Posts Tagged ‘Crap TV’

NewsGush: Richard not Judy

March 10, 2009

Though we all knew the day would come, it still comes as a shock to learn that Richard and Judy – TV’s very own Mum ‘n’ Dad – will most likely go their separate ways after their apparently unwatchable series on channel ‘Watch’ finishes.

This is not the end of the affair romantically, you understand. It’s strictly a professional parting. Richard wants to go and present more series about hurricanes, twisters and shoplifting, whilst Judy has her own projects to concentrate on (drinking, mainly).

Speaking on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Madeley said: “We both feel we have done pretty much all we can do as a partnership, but I think probably we both feel the need to diversify.

“It has been over 20 years doing the same kind of thing and there are tantalising possibilities in terms of solo projects or one-off projects together.”

Their latest venture, Richard & Judy’s New Position, is reportedly facing the axe after viewing figures fell to just 8,000.

Don’t get me wrong – I like Richard and Judy and was sad to see that their rash judgement in moving to an unknown cable channel backfired.

But 8,000?

What have they done to make it sink that low? Are they hosting urine-drinking competitions? Is their new content just footage of the inside of dustbins? Do they trample pensioners over the opening credits?

Has anyone actually seen it?

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Shockwaves NME Awards 2009

March 2, 2009

If it was the Brits last week, it must be The Brats tonight, right? ‘The Brats’ being the name they used to call the NME Awards before they became so similar that the differentiation seemed a bit silly. They’d be better off calling it the NME Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party, what with the awards having silly bozo-names like ‘Best Dancefloor Filler’. I sat through this one making notes, as I did with The Brits, in the name of balance. Here are my real-time mitherings.

First up, our hosts. Mark Watson is an affable comedian and will be hosting on the grown up stage. Taking care of the Fearne Cotton, backstage side of things, strictly for telly, is that bloke who did Big Brother’s Little Brother – the one with the self-consciously irritating hair. Jack Whitehall

No?

Anyone?

Admittedly, I had to google him hard to get the name.

Is it possible for a person to have a ‘hateful face’? You hear the term bandied about a fair bit, and it seems to be a little unfair. You should judge someone on their actions and not the way their facial protrusions are arranged, no matter how runtish their upturned nose makes them seem and no matter how weak their chin. But if they top their noggin with an annoying, Mr Whippy, latterday-indie construction, the face beneath is always going to come off badly. Anyway – Jack Whitehall isn’t very good at his job.

In an echo of days gone by, Steve Lamacq is employed to take care of the voiceovers while Watson helms the stage, with jokes slagging off Johnny Borrell. It seems slightly hypocritical of the NME to have passed those gags, what with it being about 63% their fault that Razorlight got to the stage where they could release Slipway Fires on an unsuspecting audience unchallenged.

Grace Jones arrives to present Best Live Act! So we’ve kicked off, and the first award goes to the band which is considered best at grinding out music which is too bloody noisy and badly mixed whilst in front of a room full of teenage idiots, all of whom are clambering over each other to look the coolest, dropping beer in each others’ faces and singing along with the lines of the songs, obscuring the music in the process and allowing themselves to believe that they gain some measure of kudos from memorising badly-rendered poetry. Yay!

Muse beat Kings of Leon, Oasis, Radiohead and Killers. Their drummer accepts the award, which is the coward’s way out.

‘Still to come’ says Steve Lamacq – and some adverts come on.

Next up – Best DVD. This one throws me. Best DVD isn’t very rock n roll, is it? All the live DVDs I’ve seen have only ever served to demonstrate that gigs aren’t the revolutionary gatherings of energy they’re made out to be and shows them in the more realistic light of artists deluding themselves they’re gods while an audience deludes itself that it’s having fun.

Arctic Monkeys beat Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs, Rolling Stones and Muse. Dean Learner accepts the award.

