The Beauty of the Game


Reviewed by: sukting

December 24, 2010

Rating: four

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
Setting out on their quest for fame and fortune, three TV stars of different backgrounds are determined to achieve their dreams at any price. But after so many ups and downs in their acting careers, they finally come to discover the meaning of true beauty. The three actresses struggle to become the most popular. Who will come out on top? It is a contemporary drama focusing on recreational drug use and the negative issues surrounding Hong Kong's entertainment circle.

Story/Introduction on Characters – with Hong Kong viewers’ guesses in brackets translated from newspapers and websites

1. Ko Ching-man – Tsui Chi Shan
She is nicknamed Ko Ching, meaning high definition. She is the 20-year-old daughter of restaurant owner Kai-cheung and retired television actress Lai-hung. Ko Ching wishes to become a celebrity but Lai-hung is against the idea. She argues that Ko Ching's vain, materialistic, thinking too highly of herself, frank and stubborn personality is unsuitable for a career in the entertainment industry. Ko Ching will not listen to her.

Ko Ching befriends make-up artist Kit Leung, who encourages her to join the "Perfect True Woman" beauty pageant so she can fulfill her dream of becoming a star. She introduces her to a lipstick and submits her name for the competition. Ko Ching surprisingly wins the crown and signs a television artiste contract with New Star Television (NSTV). She believes others too easily. Although she often quarrels with Lai-hung, she inherits her loyalty character from her.

The restaurant’s employees also guide her in her acting. She initally worships Chin-fung upon seeing how well she acts but later learns about Lai-hung’s limping plight caused by her, she views her as her enemy and sets herself against her. When knowing that she isn’t totally held responsible, she stops attacking her.

Ko Ching improves in her acting and Chin-fung admires her. Both become sworn sisters and she moves in to stay with her. Chin-fung influences her to behave exactly like her. She fights for her career and also Dik-kan with Hor Yee. She doesn’t like Dik-kan that much then but has a tattoo on her neck to indicate that she loves him. Her family’s relationshp with her is also affected when her parents dislike her to be so vindictive.

Ko Ching wants Lai-hung to shoot ‘Empress Dowager and Concubine Chun’ with her and Chin-fung. This will deal with Hor-yee’s version a hard blow then. Yet, Lai-hung is undeterred after her personal request and even in front of the television crew. Lai-hung has already learned from Kit Yu how she has made used of Kwok-fan. Ko Ching has treasured her friendship with Kit Yu to keep the lipstick. But she returns it to her, depciting that their freindship has ended.

Ko Ching discovers that Chin-fung has wanted to control her with drugs. She pretends to eat to be under her control to sway to loud music in her room so that she will not become suspicious of her to overhear her conversation with Kai-hung. She even urges Chin-fung to eat with her once to spite back. Chin-fung has to do it to gain her trust. That affects her performance the next day.

As Ko Ching becomes more and more scheming, she no longer trusts anyone and thinks everyone has betrayed her. Everyone is shocked by Ko-Ching's sudden change in personality. Chin-fung’s photos of fighting with Yau-lan, See-wai and Chung-tai are taken by Kwok-fan and Ko Ching. Lai-hung has wanted Ko Ching to destroy the photos but this is done at the expense of disregarding Dik-kan as her boyfriend.

Even though Kwok-fan has passed the photos to Bak-yip, Bak-yip helps Chin-fung to destroy the CD as she is bribed by him. However, she is still a step too late as Ko Ching releases them to other reporters. Dik-kan is hurt and breaks up with her. This ruins Chin-fung’s career and NSTV starts to groom Ko Ching instead, reducing Chin-fung’s parts. When reporters come to ask her about Chin-fung, she deliberately tells them that she trusts her but she isn’t as good as she appears.

Seeing that Ko Ching is gaining success, Chin-fung sends a man to disfigure her. She can’t be cured and has wanted to leave the entertainment circle. Now she can act well only after the ordeal but she doubts the viewers will give her a chance. Luckily, Lai-hung and Dik-kan do not forsake her. Kit Yu also gives her confidence to act well so that the viewers will not look at her scars. She is finally recognised as a credible actress in the end after acting in ‘Female Drug Addict’ and it becomes the most popular drama.

Many have said that Chi Shan did not act well – I feel so too. Her acting is shallow for some scenes and looks very arrogant in many angles. Even though Ko Ching is said to be like this, but I have this feeling right from the start. I must comment that she is successful in making Ko Ching very unlikeable in the end.

(Chi Shan herself – she is Miss Hong Kong and gets into the industry through the win. It was rumoured that she wanted the spotlight on herself during filming this drama and others to fit her breaks. She only talked to actors and not actresses offset. Thus, many did not get along well with her.

Yip Suen – she is Miss Chinese International. In the past, she was well received by viewers. Recently, she is often associated with the rich and becomes unpopular to quarrel with different television actresses in filming dramas. Recently, she earns more by shooting movies but her popularity and fame has dipped.

Kwok Sin Nee - she is also Miss Chinese International. However, she does not manage to get into A list after so many years. Her unsuccessful romances with some men also cause her career to get affected.

