The big surprise about Boys And Girls is that it’s not as terrible as you’d expect. This is largely because, despite the infamous “Babe or Minger?” polls, it doesn’t seem hell bent on ritually humiliating its audience of young wannabe hedonists, however much they might seem to deserve it. The other factor is compere Vernon Kay, who turns out to be almost likeable, partly because he’s not half as snide or cruel as you expect him to be, but also because he’s the man for whom the term “long streak of piss” was almost certainly invented, and you can’t help feeling just a bit sorry for him.
It’s all terribly derivative though, with the 60s-style music and dancing straight out of Austin Powers, the Boys and Girls segregation straight from Suggs’ Channel 5 karaoke show Night Fever, and the audition tapes straight out of the run-up to Big Brother. Nothing much happens, either; a couple of mild-mannered Babe or Minger sessions, the previous week’s winner showing off (and winning) his prizes, then it’s on to an impersonate-Vernon-dancing contest (OK, that’s tough) to decide next week’s £100K spender.
The trouble is that it’s not getting an audience; just one million for the first two weeks, with talk of demoting it to a less prestigious slot. That’s exactly what it needs, because whoever thought that the show’s target audience of fun-loving, riches-obsessed 18-25 year olds were going to be sitting in front of their TV at 9.00pm on a Saturday is either crazy or has spent too long in America with his teenage bride. Run this at 7.00pm, give DNA its rightful prominence, and the problem’s (possibly) solved. Perhaps those orthodox schedulers were right after all.