Here are the Skins – those children from the kid’s drama serial (for infants). The one that shouldn’t be watched by adults because it’s for kids. They’re here to present the Best New Band award. Up for the award are tedious Sting-thieves, Vampire Weekend, those Jesus & Mary Chains for losers, Glasvegas, the criminally insane Late of the Pier, offspring of the Flaming Lips – MGMT and a band called White Lies who I’ve never heard of.

MGMT win, predictably enough, and their self-consciously kooky acceptance speech (‘it’s a jelly spider!’) doesn’t do much for me.

Presumably it’s not fashionable to refer to ‘singles’ any more, what with iTunes and the internets, so they appear to have replaced that category with ‘Dancefloor Filler’. It’s a silly name for an award for two reasons. Firstly, indie people can’t dance and, secondly, it precludes any release that has a slow tempo. It suggests frenetic indie pop, so anything vaguely leftfield or undanceable gets left on the sidelines like a fat kid at football.

Beating Crystal Castles, Friendly Fires, Bloc Party and Late of the Pier, Dizzee Rascal wins for the witless dirge he made with Calvin Harris that has the cheapest video in the history of hip hop.

Let’s have some music to cheer us up!

La Roux (me neither) and Franz Ferdinand pile onstage to kick the living shit out of Blondie’s Call Me. Jaime Winstone is dancing! Ooooh, I wanna dance with Jaime Winstone! Alex Kapranos does a grand job of flattening the entire vocal melody but blood isn’t truly drawn from the flailing carcass of the tune until La Roux pitches in with a whine last heard in a slaughterhouse. They create the second worst cover version of all time. Lucky for us, the first worst comes later on in the evening. At least Estelle and the Tings had the courtest to murder their own tunes at The Brits…

Best Album Award now – with everyone’s least favourite comedian Keith Lemon, presenter of ITV2’s woeful Celebrity Juice, actively molesting Alexa Chung as they present. Kings of Leon beat The Dancers, Glasvegas, Oasis and Bloc Party, with a recorded speech which appears to tell everyone in the audience that they hate them. Possibly the only rock n roll moment of the evening.

Friendly Fires play a song. It’s the first time I’ve seen this lot, and there won’t be a second. There are some terrible dance moves over a tune that sounds like, and forgive me for putting the idea in your mind, U2 crossed with The Klaxons, and then some Brazilian dancers come on for a booty-shake. This momentarily makes notions of suicide drift away with an idea clearly nicked off Basement Jaxx. Fill the stage with bright colours and dancing, and you might get away with it.

Best British Band! Kasabian present. The singer asks if everyone there is ‘c*nted’ – which I think is a bit rude. Cut to a shot of Muse who are visibly not c*nted, but might be very slightly stoned on crap hash. Oasis beat some other bands who have already appeared in other categories (it all begins to blur). The crowd begins to boo. It overwhelms Mark Watson. Strange, I think, that a band who kept the paper afloat whilst the (superior) likes of Melody Maker and Select magazine folded are now being booed by the crowd. The acceptance speech is amusing, pairing up Russell Brand and Gallagher, N for the first time since the former was rude on an old man’s phone.

It’s never going to end.

The child who partners Steve Coogan on Saxondale comes onstage with Steve Lamcq and they give the Outstanding Contribution award to Elbow, which seems startlingly pre-emptive. Are they writing them off the minute they hit their peak? That’s the NME all over, is that.

Best TV Show? Eh? This is a music paper!

Here’s Charlie Brooker, aka Preacherman, offering out a sitcom award at a music award show – which seems idiosyncratic to say the least. But then, when you think about it, indie kids generally spend their days sitting around at home recording sitcoms. I know I did.

Brooker says the word ‘c*nt’ and smashes the status quo. Boosh win.

We’re nearly there. Don’t fall asleep, because… …it’s time for the Worst Cover Version of All Time (see video link at the top of the age). Florence and the Who? work in unison with humourless Scotch combo Glasvegas to trample Elvis’s decomposing spine with a one chord rendering of Suspicious Minds. What results is so laughably awful, it looks like a sexual assault blooper. The Glasvegas singer begins to grope Florence with his face and soon, to distract from the musical mess they’ve made, they are hitting each other and running offstage.