Yip Chui Chui - she is Miss Hong Kong but many question if she has done plastic surgery before. She is easily forgettable although she acts in dramas and hosts programmes till she became Zhao Wei’s present husband’s ex-girlfriend.)

2. Keung Chin-fung – Ng Wing Mei
She is NSTV's 37 year old award-winning best actress for 3 consective years. Orphaned as a child, Chin-fung has no family nor friends, and only has her assistants to confide to. She is proud and doesn’t leave room for others. She knows how to make use of people around her. For many years, she is overshadowed and bullied by Lai-hung. She seeks to replace her and urges Dang to do something to injure Lai-hung.

Lai-hung unexpectedly retires from the acting industry as this injury causes her to limp forever. Chin-fung's popularity soared, becoming the A-list actress. Through her schemes and network, she remains influentialal these years, receiving many acting and modeling opportunities. She will never allow people to replace her. Just a sentence from her, she can cause Ko Ching and Hor-yee’s parts to be reduced.

Chin-fung pretends to be nice to Lai-hung to introduce a doctor to her but in reality, imitates how Lai-hung walks in the final episode of her lawyer drama. Tang is mad that Chin-fung makes use of him and quarrels with her but she still doesn’t feel that she is wrong. Lai-hung has slapped her continuously too in the past and this is fair. Upon seeing Ko Ching improves a lot under Lai-hung’s guidance, Chin-fung deliberately gets Ching–on to reshoot them.

It seems that she is helpful towards Ko Ching to teach her whatever she knows and helps her to get chances in acting. In reality, she notices how much she has improved under Lai-hung’s guidance and feels threatened. Worrying that she will be replaced, she creates discord between Ko Ching and Hor Yee. When both fall out, she can concentrate to deal with Ko Ching alone.

She begins to take Ko Ching under her wing, slowly planning to bring her into a moral downfall. Chi-Fung begins tempting Ko-Ching with drugs and money. She urges her to buy high risk shares. Both tactics fail when she throws out after taking the drugs and she is unwell when signing the contract with the loan firm. Ko-Ching realizes Chi-Fung is just pretending to be her friend, just like Hor-yee.

Ko Ching finds out that Chin-fung’s boyfriend and Chung-tai’s birthday fall on the same day so she gets to know their affair. Chin-fung instigates See-wai to date Yau-lan on that day so that she will miss celebrating with him. The two pairs meet at the harbour and come to blows as Kwok-fan hides aside with Ko Ching to take the photos.

Because of her affair with Chung-tai being exposed, Ko Ching replaces her as the model. Age is catching up with her. She demands Kai-hung to get botex for her. But there is an overdose – her eyelid starts dropping and her nose is crooked. The plastic surgery she has in the past shows side effects now. Chung-tai gets tired with her and prefers Yin-chi. When confronting the two, she accidentally falls down the stairs and breaks her leg. The public sympathsize with her over this issue, though.

She uses this excuse to seek treatment in Korea. she doesn’t want to lose everything and causes Ko Ching to be disfigured. Chin-fung becomes the new spokesman for Sakura beauty products after bribing their manager when she is back. Her second plastic surgery is successful but she looks like a manniquin to Dik-kan, Hor-yee and Ko Ching. They can see that her expressions are hardened now.

She has used her entire fortune for this chance and to star in the new dancing drama ‘Love Sakura’. She is surprised that Ko Ching can still make a comeback and both vie for best actress award. Chung Tai can’t get a job at the television station after his CEO retrenchment over his fight with Yin-chi’s new flame on the street. Chin-fung sneers at him for being incompetent and he tells her that she is losing the best actress award to Ko Ching. That makes her nearly go mad when imagining Ko Ching to be the winner.

Not wanting to lose to Ko Ching, she forces her to a corner at the station’s rooftop and admits her wrong-doings. She falls off and breaks her spine. She can’t move her whole body and can only blink. She is in tears when Chin-fung and Lai-fung visit her. The ironical part is Chin-fung is actually the winner but she has to end her career with her own hands.

She is fabulous!!! See how she acts and dances – she is a born natural. Her acting is brilliant as the double-faced person. Her Chin-fung is arrogant and has airs. Although Wing Mei doesn’t win the TVB best actress award, she is the ‘best actress’ that I have in mind.

(Wong Ming Kuen – her airs is seond to none to have high expectations of others too.

Cheng Yuk Ling - many described her as Hong Kong’s MJ. They suspected she did too extensively on the surgery till her neck skin peeled and her nose scarred. Her nose bridge seemed to have the danger of falling.

Yeung Sau Wai – the sides of her face are uneven – some suspected her of using botox.

Yung Cho Yee – when she first started out, she gained the attention of a female boss who owns a cosmetic company. She became her spokesman and reporters published photos of the two holding hands together in Japan, rumouring that they were a couple.)

