© Channel 4
The title says it all. It was never going to be a balanced look at the regular fans of a band – the ones who go about their lives as quietly respectful fans, enjoying the music, reading the interviews and pining over the posters.
This was going to be a documentary that looked at the fringe – the fans for whom fantasy is as good as reality, who defend their idols with a degree of fanaticism that makes zealots look liberal and those who believe they are ‘One Direction’s Number One Fan’ – more so than all the others that claim the same thing.
During and after the programme, Twitter was aflame with outspoken declarations that the documentary has got it all wrong, that the fans are committed and not crazy. They demanded apologies, sometimes in the harshest of terms. However, these are the very fans who missed the point.
The documentary wasn’t about normal fans… It was always about the crazy ones.
The type of fan who launches and orchestrates a tirade of abuse against any girl linked to their precious boys; The one who threatened magazine staff with rape and death for suggesting that their idols are regular guys interested in regular guy things. They abuse photographers for taking less than perfect photographs. They send vile rhetoric in the direction of anyone who dare criticise the fan base or the band themselves.
Liam Payne may thank the fans for their support and commitment, but they can’t ignore the fervour that the fans bring to social media. It’s a form of mass hysteria that is justified by increasingly brash outrage… If this were happening in a public venue, the riot police would be turning up.
In between the securely explicit and violent tweets, there are the fans who just want to say they like the band, they wonder when the next track is being released and post photos of their bedroom wall. Sadly, they’re drowned out by the fans who are genuinely crazy for One Direction and, even worse, don’t realise it!