We limp on to Best International Act, if anyone cares, and Killers win. Last Shadow Puppets win Best Video. The audience are now so drunk they don’t understand what’s happening and are talking amongst themselves. ‘Why are Girls Aloud here?’ they appear to be asking, quite reasonably.

Now for the promised big moment – Graham and Damon Blur reform to do a song together. With the best will in the world – it sounds a bloody mess. Albarn’s use of an out-of-tune foghorn-organ was possibly a mistake, as the one note he issues throughout three quarters of the song drowns Coxon’s guitar in a farty wash. A missed opportunity, perhaps.

Solo Artist – Pete Doherty. A token award, one feels, seeing as the man hasn’t released any solo material yet. Bridge-building from the kid from Saxondale, who clearly realises Petie D makes covers and sells papers.

At least we end on something of a high, with The Cure getting some late recognition. They play the oldies after receiving an award from Tim Burton and the audience, all far too good-looking and well-dressed to be what used to be the indie I knew, dance along.

Except, you can’t actually dance to indie. Its structure simply doesn’t allow it. They simply do that thing where you jiggle from side to side, pulling a poseur face and faking the sensation of being taken over by music. The credits roll as we watch people trying to dance to indie, safe in the knowledge that indie is best listened to on a walkman, uncelebrated at industry bashes, away from fashion victims and sponsored awards ceremonies. I’m not in love with the modern world.

The Friday Question – WWM TV Room 101

February 27, 2009

Image by BP Perry. With apologies.

I hate:

Fish fingers, Radio Three, onions, broccolli, The Carpenters, cats, Lincolnshire, monkeys, France, vodka, fashion designers, oysters, Elton John, peppermint creams, Garry Bushell, the 1960s, Radiohead, the Tricorn Centre Plymouth (even though it’s been demolished), fashion models, cheese ‘n pickle sandwiches, leeks, Steve Wright, Look North and cauliflower.

HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE!

Thankfully, courtesy of George Orwell and (more importantly) television, there’s a place for me to deposit my hate – Room 101. Thanks to this wonderful room, you and I can dump the stuff we loathe, leaving lots and lots of shit-free space in our heads to fill with lovely stuff. Lovely stuff such as world peace, the joyful laughter of a happy child … and really quite extraordinarily large knockers.

So, what five pieces of anger-inducing effluent would YOU consign to the prison that is Room 101? And why? What’s got your goat so much you need to lock it away in an imaginary room for ever and ever, amen?

As we’re a telly site, we’re looking for telly shows to throw in Room 101 primarily. Obviously, this being Watch With Mothers, that rule’ll last what? Eight comments? Six?

Ah well, fuck it … it is Friday after all.

Over to you, ladies and gentlemen …

The Culture Show: U2

February 25, 2009

Bono of the pop combo called U2

It’s easy to mock Bono. Everybody’s at it. Whether it’s his hat’s journey by jet engine, his pious preaching at Labour party functions, his forcing African kids to sing With Or Without you in a PR piece to promote his band or just outright laughter at the lyrics to his latest single, Get On Your Boots – only the creepiest U2 obsessive could really object.

This very defensive interview piece was fully aware of the public profile of the band’s frontman and seemed, from the start, to be an attempt to redress the balance. A good angle to come from, but royally ballsed up by Bono himself in protracted, oblique soundbites that did little to dispel how much of an oaf the man is.

Geldof didn’t help. He opened proceedings by insisting that ‘they’re not wankers’ – which, coming from a wanker as monumentally self-pleasuring as Bob, didn’t really help the cause. Later, when talking about how prolific U2 are, he said that those outside the industry might not realise that ‘great bands have to work at it’ which carried the implication that he’d ever been in a great band. ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ was alright, but don’t overdo it, Bob.

After an amusing clip of the fledgling band mucking about on Irish telly in the late 70s or early 80s, a parade of talking heads talked the band up, one of them asserting that ‘every band wants to be U2’. This statement is incorrect.