3. Tong Hor-yee – Chan Mun Chi
She is NSTV's 23 year old young rising actress. Hor-yee grows up in Canada so her Chinese command is weak. (Many have said that this resembled Liu Bik Yee, Chung Kar Yan and Chan Wai Shan) .She needs to add phonics to the script to understand it. She is very sociable and hits off well with Ko Ching as buddies. In reality, she is very alert and is aware that she has to make connections.

Her father’s business fails and goes into bankrupcy. Hor-yee returns to Hong Kong and enters the entertainment industry in order to earn enough money to clear the debts. Yet, she borrows many loans to buy a sports car in order to appear rich in front of her colleagues and the media. She pleads with Ko Ching to keep it a secret from others. She knows that See-wai likes her and gets him to increase her popularity. He gets her to partner as his screen lover.

However, she is only making use of him as she is now Dik-kan’s girlfriend. Hor-yee sees that Chin-fung bullies Ko Ching and supports her decision. Both go on strike but when Chin-fung reminds Hor-yee of the consequences, she returns to work and Ko Ching feels betrayed. When learning that she is going to act with Ko Ching in a movie, Hor-yee tries to jepardise her chances by getting the station to arrange more work for Ko Ching. She wants to eliminate Ko Ching's part so that she will be the main star. Chin-fung gets to know about it and helps Ko Ching.

Ko Ching falls out with Hor-yee and Dik-kan gets mad on knowing her true colours and how she keeps her home background from him. He also can’t accept her from framing her own mother as a gambler. Chi-Fung exposes Hor-yee’s lies and reveals the truth behind her supposed wealth to the media after knowing from Ko Ching. Hor-yee’s image is tarnished and she gets her mother to pretend to be an impulsive gambler to gain sympathy. Chi-Fung sees this as an opportunity to eliminate two rising stars.

Ko Ching and Hor-yee later act in another movie together – as onscreen friends. The two already start quarreling over beds in the same hotel room. They try to outdo each other and Dik-kan has to change the script – to turn them to enemies as they waste his time in shooting for a few days. He also loses his temper but Ko Ching manages to appease him. Wai-po influences Hor-yee to take drugs as she is down

She takes such huge doses that she has to wear adult diapers as she can’t control herself. Because of money, she joins CSTV to shoot ‘Empress Dowager and Concubine Chun’ with Kar Lam – it has 30 episodes. Chin-fung and Ko Ching also shoot this but at 60 episodes but they can’t rush it. Ko Ching is mad when Hor-yee, the opportunist – appears late and also uses this chance to promote her drama.

Hor-yee’s version proves to be the loser as the ratings are old and viewers complain that they see Song Dynasty objects in the drama. CSTV then comes up with an event – choosing the concubine in modern day. The so-said concubines have to wear bikinis to appear in public. Hor-yee resists against it initially as she needs to relieve herself. But the reporters are busy taking photos of her and disallow her to go into the pool.

She ends up wetting herself and fainting in public. Her reputation is totally ruined. She can’t stop her urge for drugs although her parents try hard to help her. She tries to kill herself but luckily, the disfigured Ko Ching rescues her. Her mother’s death wakes her up and she goes into rehab to get cured. She makes a comeback as a supporting role in ‘Female Drug Addict’. Ko Ching and Hor-yee keep pushing Dik-kan to each other as the boyfriend. Dik-kan chooses Hor Yee to be together in the end. Mun Chi has improved a lot in her acting but still needs to work on a bit more on crying scenes.

(Wai See – she was arrested in Japan for having drugs. Her boyfriend was also the supplier. She was locked up for a month for rehab and her boss, Lai Ming terminated her contract. Her future was ruined due to this.

Lam Kit Ying – she became mentally unstable after her father’s death. She is in and out of the mental instituion frequently. She often behaves strangely in public, talking to herself and dancing wildly.

Chan Bo Lin – she was a famous drug addict and fell to her death, after giving birth to a son in 2002.)

4. Chong Dik-kan – Lai Lok Yi
He is the 24-year-old son of 'Perfection Beauty Products' CEO Chong Chung-tai and 'Sabrina' GM Lam Yau-lan. Dik-kan is educated in the U.S. to study film and media. He becomes a production assistant for NSTV and later promotes to director. He initially keeps his family background a secret, wanting to achieve success through his own hard work instead of through his parents' connections.

Dik-kan is serious at work and is very observant. He is initally peeved with Ko Ching’s sloppy attitude. Ko Ching finally apprecaiet his talents upon seeing him very constructive in ideas. Both finally get along well. Ching-on admires his talents and makes him the director. Hor-yee woos him aftrer knowing his status. He also likes her direct character but later, he finds her very scheming and only making use of him.

Hor-yee keeps on turning up late in shooting his drama as she shoots a movie at the same time. Getting furious, he gets another actress to replace her. Ko Ching and Chin-fung hold a celebration for being sworn sisters. That is the same day when Hor-yee’s movie is having a premiere. Hor-yee is unhappy that he disregards her.

