Cherry Healy fronts a moderately entertaining documentary, if you can call it that, in which she seeks to discover ‘the real truth about women and booze’. She succeeded in finding out that women drink booze and little else, but still, this was a half-decent hours worth of entertainment from BBC Three. Better than My Life As An Animal or Snog, Marry, Avoid anyway. Mainly because it was this new Cherry Healy character fronting it and not that vain hair-do woman Dawn Porter the channel usually relies upon for insight-free docu-pieces.
Opening with a montage of Daily Mail headlines about bingeing and a few helpful shots of girls falling over onto tarmac, we also witnessed Cherry puking violently into a latrine, a roman-shower shot we’d ultimately see repeated a few times throughout the show’s runtime – sometimes from different angles so we could consume the deeper meaning inherent in the act.
Cherry outlined her quest: to go out boozing with female drinkers from different demographics.
Hitting the road and arriving at Blackpool, Cherry meets Leanne and her pals, all slightly put-upon young women, Leanne a single mother with quite obvious signs of depression – that aspect of her dipsomania only covered in one three sentence interview. There was no time for it, as the Editor needed to kicked in with his procession of images framing what were once called ladettes throwing booze down their gullets, rubbing their groins against retarded males with manga haircuts and ultimately falling over car bonnets with their tutus round their ankles. The experience makes Cherry cry for a couple of seconds, then move on to her next night out.
14 year old Rio and her pal explain that they like to get pissed in the park after drinking heavily at home. Cherry joins them in Rio’s bedroom where they down what they’ve nicked from Mum’s cabinet through a straw. Impressively, they manage to quaff Lambrini, neat vodka, neat Bacardi and a glug of Baileys before asking Mum if they can make it home for half ten rather than the Draconian ten pm curfew that’s currently in place. Cherry explains that this is different to how she was at their age. The Lambrini would be Pinot Grigio and she’d buy it with money from her ample allowance, back in her day. I’m making presumptions there, as I have every right to do.
Where’s that? Only Sheffield Hallam University! Your host Swine’s place of higher education and the scene of his worst period of alcohol abuse is where Cherry ends up next and horrible, cloudy memories surface in this viewer. To make it worse, Cherry was taken to Shag – an evening at the Sheffield Leadmill that seems to actively attempt to murder attendees with pints at 80p, double vodka and red bull at a quid and two-for-one alchopops. I was too busy trying to repress images of myself rolling around in my own vomit to actually absorb any of this part of the show.
A civil partnership was the next destination of choice as Cherry went to a lesbian marriage between two tattooed ladies. A good time was had by all, because 30 somethings tend to know their limits a little better than those a decade younger.
Mums and Mid-lifers
Even more responsibly, the Mums in the next sequence managed to run functioning households before going out dancing and returning home slightly tipsy. The Editor must have been furious by now at the lack of upskirt shots he could throw in, accompanied by that song that goes ‘here come the girls!’
Single widow Ann was also well-behaved, despite drinking a hell of a lot of liquor and starting every day at 11.30 in the morning, but that’s because she’s old enough to pace herself.
And finally, Cherry took a tipple with the Red Hat Ladies of Torquay. These old birds went on coach trips to taste wine and were less able to binge because of their need to spend a penny every five minutes. Jean, the ringleader, was an admirably batty old bird and more than likely the apple of many a Torquay-based older gent’s eye. And who can blame the silver foxes when there’s mature totty like Jean wandering around the UK’s South coast?
The documentary eventually wore itself out as it went along, parallel to how the advancing years of the participants caused their hunger for the grog to dissipate in time. From the outright chaos of kiddie-drinking to the measured, cheeky imbibing of the older generation, the process off slowing down was bound to happen before the show ground itself to a halt.
So, to keep the tempo up right to the bitter end, that shot of Cherry hawking her colon out of her mouth thanks to too many double vodka and cokes was distributed equally throughout the show to prick the interest when the ageing lushs got tiresome.
And just when you thought it was all over, right at the end and before the closing credits…