I’ve no problem with U2 the band – I like bits of Achtung Baby, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But when Bono ever appears outside of his day job it’s impossible not to wince at the man’s nerve. One man’s arrogance is another man’s genius, but for me his pomp and self-belief reek of smugness. He’s unbearable when he starts talking and by the time he’s finished you’re surprised nobody’s ever set fire to him.

He was sitting next to Adam Clayton in his set of interviews, whilst Larry and The Edge were cross-examined separately. It’s easy to imagine that Adam’s the only one who can actually bear the frontman, what with him having had the mental strength to cope with being around Naomi Campbell. The man must be coated with asbestos when it comes to fiery egos. Where Bono dealt in pseudo-enigmatic rhetoric when answering questions, Clayton was gnomic and as bland as skimmed milk.

Bono’s interviewee style was to patronise Laverne whenever she asked a question. ‘You’re right to ask that’, he assured her. ‘Geez, this girl is good’ he proclaimed, as though she landed the job based on blackmail. He was remarkably restrained but still indulged himself in that special line of bollocks he specialises in – the self-aggrandizing statement disguised as humility. One choice anecdote concerned a non-fan of the band who happened to attend a gig saying that the hairs stood up on the back of his neck when they played. Bono, keen to ground himself whilst simultaneously and paradoxically raising himself to Christ level, replied: ‘you know what? That happens to us too’. Because he’s merely a prophet, see? And the music is the message. Man.

Later on, he said they continue doing what they’re doing because their job is to ‘derail the rock n’ roll mythology’ – referring to his belief that U2 are put on this planet to prove great artists don’t have to kill themselves and leave a romantic myth to truly be great. Considering the likes of Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Christ – even Paul McCartney have already sorted that one out, the statement falls redundant to the stadium floor.

To finish, Geldof explained to us thickies that people are wrong to think of Bono as cliched in his political dabblings. He said ‘expressions only become cliches because you have to repeat them again and again’. He’s right – but only if the expressions are valid in the first place. If they’re trite and simplistic then they’re cliches from the start. Real insight only needs mentioning once, and can be revealed at any time – even when a new release isn’t scheduled for months.

Get on your boots, indeed.

Naked: Office Workers

February 25, 2009

It’s as if the people over at BBC Three have created a programme on their Acorn Electron – a Future Commissions Generator, if you like – which gobbles up stats on past successes and then, based on the shows that got people talking, mocking or jeering, reformats them using as little originality as is electronically possible.

So, thanks to the FCG we’ve reached the point where Freaky Eaters has dispensed with the food theme completely, leaving us with just the ‘freaks’ (which is BBC Three-speak for people with hang-ups). Obviously they can’t make a show on that premise alone or they’d just be transmitting artfully lighted shots of a handful of neurotic people babbling in a white studio and bumping into one another, so they’ve nicked the ‘nudity’ from How To Look Good Naked and chucked it in to see if it works. And whether it works or not, they’ll put it out regardless.

The Naked strand is the result. Naked: Nurses, Naked: Office Workers, Naked: Tramps, Naked: Eunuchs – these days all you need to do to empower people is to convince them to take all their clothes off and, bingo! They’re walking, talking superbeings! Balls to logic and dispense with common sense – just strip to your duds and feel at one with the universe!

In Naked: Office Workers, Isha is a working mum with body issues. Victoria has the sense that her bottom is too big. So far, so Gok Wan – but the other participants are all concerned with issues outside of self-image. John feels he’s too short to be taken seriously. Noel is crippled by shyness and Victoria isn’t over her ex. It’s never explained why public humiliation will help these seemingly decent folk confront their issues in any depth or with any insight – it’s just an uncertain dive straight into the tasks with mentors Jonathan Phang and Emma Kelly, and we’re expected to go along with them.

Phang is an Image Consultant who has apparently ‘worked with supermodels’. I don’t know what that means, but he looks like an overweight Ronald Reagan. If his job is to guide people on how to present themselves, he clearly doesn’t listen to his own advice.