She is too complicated while he is too simple. Seeing that Hor-yee still needs Sabrina’s endorsement, he is silent over the breakup. But seeing that she starts to use Yau-lan as a shield, he reveal the truth. Ko Ching starts to be with Ko Ching when Ko Ching takes the intiative -she wants to ruin all chances of Hor-yee to get together with Dik-kan. Ko Ching does this under Chin-fung’s influence.

He is devastated when realising that his own family isn’t as perfect as it looks. He deems Chin-fung as his enemy. Chin-fung records her conversation with Ko Ching and he realises that he is being deceived. Why will Chin-fung prefers to be a mistress for 15 years? She has not wanted to break up his family.

He gives the women encouragement at their lowest moments and cause them to be friends again. Hor-yee injures her hand when getting the bouquet from Kit Yu at her wedding. He gets medicine for her. He knows clearly that he loves Hor-yee and both are together again. Lok Yi often gets these goody roles which do not require much acting. It can be boring after a while.

5. Tong Wai-po – Wong Cheung Hing
He is NSTV's young rising 25 year old lead actor who is born overseas. He tries a career in modeling. His handsome looks causes him to be the center of attention with all sorts of rumors, including his own sexuality. He is the lead actor in many dramas and movies – especially in dramas that involve the three actresses. He is very close to his senior then but later he finds himself falling for Hor-yee. He is a drug addict himself and provides drugs to many. But he is very careful not to have any overdose so he can control himself in public.

Fong Guai is also his provider. He tries wooing Hor-yee but fails even after she breaks up with Dik-kan. When shooting the movie with Hor-yee, he suddenly kisses her in front of Dik-kan who is the director. But Dik-kan sees through Hor-yee’s ploy to make him jealous yet he is neutral now. Ko Ching deliberately gets close to Dik-kan to make Hor-yee jealous instead. Hor-yee ends up being with Wai-po after taking drugs.

He doesn’t want her to get too involved in drugs but she will not listen to him. He starts regretting his act and when Hor-yee’s career is ruined, he provides them a roof to stay away from reporters to reduce his guilt. Hor-yee is moved but he doesn’t want a drug addict as his girlfriend to ruin his own career. After her discharge, Hor-yee tries getting him to kick his habit but he will not listen to her. He is arrested during the drug party raid and will be jailed. It is then he regrets his action when Hor-yee visits him.

Cheung Hing really puts in his heart and soul into the role. The first episode of Wai-po hiding from Kwok-fan in the hospital is wacky indeed. However, it is surprising that Wai-po changes so fast. Is he a bisexual?

6. Yuen Kwok-fan – Wong Cho Lam
He is nicknamed Doggie Fan and is a paparazzi reporter from《查》agency . He is only 24 years old but he has plenty of ideas. He is very eloquent and alert. He is very ruthless at work – he looks money-minded but actually looks for true love. He is the top paparazzi reporter for sniffing news. Bing is constantly at loggerheads with him.

Kwok-fan initially dislikes Ko Ching who ruins his chances to find out Wai-po’s homosexuality. Ko Ching has always been sabotaging his stalking missions and even breaks his nose. He unknowingly develops a crush on her and pursues her, despite being rejected many times. He threatens to expose photos of Hor-yee and Dik-kan being a pair so Ko Ching has no choice but to have tea with him at the egg tart shop.

It happens too fast and unexplained why Kwok-fan suddenly likes Ko Ching. Kwok-fan dates Ko Ching again at the harbour, preparing a meal for her. She dances with him but later throws him into the sea. He also gives Ko Ching a funny couplet as a present for her being Chin-fung’s sworn sister. Kwok-fan is mad when knowing that Ko Ching and Dik-kan are dating. Ko Ching agrees to be his reserve girlfriend if he follows Hor-yee.

Kit Yu nurses his broken heart and he falls for her later. To prove that he is serious about her, he intends to quit his job. Upon knowing that Wai-po intends to have a drug party, he changes his mind to go undercover. Although he fails to make it as the headline as See-wai informs the police before him, he wins recognition from all. Cho Lam has gone over the top for many scenes. But we must still give credit to his witty dialogues that can make you laugh non-stop. You will also feel like hitting Kwok-fan who has such a poison tongue.

7. Wan See-wai – Cho Wing Lam
He is a well-known NSTV 30 year old television actor and feels the pressure when Wai-po starts to overtake him. He thinks that he is handsome so all women should fall for him. He is sociable and knows how to pamper himself. He wants the best for himself and has high expectations for himself.

He owns a private night club called Sawasdee Club. He first falls for Kar-lam and both have intimate moments with one another. Her husband breaks in due to Kwok-fan’s information and causes his career to put to a halt. He later falls for Yau-lan as believes in Chin-fung in ruining Yau-lan’s marriage.

Fong-guai becomes a shareholder for his club but See-wai is astonished to see Bo-yee and Wai-po eating drugs. Fong-guai tells him off so he has to bear with it. Something is just very wrong for this man to love other men’s wives as he is later taken out from dramas to become the second fiddle from then on.

The club later becomes the place for drug addicts and he decides to put it to a stop to be away from Fong Guai’s control. He shows remorse and combines with Yau-lan in doing business. They are no more than friends now. For goodness sake, can TVB stop pairing him with older actresses? This is so unbearable for so many of us.

