The BBC has been receiving complaints about the latest godawful programme in which some fairy godmother who’s pristine in every way sorts out the lives of those who just can’t get it right.
When I saw the advert for Bring Your Husband to Heel, I stomped my feet. Not because it’s sexist, which it probably is, but because we’ve got to the stage where we can’t actually escape these programmes with the fairy godmother. They used to be ghettoised in BBC Three, which was okay because you could just avoid BBC Three before 9pm. But then Channel 4 got in on the act. And now BBC Two is having a go, except every possible iteration of the format has been used for these programmes already, so they’ve got to have a light-hearted attempt to train men like dogs, because no other channel — not even BBC Three! — was mad enough to try that one.
I really can’t stand these programmes, usually because the solutions are far too obvious. Teen Angels featured parents who began to piss their pants when their son reached puberty and started sulking all the time. I never knew teenagers did that.
I saw one episode of The House of Tiny Tearaways where a toddler spent his whole time saying “fuck”. The kid was actually very clever, because he realised that swearing was the only way he could get attention from his self-obsessed mother. It was also the way he managed to appear on national television. What a clever boy! What nobody asked, mother, was why the toddler had such a potty mouth in the first place.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Bring Your Husband to Heel actually came down to the wife only just realising after her marriage that her husband loves to spend his time watching football, drinking beer and belching.
I do, however, like How Clean is Your House? The solution is always terribly simple: clean your house you bloody manky person. But that’s why it’s so great. I love it when they take away a bit of the towel to test it, and then come back with all the horrific results, telling them that if they even consider wiping their hands on that manky towel again they will die immediately of salmonella poisoning. Then the person pretends that their house was never dirty and that they didn’t put those spider eggs on the cooker.
By the end of their programme they finally cave in, saying, “Aah, I’ve seen the error of my ways. I could have died of salmonella poisoning. Now what shall I do?” To which the answer is always “clean your house you bloody manky person.” Then those two scary women come back with a surprise visit the next week, only to find the house in a filthy state, with the housekeeper all grey and withered on the sofa, with spider eggs in his nostrils.
I don’t think you get action like that in Bring Your Husband to Heel.