Kelly is his right-hand girl and she’s a psychologist, presumably at amateur level, and she’s there to gee people up and work them into a state of hypnotic suggestibility so that they’re prepared to bite the bullet and ‘move forward with their lives’. In layman’s terms, her job is to persuade them to get their kecks off.

A series of pointless tasks follows. A primal scream session, a period of smashing up computers taken straight from Office Space, the keeping of a ‘mirror diary’ and some public speaking in front of people who were presumably on their way home from the pub and had nothing better to do. There was also abseiling – just to fill in the gaps – and finally, before the money shots, some Big Brother style, at-home bickering between contestants. The fight, incidentally, had absolutely no substance but was treated with epic grandeur by the presenters, who acted as though savage war has broken out. They behaved as though, if the fight was allowed to carry on, there’d only have been mutilated corpses to photograph naked the next day.

After a lengthy, year-long hour they all had their photos taken, slipping off ill-fitting bathrobes and grinning stiffly. One contestant, John, dropped out at this point and it was hard to resist giving him a round of applause for not getting steered into the exploitative route the others were dragged down.

Finally the shots are displayed and some uplifting music kicks in. The viewer is presumably meant to be left convinced that the last hour has given everyone a good feeling about themselves. Stronger and more assertive. Viewer, programme-makers and contestants, all bettered by the sight of some nobodies getting their normal clothes off and standing sheepishly naked in a stately home.

Personally, despite the fact I look like an adonis under these stained garments, I could never go on one of these shows. Obviously I believe they work wonders for all involved, but I get on rather well with my neuroses. My hang-ups have been keeping me going for years. If I wasn’t a paranoid, insecure mess, I wouldn’t be where I am today – so hold back on the approach, BBC Three. I’m simply not interested.

Just a Thought – Jade on LivingTV

February 24, 2009

jade-goody-jack-tweed1

My interest in reality television runs its course when a series ends. The resulting deals – guest spots on the Tuesday Night Project, tabloid coverage, Heat covers, OK covers, Hello covers,  Now covers, Next covers – they’re all for morons, right?

Right.

So what the hell is going on with the coverage of Jade at the moment? The bizarre, sentimental freakiness of the last few days is enough to turn the stomach – both at the soft-focus, Max Clifford exploitation festival it’s becoming and also at the outright hypocrisy that’s dribbling out of the television and from the mouths of idiot journalists.

It’s not just the tabloid press. The higher-minded (but just as manipulative) broadsheets and nightly talking heads are also enjoying a spurt of repulsive self-analysis, disguised as altruism and goodwill. I’ve seen features on Newsnight and in The Observer and The Times – and no doubt I’ve missed many others.

Jade Goody occupies a very weird position in public knowledge. She’s the epitomy of the untalented celebrity, celebrated for nothing. Her normality is what made her famous and with fame as her ultimate aim, once she reached that peak there was nothing left for her to do but milk it. She was born without a silver spoon and with no talent to speak of, so all she could do was sell herself. And bizarrely, people handed over their cash.

The worst thing about this current state of affairs is the presence of circling vultures, literally waiting for the death of their prey before they can cash in their chips. So – I’ll share a few of my questions before my head implodes at this phenomenon.

  • Who is actually watching LivingTV’s ‘Jade’ – her new reality show in which the casual, morbid voyeur can watch a familiar face degenerating and dying?
  • Isn’t this a shameful enterprise, devoid of actual, meaningful content and consisting of nothing other than celebrity death?
  • It’s tasteful enough when it’s onscreen, but isn’t the screen soiled with sensationalism and grotesquery when the show’s switched off?
  • Who is that buys ‘Hello’ magazine so they can gawk at shots of Jack and Jade sharing their last, personal moment in front of millions?
  • How much does Max Clifford make in all this?

Jade and her family are being exploited to the tune of a few a thousand quid, earning it in a grim race against time so they can chuck soiled notes in a gaping grave. It’s as simple as that.

‘Ah’ – they counter… ‘but who is exploiting who?!’