8. Ling Kit-yu - Lo Mun Chong
She is Ko Ching’s good friend and is a 24 year old make-up consultant. She allows her to stay in her home when she is stalked by Kwok-fan. She is righteous and believes that there are only lazy women in this world as everyone is beautiful. She stays at Kwok-fan’s home when her home is burned and her leg is injured. She helps Ko Ching a lot in deleting the untrue photos and is often at loggerheads with Kwok-fan.

Upon seeing how nasty Ko Ching has changed, she tells Kwok-fan not to get deceived by her anymore. When Ko Ching is chased out by her family and comes to Kit-yu for comfort, she meets her and witnesses how she is disfigured. Kit-yu helps her to adapt to the change. She later marries him after Kwok-fan clarifies that he is not treating her as a spare tyre.

10. Cheung Lai-hung – Yuen King Dan
She is a retired television actress who was once a popular kung fu action star. Due to a filming accident, she injures her leg and becomes crippled. This forces her to retire from the entertainment industry. With the help of Kai-cheung, her husband, she opens up a small family restaurant and hires her past acting colleagues to be her servers.

Lai-hung knows that the life of a celebrity is not what it seems, and tries to protect her daughter from the harsh reality. The other employees in her restaurant also know the harsh ways of acting and disapprove Ko Ching of entering showbuzz then.

Lai-hung is even sarcastic to say that Ko Ching is lousy when being interviewed ‘live’. Thus, Ko Ching spites back at her but thanking her insults on television after winning the beauty crown. But acting is in her blood. When watching ‘Empress Wu’ by Chin-fung during late nights, she imagines to be her.

She loves acting but has to give it up. When she condemns Tang, the others remind her how arrogant she is in the past to treat Chin-fung and Tang shabbily. She then realises that she is also at fault when recalling that she is a difficult person too.

She knows that Ko Ching is inexperienced but can’t take her out of her. Knowing that Ko Ching is unhappy to be seen as a lesbian when she stays at Kit Yu’s home from reporters, she has to agree to an inclusive interview so that they can let her off. Chin-fung makes use of the chance to introduce a doctor to her to remove the tumour in her knee. She is angered upon knowing that Chin-fung causes her abrupt stop in acting. She questions Chin-fung’s motive to be Ko Ching’s sworn sister but turns up for their celebration.

Seeing Chin-fung's influence, Lai-Hung begins to see a dramatic change in her daughter's character. But she is helpless against it. She supports a disfigured Ko Ching in her comeback to act as a supporting role as the addict’s mother. This brings tears to Hoir-yee’s mother when reminded of her own dead mother. She treats her like her daughter and later wins the best supporting actress role.

11. To Tang – Mak Cheung Ching
He is once an action choreographer, and also once in a relationship with Chin-fung. There is once when Chin-fung is humiliated by Lai-hung and is drunk to tell him to injure Lai-hung with any means. Tang obeys her, wishing to make her sprain her ankle but doesn’t realise that this causes her to be limping forever. Actually, Tang has not wanted to do this but Chin-fung forces him to do so.

After Chin-fung rises to fame, she heartlessly breaks up with him. He is now a stunt double for various actors and now 40 years old. He has never forgotten her although he is now married. He feels guilty upon seeing Lai-hung limping as Chin-fung has urged him to remove the crates during the action scenes. He is the one who requests Chin-fung to get a doctor for Lai-hung. He takes good care of Ko Ching upon knowing that she is Lai –hung’s daughter. Ko Ching questions his motive and later discovers why.

He takes the whole responsibility of being sued by Lai-hung. Lai-hung reflects her action in the past and forgives him. His sentence is reduced to 1 year’s imprisonment. After his release, he learns of Chung Tai ditching Chin-fung and hopes that she will accept him. Chin-fung is still money-minded and rejects him. Moreover, she has lost interest in married man. This breaks his wife’s heart instead.

12. Lam Yau-lan – Lam Hueng Kei
She is a strong business woman as the general manager of fashion brand Sabina. She has known of Chung-tai’s infidelity all along and closes one day. She has hoped that Dik-kan will help her in her career but he prefers to work in the television station. Dik-kan alerts her upon seeing his father and Chun-fung walking into a house. It is only then she discovers that she is his mistress but she still keeps it from Dik-kan.

She demands Chung-tai to get the house to be under her name instead of Chin-fung’s. She also makes Chin-fung as her driver to send her off as she doesn’t drive there. She wants to remind her her status of being the lawful wife. She later gives up all hopes on Chung-tai to get a divorce to focus on her career.

13. Ko Kai-cheung – Lok Ying Kwan
He is Ko Ching’s father. Unlike Lai-hung who is strict, he is very lenient. He bears with all her disrespectful and evil ways. He can’t stand it anymore when she shows no remorse for breaking up Dik Ken’s family. He gives her a slap and drives her away. He supports her in whatever she does and is consoled when she is finally sensible.

