Tuesday, September 12

And another thing...

Richey Nash sees the irony in Anne Widdecombe's diatribe against vanity

Tuesdays are the new Wednesdays. On the plus side it means you reach the midpoint of the working week a day earlier, but on the minus side it means Tuesdays now have no good programmes. Even watching Supernanny Jo Frost discipline the feral spawn of idiot parents has lost its thrill.

So it’s official, Tuesdays are now crap. Don’t believe me? Well, a 45-minute rant by Anne Widdecombe about society’s preoccupation with image in Don’t Get Me Started! (Channel 5, 7.15pm) was ranked among the top tips in TV guides. If that’s not a sign that something’s wrong, I don’t know what is. Even the irony of watching Widders rail against vanity while sporting a blonde dye job – a reflection of her own vanity – stopped being amusing pretty quickly.

The problem was that like its subject matter the show was style over substance, but without much style. It definitely wasn't exciting or controversial enough to warrant an exclamation mark in the title. And it didn’t say much that was particularly interesting, so viewers came away no clearer on issues like whether women’s magazines reflect a female preoccupation with diets or the mags create it.

Then the show said make-up is becoming more popular among men because there are more magazines peddling images of Adonis metrosexuals to males. Why? Because male make-up is a growing market and companies want to tap into it by using their advertising money to fund magazines that push images of ‘perfect’ males. The effect? Men become more obsessed with make-up. Pretty simple stuff.

It would’ve been more interesting to hear Widders go into greater detail about the MPs she knows who use make-up at the dispatch box. As it is we’ll have to speculate. Blair? Obviously. Cameron? Oh yes. Prescott? Well I thought he had a red face cos he’s a bit porky, but it might be covered in rouge.

Then Widders went to a gym and talked to some meathead who says all men are striving for the perfect body. Sad to tell you this Mr No-Neck, but I’m not. I adore my pasty 12-year-old torso and limp girly arms. An Adonis complex is too much effort. Having said that I did go to the gym a few times to get a six-pack. I did too many back exercises and got a backpack. Fnar.

Then it went to a break that included an ad for the programme after, a new series called, err, Diet Doctors: Top To Toe (Channel 5, 8pm) that promised to tell people how to, err, lose weight. Who says Channel 5 doesn’t do irony?

Widders came back after the break to reveal that the preoccupation with vanity is in some way related to society’s lack of religious belief. And that people would rather go to a spa than go church. But even if Widders wanted to say spas are bad, her point was undermined because she interviewed the spa owner while getting a hand massage. And she did it while wearing a dressing gown with a disturbing crack so you could look right up her left thigh. Nasty. Luckily, it was before teatime so I hadn’t eaten.

Then the show veered onto another subject: plastic surgery, including an ‘admission’ by beauty journalist Bonnie Estridge that she’s had botox. Really dear? As if your stretched clingfilm face didn’t give it away. Actually I can’t criticise because I’ve had surgery: I had my whole body amputated so now I technically weigh nothing. Fnar.

People made arguments both for and against surgery without reaching conclusions, and then there were vox pops that asked members of the public what they’d have done. Personally I’m holding out for a penis transplant, because there’s only so excited a woman can get about being penetrated by my cocktail sausage. I say cocktail sausage, I mean cocktail stick. But at least a toothpick penis means I can play a role in a woman’s dental regime when I’m getting a blowjob. Fnar. Oh.

“You can even get a designer vagina,” says Widders. Yes Anne, but there are limits. You shouldn’t, for example, have one in the middle of your face.

In the end they did a bit where she stood on a London street looking disapproving, while wearing a black coat. Scowl-faced with brow furrowed, the programme drifted off and you sense that Widders is still there looking pissed off. With little of interest to say the programme really didn’t warrant 45 minutes: the content could have fitted easily into ten minutes while the style made it seem nearer two hours.

And then? Well I tried watching a family of idiots investing £1.29m in a hotel, despite having no hotel experience, in Risking It All (Channel 4, 8pm) but it was all very predictable: they started badly, got in some guru to give them advice, and ended up good. End of story.

And finally I put on unwieldily titled Zoe Lucker and Sarah Barrand’s Date with The Dalai (ITV2, 9pm), which featured the two actresses – the latter I’ve never heard of – travelling around India trying to have religious experiences. They did so with various degrees of success, and never even met the Dalai Lama. Well, maybe next week.

But I quickly lost interest. You see, I was too busy preening myself and flexing (both of) my muscles at myself in the mirror. Widders would be sooo disappointed.

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