As they say this they make that ‘aren’t I clever?’ face and raise an eyebrow as though they’ve made the most brilliant and insightful second hand comment in history. And, to be fair, it’s a difficult question to answer – the money she’ll receive will be monumental… but where’s the soul? The dignity? The meaning?

Can somebody let me know?

Let’s Dance For Comic Relief – Ep. 1

February 23, 2009

I apologise.

I said harsh things about Let’s Dance For Comic Relief before it had even aired and, having watched it, I feel a bloody fool. For its opening twenty-five minutes, this was decent Saturday night television. Apart from one section, which bordered on indecent, as you can see in the Youtube link above.

Twenty five minutes’ amusement during  a show that goes on (and on) for over an hour and a half may not seem like much, but three items of televisual gold accompanied by Steve Jones managing not to be a complete cock can’t be bad. Jonesy was actually better than bearable – and Winkleman was alright too. What the hell is going on?

The show opened with Eastenders’ Minty (the fat mechanic) and Christian (the gay stud) taking part in a High School Musical routine with such gusto and effort that it was impossible not to be swept up in its charm. Christian, in particular, had some eye-opening moves and Minty, television’s nicest fictional character, was gamely trying to keep time. With the feelgood blast of the High School Musical enterprise in the background, only a hard-hearted bastard could’ve complained.

Next up, Christopher Biggins and Nicki Chapman, whilst not carrying the same charisma as the previous pairing, provided some entertainment – mainly stemming from the fact that the spherical Biggins chose to walk through the set rather than dance, still managing to work up a slick sweat despite his inertia. Wearing a black Glitter-wig and running his hands over Chapman’s body, Biggins looked like a genial sex-offender. Which is pretty much his schtick anyway.

But it was the third act that caused a dangerous level of hysteria in this household. Lincolnshire lad, Robert Webb’s routine as the welding girl from Flashdance was so far out there it sent the viewer into confused spasms. The leotard, the Frank-n-Furter wig were frankly disturbing but the way they interplayed with the precision of his dance-moves… for a couple of seconds I honestly thought my other half was going to pass out, either from laughing, shock or desire. I had to press pause so we could gather ourselves. It was so far out there that it’s impossible to describe, so watch the clip if you haven’t seen it. I still think watching Webb’s act has damaged a small part of my brain.

After that, and with an hour left to go, the rest of this extravaganza was plops, I’m afraid. Well worth the entrance money for Webb’s dance alone – but the fact that Dick and Dom won out over the Eastenders twosome with their tediously by-the book Blues Brothers wackiness is nothing short of a national disgrace. A plague on Dick and Dom.

The World’s Most Enhanced Woman And Me

February 9, 2009

mark dolan

Mark Dolan first arrived in the public eye on the Richard Taylor Interviews – a slightly amusing Channel 4 comedy stunt show in which he posed as the MD of a fictional company, then put hopeful interview candidates through a gruelling process of humiliating tasks. It was designed, I think, to prove that management speak was a load of guff – featuring footage of these upstarts in the days before The Apprentice discussing just how 110% they are, followed by the satisfying sight of yet another young pretender to the corporate throne making a right royal tit of themselves in the desperate hope of landing a £30k management team leader ‘role’.

So, a decent start to his TV career. But then things started to descend – as anyone who’s seen Balls of Steel will attest. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to do anything other than mention the title and remind folk that it was Dolan who gleefully presented it to get your gag-reflexes swinging.

After that, a stint sitting beside Nick Ferrari in the LBC studio, a punishment in itself, one would imagine. And now he bafflingly finds himself involved in an hour of good-slot Channel 4 TV every week. Without googling or scanning Wikipedia, one suspects Dolan has worked in production or commissioning before, so pitching himself a new show is as simple as telling Channel 4 what hours he can work. Otherwise there’s no way someone so monumentally untalented – either in front of the camera or coming up with concepts behind it – would get this much work. Otherwise there is simply no justice in the world.