14. Chong Chung-tai – Yu Yang
He has a happy family but he doesn’t know how to treasure it. He is capable and conceals his evil character. He dotes on Dik-kan but is cold to his wife. They still pretend to be a perfect couple in public. He is the CEO of Perfect Beauty Products, who has been using Chin-fung as a regular model and spokesperson for 15 years. in reality, she has been his mistress all along.

When age is catching up with her, he dumps her to be with Yin-chi, a young star instead. He divorces Yau-lan to be with Yin-chi. But it is Yin-chi who finds him too old instead to go out with a younger guy.

15. Kan Bo Yee – Leung Ching Juet
She joins the same beauty pageant as Ko Ching, also winning the same artiste contract to become a celebrity. Unfortunately for her, she does not receive the same popularity and acting opportunities as Ko Ching. She works through schemes to get herself noticed by the media but still fails. She even wants to use her looks to seduce Kwok-fan and he has to get Kit Yu to save him.

Wai-po introduces her to drugs and she becomes badly addicted to it. She faints by the roadside and Kwok-fan takes pity on her to send her to the hospital. She still doesn’t reflect her action and creates a scene at Ko Ching’s movie premiere. The police discovers that she has drugs on her and this costs her her contract. In the end, she becomes a hooker to make ends meet but never kicks the habit.

16. Hung Kar-lam – Chen Wing Yin
She is the only actress that can threaten Chin-fung’s position. Both often act in the same dramas and also vie for the best actress award. To outsmart her, Chin-fung conspires with the director to get the script beforehand to memorize her lines for a law drama. Kwok-fan trails her to discover that Si-wai is her lover. That causes her marriage to break up and she flees from Hong Kong.

When she returns, she joins the rival station, CSTV. She acts the same role as Chin-fung as the empress dowager. But their ratings fall behind NSTV. Her attempted comeback prove to be futile.

17. Leung Ching-on – Wong Chi Hin
He is a respectable television director and producer. He is Chin-fung’s good friend but gives chances for all to display their potential. They are a unbeatable pair in producing high rating dramas. He doesn’t like Chin-fung overpowering other young actresses and urges her to stop.

He knows that their friendship is affected. Luckily, he sees some hope in Dik-kan. His earnest is like the young him. Thus, he promotes him within the shortest time. He knows that Chin-fung is at loggerheads with Ko Ching after the slapping incident so that he gets his assistant not to arrange both to act in the same scene for 10 days. Otherwise, this disrupts the filming.

Although mad with Hor-yee’s betrayal to deflect to the rival station, he still keeps his cool to continue his work. He gives chances for Hor-yee and Ko Ching to return after their ordeals and both are grateful to him.

18. Chiu Kai-hung – Kwok Fung
He is the head of the make-up department. He is also Chin-fung's make-up artist to supply her botox when necessary. He helps to promote ‘Perfect Beauty’ products to gain profits. When Chin-fung fears of growing old, he encourages her to go for plastic surgery. He hires an attacker to disfigure Ko Ching. He then intends to give the attacker a smaller amount of Chin-fung’s money, wanting to use the rest to pay for his stock debts. Chin-fung knows that he betrays her and accidentally kills him with her car.

19. Lam King-ying – Ma Hoi Lun
She is Lai-hung’s cousin who has worked as her assitant in the past. Finding her attitutude unbearable to throw money at her, she works for Chin-fung after Lai-hung fires her. She is very faithful to Chin-fung and stands up for her. Upon finding drugs in her closet, she becomes concerned. She has thought that she is addicted to them. Lai-hung pleads with her to take care of Ko Ching when she stays with them.

She says no but still makes a look out. She is shocked upon knowing that Chung-tai is Chin-fung’s lover and Chin-fung intends to harm Ko Ching with the drugs. Chin-fung fires her and she works in Lai-hung’s restaurant. Even so, she is still concerned about her. After Chin-fung’s mishap, she still visits her.

20. Chow Yin-chi - Wong Yin Yan
She acts as Ko Ching’s role – Concubine Chun’s palace maid. Ko Ching shows her the ropes to acting and how to seduce Chung-tai after she replaces Chin-fung to become the spokesman for Perfection Beauty Products. She is mad when Chin-fung gets her to act the younger her in ‘Beautiful Sakura’. Chin-fung keeps asking her to have n.g.s and she storms away.

She gets to know another rich and nice guy on the street and ditches Chung-tai, finding him too old. She starts to pick on Ko Ching as they shoot ‘Female drug addict’. Ko Ching bears with her as she reminds her of the old her in the past. Seeing that she goes away, Dik-kan chooses Hor-yee to replace her.

21. Yeung Bak-yip – Yang Ying Wai
He is the boss of 《查》agency. He is Kwok-fan’s boss and loves new scoop. Chin-fung bribes him so he only covers favourable reports on her. But as his agency keeps digging ugly news and becomes a target of attack after the drug saga, he has to close it for good.

22. Yau Tak-kwong – Sin King Ying
He is Kwok-fan’s uncle and is also a tabloid writer. He also works with him in the agency. But he isn’t as smart as him to listen to his instructions all the time.

