Tuesday, July 25

Nude for thought

More flattering clothes? Or a punishment beasting from Provo Sergeant Weston? Richey Nash picks up tips about how to look less bad naked.

Want to look better naked? You could always do what my girlfriend does when she’s feeling insecure: stand next to a naked me. It works, but might not be practical for everyone. So what else can you do to look better naked?

Why not go on a TV show? Well, there are many reasons not to. Usually TV tries to make people look better in three easy stages: (1) knock ‘em out, (2) carve a gash in their love handles and (3) tell Henry The Hoover to get sucking. Either that or tell them to put down the cake and get running.

But How To Look Good Naked (C4, 8.30pm) was different: it tried to make people feel better about what they’ve got, not change it. Sound weird, doesn’t it? Well, let me explain: 28-year-old Zoe (size 12) thought she looked like a whale, probably because she’s seen too many pics of Keira Knightley.

“I’m horrid,” she said at the start, before crying. A camp Asian guy in thick white-framed glasses and a noncey arty haircut begged to differ, and spent a month tackling her negative body image.

First he stood Zoe next to women she thought were thinner than her: in fact they were all fatter. Lesson? You’re not as lardy as you think, dear.

Second he made her buy flattering clothes that weren’t beige or black, though it all went awry when she ended up dressed like a cowboy. Lesson? Never take fashion advice from a guy in a turquoise paisley pattern cardigan. Oh, and smaller clothes make big people look bigger.

And third he let her estimate her body mass on a computer: she overestimated by 16%. Lesson? You look normal, so get over it.

All in all, it’s a likeable show and a refreshing change from the wanton butchering of the likes of 10 Years Younger. Whether it can sustain interest over a whole series is another matter but, nevertheless, hats off to a show that encourages people to improve their self-esteem without surgery.

And at the end of the month Zoe was so happy she had a naked photo shoot: “I don’t want to be Kate Moss,” she concluded. Though that might be because she don’t fancy the idea of Pete Doherty’s knob.

From a show that built self-esteem to one that broke it down: Bad Lads Army: Extreme (ITV, 9pm), my biggest TV guilty pleasure. I find it satisfying to watch yobs intimidated by hard bastard officers, though I reckon there are grannies across this proud land enjoying it ten times more.

This is the third in the current series, where an assortment of thugs are training for the parachute corps. It isn’t easy. First thing in the morning they’re outside naked, not looking that good while wiping the poo out of somebody else’s arse. And this is followed by a delicious breakfast of worms, high protein locusts and grub omelettes. Yum.

But the best moments come from Provo Sergeant Weston, a 9’3’’ scary bald bastard who wouldn’t look out of place in a Guy Ritchie film. They bring him in when someone needs a punishment beasting. And big beastings are in order when three of the bad lads use their night camouflage training to try to sneak to the pub. They only get to a residential street nearby: if only they’d waited for next week’s lessons in pavement camouflage.

When they’re brought back Weston isn’t happy, making them crawl along the floor with craftily positioned barrels adding extra pain. And then his favourite trick: he makes them make an animal noises while they’re doing it. Previous weeks have included dogs and pigs, so what is it this week?

“Make like a fuckin’ duck or you’re going to be there all night,” he screamed.

“Quack quack… quack quack,” all three replied, before they were stripped naked and thrown in jail: cold, pissed off and not particularly good looking.

The rest of red section was punished in the morning, including fat Welshman Private Jimson – aka Oddjob – the guy favourite to go mad from the weight bullying and shoot himself in the toilets a la Full Metal Jacket. Still, the exercise might help him shift some pounds. Oh come on… flattering clothes won’t make everyone look better naked. And come to it, neither would standing next to a naked me: sure, I’m an odd looking lanky bastard, but I ain’t the goddam Elephant Man.

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