annoyed by his rival. The young cub may need a swat if he gets out of line but, for now, weary lion Laing is content to doze in the sun, with one ear cocked for any signs of trouble…
Fortunately, the rest of the MiC crew still know how to have a good time. We find Harry Baron, his girlfriend, Melissa Tattam, and his best mate, Sam Thompson, swigging yet more champagne on a gleaming yacht.
The (reptilian, allegedly) Harry looks extremely pleased with himself – and flanked by his best mate and his loyal girlfriend, who can honestly blame him? Excitable pup Sam points at Harry and asks:
Are you ready for the best summer of your life?
If you are a Made in Chelsea novice, you might assume the answer is yes – but if you know your MiC, you’ll be fully aware that optimistic happy statements are a red flag, indicating entirely the opposite outcome.
So, we immediately realise that Harry Baron is about to have the worst summer of his life.
And if you’re a true MiC junkie, you’ll know that not only is Sam due some misery for daring to make such a positive statement in the first place, but the odds are good that his love interest, Sophie ‘Habbs’ Habboo, must also be punished.
And sure enough, we soon spot Habbs in an equally luxurious yacht with Tabitha and (edible, allegedly) Miles.
Naturally, Habbs throws caution to the wind and foolishly declares:
I’ve got a good feeling. A very good feeling.
We now know that Habbs, too, can only expect horrible things this summer.
This is possibly due to the small matter of not having had that conversation with Sam. You know, the one where you agree to be exclusive.
No matter how much (mouthwatering?) Miles urges her to talk to Sam, Habbs girlishly bats away his suggestions, but admits that despite not having seen each other for three weeks, she certainly isn’t getting with anyone else.
Harry broaches the very same topic with Sam and receives a typically ebullient response from the dangerously carefree Thompson:
No labels here, mate. The label gun is away!
With Sam feeling as a free as a bird and the wholesome Habbs’ unquestioning loyalty, what could possibly go wrong?
Nothing at all, according to Melissa…
Sleeping around is “just something you know not to do – out of love and respect,” says Melissa with the utter confidence of the utterly wrong.
Harry’s girlfriend is that rare being who still believes in decency, loyalty and character – all things that do not easily co-exist with too much leisure time and booze.
Her words are met with a resounding guilty silence.
No one does #Awks like MiC.
For Olivia Bentley, the cause of angst is more tangible. Last season (series 15) saw the free-spirited blonde repeatedly telling anyone who would listen how miserable she was with her boyfriend, Digby.
When chums Sam Thompson and Harry Baron became concerned for her welfare / desirous of a new topic of conversation, Olivia listened to their advice and broke up with him. She was congratulated and consoled. Vows of friendship were made. Olivia was made to understand that she would never walk alone. New chat was begun.
She then promptly reunited with Digby.
(To put this into perspective, if you’d cracked open a choc ice at the point of their break up, it wouldn’t have completely melted by the time they got back together.)
Sam took this very badly indeed. He’d just gone to the trouble of dying his hair pink to show his solidarity for his friend while she went through this difficult time.
To arrive at a party sporting a pink quiff only to learn that Olivia was happily suffering Digby’s attentions must have sent him over the edge.
But the hair does rather suggest he was already there.
When Olivia was not sufficiently grateful to Sam for his strawberry surprise and he was not sufficiently impressed by her definition of “break up,” posh voices were raised, with Olivia delivering the killer parting shot:
“You actually don’t have to be my mate anymore. Seriously, you don’t.” before hightailing it out of the party, with Digby in tow.
In Made in Chelsea: Croatia we scratch our heads in bewildered sympathy with Olivia as she and Digby try to work out why on earth it is that Sam has given her such a wide berth ever since.
It’s like a murder mystery.
Without the murder, obviously.
And without the mystery, obviously.
“I’ll be really sad if Sam honestly wants to throw our friendship away because of this.” says a baffled Olivia.
Yes, Sam is a contrary creature – but actually, he really is. For not only does he avoid Olivia, but he also takes the step of treating Habbs to a romantic date…on yet another boat…
And then, for no reason understood by man, woman or child, he voluntarily brings up the topic of fidelity:
Not that it matters…because it doesn’t…. at all…I don’t know why I’m asking actually – you didn’t get with anyone in Mykonos….did you?
Having cheerfully reassured Sam of her loyalty, the obvious question for Habbs to ask in return is if Sam got with anyone while he was away in Las Vegas.
A blinking Sam says that he did not…
Yet, when Sam later tells wise, old sage Jamie about the date, he swiftly confesses that he slept with someone himself…
“You fully lied to her,” says Jamie – who would perhaps advocate the more delicate art of semi-lying. “So, what are you going to do now?”
“Just keep lying,” says Sam, who can be applauded for his simplicity of approach if not in any other regard.
But with Harry Baron also being aware of Sam’s indiscretion, how long can it remain a secret?
— Made in Chelsea (@E4Chelsea) August 6, 2018
Perhaps now we can understand why the posher-than-thou Mark-Francis Vandelli and his queenly companion, Victoria Baker-Harber, rarely associate with the rest of the Chelsea crew.
We see the pair at the start of the episode; aloof, civilised, merciless:
“Are they there yet?” asks a studiedly disinterested Mark-Francis.
Victoria gingerly peers through her binoculars. “Yes,” she declares, entirely without excitement.
“How ghastly,” shudders Mark-Francis.
Don’t you believe a word of it. Like us, I suspect the pair are secretly delighted that the circus is back in town. Even a King and Queen need court jesters to keep them entertained…
But will Sam and Olivia hug it out? And are you convinced by Jamie’s “older gentleman” reinvention? Should Sam come clean with Habbs? Is it time for another choc ice? And do look out for a very special appearance by Ollie Locke’s bottom…
— Made in Chelsea (@E4Chelsea) August 4, 2018
Made in Chelsea: Croatia continues next Monday at 9pm on E4.