This latest outing has been criticised by critics as a tasteless neo-freakshow and coming at it with fresh eyes, having not seen any of the last series, you can see exactly why. In The Most Enhanced Woman In The World, Dolan travels to America (where else?) to track down women who cater to the ‘big boob’ fetish. A dying breed (in some cases literally) since their wobbly bosomed heyday in the decadent 90s.

Dolan doesn’t say why he wants to meet ridiculously augmented women and he neglects to add a Louis Theroux style disclaimer at the start explaining that he’d like to know what these people are all about. He simply dives in there, like an over-enthusiastic public schoolboy, intent on fulfilling his pointless mission. Without any context for the brief, we’re left with a lanky moron going on a jolly to poke fun at the spiritually bereft.

Ho ho!

First he meets a big-boobed blonde who, since the softcore work dried up, recently made the move into hardcore. Her silent (and much younger) husband retrieves two implants from a carrier bag that she no longer fastens to herself because they’re too big and they leak – with the potential for the silicon to enter brain cells and the bloodstream, causing paralysis, brain damage and death. Despite her life choices, this one was quite aware of the inherent tragedy of her surgery. Without any suffering to poke his pointy stick at, Dolan cruised off to find something a little more perverse for the camera.

And he found it. Minka was, once upon a time, an adequately proportioned South Korean lady, doing normal things – like playing tennis and working in a mundane job, all the while with a normal set of dumplings – until Woody entered her country and her life. Woody swept her off her feet and dragged her to America where he persuaded her to stick implants the size of space-hoppers up her armpits so they could make millions of dollars.

Their household, as far as we could tell, was a loveless void where the big-boob obsessive kept his disfigured missus for two reasons. Firstly, so that he could live with a grotesquely adorned doll (that’s what she had become – all trace of personality wiped) and secondly so he could make money out of it. Dolan made steps towards obtaining an understanding of Minka, but so superficially that he needn’t have bothered. It was left to the viewer to use the scantest of evidence to piece together how this relationship worked. The devil is in the detail – owning seven small dogs might demonstrate that Minka is lonely, for example – but rather than go searching for more of this kind of stuff, Dolan just snorted and singgered his way through before committing the ultimate documentary-making sin.

The ‘judgement piece to camera’, where the presenter addresses the audience (or the cameraman), is a major mistake in this sort of television. Especially when the presenter judges the subject and offers his opinion. Notice how Theroux only talks to camera if he’s telling the cameraman to get out of the way, of if totally necessary to give a sense of time and place. Nick Broomfield also avoids it at all costs. This is why they get awards. They’re aware of what documentary actually is. Dolan, however, treats his audience with contempt and attempts to tell us what’s going on despite the fact we already know, and think he’s an arse for not being able to cope with it properly.

Finally, Dolan visits Brazil where Shayla was going for the world record in terms of the size of her waps. Shayla was immediately a sympathetic character, and Dolan initially appeared to make a connection. We were witness to tears and insecurity which came to a head in a scene on a beach, were Shayla admitted she had self-esteem issues due to a lost love, and then a shopping mall scene wherein Shayla hoovered up the curiosity of onlookers, mistaking it for love. There was a lot here that could have been said about the culture of celebrity. With a few more questions along those lines, we’d have got to the heart of Shayla. But Dolan couldn’t be arsed. He was too busy watching her balance her boobs on the table so she could take the weight off her spine.

When Shayla went for her record-breaking augmentation, instead of asking pertinent questions, Dolan stood like a spare prick at a wedding doing bugger all. He appeared to have lost all emotion in the face of truly troubling subject matter. It was obvious that he was in too deep and, without the charm, charisma of presence of mind to deal with it, what could have been quite a startling piece of insightful TV turned into the absolute opposite. Freakshow TV where the host becomes even freakier than his subjects by virtue of his ignorance.

The final piece to camera did nothing to rescue this nasty slice of nothingness. Dolan simply bailed, with words to the effect of ‘I’ve met the most enhanced woman in the world, and I wish I hadn’t’.

He’s all heart.