23. Ha Bing – Ma Tai Lou
She is Kwok-fan’s rival in 《查》agency but when he resigns, she shares news of the drug case with him. She doesn’t like Chin-fung and often asks her sarcastic questions. Other stars suck up to her but Chin-fung doesn’t. That is why she loves covering negative reports on her.

24. Chiu Siu Na – Chiu Ching Yee
If Wai-po is the drug king, she is the queen. Rich with nothing to do, she buys over《查》agency to provide news for Wai-po. Wai-po feels like a sex slave in front of her but he has to pretend that he likes her so that she helps to advertise him. She is caught having drugs with Wai-po in the club.

25. Mrs Tong – Fung Suk Bo
She is Hor-yee’s mother to put up with her pretence at work, lying to be a gambler mother. She tries very hard to get Hor-yee to kick her habit. Upon seeingWai-po still providing her with drugs, she stops him but has a heart attack and dies. This wakes her up to go into rehab to get cured.

26. Mr Tong – Chan Dik Hak
He has a stroke and relies on the wheelchair when his business fails. He does what he can to help Hor-yee to become normal again. Like Mrs Tong, both trust Ko Ching as Hor-yee’s confidante.

27. Yau Sau-fong – Chan On Ying
She is a retired and upright police officer and learns make-up from Kit Yu. She hates Tak-kwong and Kwok-fan for their jobs to expose their dirty secrets. She constantly tells both to quit after discovering that they have kept from her for a long time.

28. Kau Ho-ping – Lee Kar Ding
He is the restaurant’s chef and has taken drugs before when young. He manages to kick the habit and turns over a new leaf. Thus, no drug addicts can escape from his eyes.

29. Ng Fong-kwai – Wong Chak Fung
He is one of the owners for Sawadee Club. Seeing that See Wai has problems managing the club, he injects funds. He also provides drugs and causes him a lot of trouble.

30. Lee Chuen-hoi – Yim Kok Leung
He works at the restaurant and also a part-time extra at NSTV with his wife. That is why he reminds Lai-hung how badly she treats Tang in the past. His son gets addicted to drinking cough mixture. Luckily, Ko Ching discovers early to make him kick the habit. He advises his wife Lien-mei (Lee Lai Lai) to spend more time with their children instead of gambling at Macau.

Most favourite character
Dik-kan, he is humble and hardworking despite his rich background. No one doubts his abilities when he gets his promotion. That is why he is so well-liked by everyone.

Most hated character
Ko Ching, she overestimates herself, ending up hurting those around her.

Song
It is by ‘Love with no regrets’ by Ho Wan See. It is quite a nice song.

Interesting scenes – with additions on Hong Kong viewers’ comments on similaries on some incidents

The superstar, Kelvin is in critical condition and sent to hospital. Kwok-fan and Tak-kwong rush to cover the news. They see Chin-fung with Wai-po on the way. As it is rumoured that Kelvin and Wai-po are a pair, they seek to take photos of him. They even camp at the rooftop for best photos – the paparazzi covering news on the late Cheung Kok Wing to find out his preference then.

Kwok-fan tries to provoke Wai-po to punch him so that that will be his headline photo – China actor Li Ya Peng quarreled with reporters who tried taking photos of his daughter, Li Yan. Chan Gun Hei was unlucky as he was indeed provoked and became headlines. Wong Chau Sang was also another example.

Kwok-fan and Tak-kwong use a rope to dangle outside Kelvin’s window to take a photo tof the two. Ko Ching fails to stop them although she cuts the recorder’s wire. Pak Yip decides to use a photo of Wai-po looking away to get a bowl of porridge – he deletes the bowl away. That implies that he can’t bear to see Kelvin being successful. He also edit photos of him with Ko Ching, pretending that she kisses him – a picture speaks a thousand words although it can be misleading.

To win the beauty contest, Bo Yee and Ko Ching compete with each other to get the best position in front of the camera. All women try to use their sexiness appeal to get telephone numbers from the men on the beach. Kwok-fan and Tak-kwong secretly take photos and are mistakened to be perverts. Ko Ching even punches Kwok-fan to leave him a bruised nose. Bo Yee ruins her chances by seizing the best clothes. Ko Ching relies on Kit Yu’s lipstick to win. – evey beauty pageant has participants wanting to outdo each other.

Kwok-fan is peeved over Ko Ching’s win but has no choice to escape from covering her news. He buys a GPS phone. The simple-minded Tak-kwong mistakens that it is for him but in reality, he puts it under Kit Yu’s car to track where she stays. He also splashes news that they are lesbians by editing photos of them eating together. Bing edited a group photo of Chin-fung and Tang taken with their colleagues to lie that love rekindles between them – this shows how a paparazzi reporter can twist the truth indeed.

Kwok-fan and Tak-kwong tail Kar Lam for days but get no news – paparazzi reporters can forgo baths and sleep for days to get the scoop too.

Ko Ching wears a watch when filming a period drama so the director has to shout cut – some period dramas have the same loophole too but escape unnoticed by viewers.

