Friday, October 13

He stoops to conquer

With a heavy social conscience and an overactive libido, Alastair O’Dell develops a penchant for an uncouth scouser

With the ‘liberal’ west at loggerheads with a cruel, conservative Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one could hope to seek some comfort in our shared decadent beliefs by settling down to a night in front of that bastion of immorality and moron-ity ITV.

Yes, the sight of Jodie Marsh’s puppies are unappealing, and yes, Jade Goodie being a multimillionaire is soul destroying. But, God dam it, it’s the price we pay for living in a free, non-judgemental, ‘happy’ society. I can happily wallow in such depravity for the greater good.

In need of comfort, and my dinner working its way south, I switched over the goggle box to Ladette to Lady (ITV 9pm), a program advertised as helping a group of underprivileged girls get on in life. A nice, uplifting, story of social mobility in the modern age. Perfect.

Or it would be, had it not been a program solely designed to put back feminism, not to mention social equality, the proverbial 100 years. The premise of this retro-thusiast show is taking some oiks and giving them a jolly good thrashing at a finishing school in the Home Counties, in the hope that, one day they are acceptable to Victorian society.

For the task, the mean Rosemary, and League of Gentleman-esque Gill Harbord have been drawn out of retirement to bully, harass and generally put them in their place. Copious amounts of Vino-collapse-o are supplied just in case they decide to take the path less righteous and more riotous.

This week they competed for a chance to serve their social superiors at a toffee-nosed ski resort. They were of course told to keep their filthy mitts off the guests (much to the disappointment of the filthy old pervs on what they thought was an all-inclusive holiday).

The ‘inappropriate’ but nonetheless rather charming Louise Porter (Who also appears in Nuts magazine this week, lads) tragically did not make the cut to Verbier, with three portly wenches having to suffice. These girls were treated to an equally humiliating, but altogether different type of skiing experience than they are (probably) used to behind the local Dog and Duck.

All good fun, but really, why should these girls, and similar ones watching, be made to feel like scum? One cannot but sense a retro chill from Stateside here, in the post-Sex in the City, with the liberated girls-about-town ideal making way for the traditional, conservative morality of Desperate Housewives. Conservatism is on the march in this sceptre isle. Perhaps I should not be so surprised as even the most legendary heroes of all Britannia, Winston Churchill, had an American mother. Now, all that is left of Western civilisation is Channel Five.

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