Ko Ching is slapped 39 times when Chin-fung criticizes her of showing the wrong expression every time – actor Leung See Ho had described that this was similar to Wong Ming Kuen slapping the then-newcomer, Chek Mei Chun as she was not happy with her ex-boyfriend, Ho Sau Shun giving her more attention. Wong denied over the incident while Chek claimed to forget about it.

Ko Ching helps Chun-hoi to kick off his addict habit of drinking cough mixture by pouring it into the drain. Kwok-fan observes her doing it at the back lane and assumes that she is the addict so he ransacks the dustbin after that – paparazzi reporters also dug Lau Kar Ling’s dustbin to find out what she bought for her then-boyfriend-now-husband, Leung Chiu Wai then. Ah Sa was so frightened that she even packed the rubbish wth her from every hotel she stayed.

Ko Ching instigates Hor-yee to stop filming to teach Chin-fung a lesson. Chin-fung hints to Hor-yee the consequences of delaying and she betrays Ko Ching to return. Ko Ching confronts Ching-on who threatens to get Bo Yee to replace her to force her back to work. – Hsuen Huen and Chan Chi Ching were close after filming ‘Cold Blood Warm Heart’. They were renewing their contracts later and Hsuen urges Chi Ching to increase the demands but she herself signed the contract quickly instead. Chi Ching had to join ATV and they were not on better terms since upon her return.

The clashing of both ‘The empress dowager and Concubine Chun’ – It’s like both stations shooting ‘Justic Bao’ many years back. The hinting of CSTV being able to use a lot of money to hire Hor-yee was how ATV got ex-TVB artistes over then. It also had a dig at old costumes, incorrect era and lower ratings.

The television awards – As compared to the beauty contest earlier, it looks like a game show. How can there be only 2 dramas contesting against each other? Plus so few people around – no supporters for the artistes? The best actresses’ dressing appear more like going for a casual outing or funeral wake. Aren’t there any sponsors? Luckily the nominees from this drama dressed to the nines for TVB anniversary show.

The filming of ‘Female Drug Addict’ – so unoriginal – I hate the part where Ko Ching’s role kicks her parents aside to get drugs. It’s like returning to the 80s. All know harmful effects of drugs – must it be shot?

《查》agency was closed down – one Hong Kong agency also could not survive as it kept splashing unfavourable photos of artistes taken secretly.

Chin-fung becomes paralysed after her mishap – this is like Chow Sing Chee in《百變星君》.

Interesting facts
"Ko Ching" in Chinese means "High Definition". The main character "Ko Ching Man" is named after "HD" because the entire series was shot in High Definition. Chi Shan mentioned this during a press conference of ‘The Beauty of the Game’.

The original idea for the show was to show the secrets of the Hong Kong Entertainment Industry. At the end of each episode, a 30 second advertisement is shown with the closing credits regarding the drug use in each of the episodes sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Japan White Rabbit.

It was produced and created by Tsui Yu On. Tsui was disappointed with the ratings of the debut at 26 points. It was highest at 28 points, not hitting 30 points despite its’storyline on plastic surgery and drugs. Some found the theme common. He was more disappointed as many artistes were not that close to him after it was shown. He insisted that it was up to the viewers’ since this shows the true picture of the entertainment industry but not referring to anyone. But all will still guess in the end.

This drama was nominated for best drama, best actress (Chi Shan – what a surprise, I thought Wing Mei stood a better chance.), best supporting actress (Mun Chi), best improved acrtress (Mun Chung) and my favourite female television character (Wing Mei). It is sad that none of them got into the final 5 categories.
Chi Shan took in her stride that she did not have a good chance to get in the final round.

When asked by Yuk Ling who she thought would be the winner, she replied ‘those down there’. Tang Sui Mun, Mai Shuet, Sheh See Mun were present. Yuk Ling chided her for being careless. When another host, Cui Kin Bong asked who stood a greater chance, she answered ‘those in black’ (Sui Mun and See Mun wore black that night.) All shook their heads upon seeing her so careless in speech –both have the same meaning for those who had left this world.

Conclusion

I really salute to the Hong Kong viewers for having fantastic memory to come up with so many guesses. Also creudos to the director for having the guts to shoot such a drama. The cast has tried hard to make this drama as interesting as possible. I have not enjoyed watching a TVB drama for a long time.

However, I feel that《娱乐插班生》and《乐坛插班生》have more entertainment value than this drama. You can see how the artistes there really letting their hair down in their acting, not afraid of any criticism. They take everything in their own stride. The artistes here look quite restrained and the way they act in the studio for certain dramas – it is stiff acting indeed. Still, it does reflect the lives of artistes, trying to survive in the entertainment world.

Will you still dislike paparazzi reporters after watching it? It is a job to them and they have to work hard, value for money too although they can be too much to pry into others’ private affairs. You will be amused when looking at this drama which shows how they twist the facts – that requires lots of wits and imagination. This drama certainly worth your time – it is sad that many fail to appreciate it.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : **** (Scale of 5)

On songs : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)


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