Did we like it?
No, we f*cking didn’t! A godawful mess of a programme, this thoroughly depressing look at the lifestyle of the self-styled King of the Chavs – Michael Carroll – initially looked as if it was going to find reasons for Carroll’s behaviour, then gave up as the evidence of his obnoxiousness overwhelmed any redeeming features he may have. The only viewer to derive any pleasure from this programme would have been the manager of the Argos store in Norwich, as Carroll and his mates looked to have bought up the whole of his ‘jewellery’ stock. We felt in need of a shower as the credits rolled.
What was good about it?
• Interviewer and narrator Keith Allen tried to find out what lay beneath the demon painted by the tabloid stories – and showed that the press are more than willing to exaggerate or lie in order to make a story more sensational. Carroll’s ‘house in a quiet Norfolk village’ turned out to be right next to a busy dual carriageway – which made the complaints of car noise somewhat redundant.
• Allen’s description of Samantha’s mother (Carroll’s girlfriend) as ‘Biffa Bacon’s Mum’ made us chuckle, and was bang on the money.
• Allen managed to find some humanity in Carroll who professed his unconditional love for his daughter. (who he predictably never sees)
• During the charity boxing match against ex-Gladiator Rhino, there was a hilarious shot of Carroll sending in punch after punch into Rhino’s stomach as Rhino held his arms above his head with an unconcerned grin on his face.
• Clips from GMTV’s coverage of Carroll with Andrew Castle and John Stapleton’s obvious distaste for the subject showed GMTV up as the televisual equivalent of the Daily Mail that it really is.
What was bad about it?
• The title and ad-break music which consisted of the words,” F*cky, F*cky, F*ck, F*ck” being shouted over a cod-heavy metal ‘tune’ accompanied by a Burberried animated depiction of Carroll giving everyone the finger was as charmless as it sounds.
• Keith Allen’s mumbling and post-modern voiceover – cutting to him in the recording booth; deliberately contradicting himself – quickly grew tiresome.
• At the charity boxing match, as some braying City boys started giving Carroll some stick, his girlfriend Samantha (who had eyes that were deader than a decayed corpse) charmingly turned round and began spitting at them. What a catch she was!
• Watching the antics of Carroll and his entourage of hangers-on would make even a committed liberal come around to the idea of enforced sterilisation. It was a depressing look at Britain’s underclass and showed that a surfeit of cash will not enable you to polish a turd. But that’s the whole principle of a lottery – it isn’t going to reward intelligence or talent, just pure luck.
• Throughout the programme, Carroll’s inarticulacy had been subtitled to enable us to understand him. During the last five minutes of ‘confessional’ interviews they were removed – a clumsy attempt to signpost the serious part of the documentary. The contrition and regret showed in this last segment was fatally undermined by Allen’s end credits voiceover that revealed that Carroll had beaten up the unlovely Samantha and was currently serving time in prison for using a baseball bat to assault someone at a Christian rock concert.
• The conclusions drawn could have been summed up by anyone with half a brain at the beginning of the documentary: tabloids lie and exaggerate; the media love a cheap and easy story; Michael Carroll is an uneducated lout who needs help; money can’t solve all your problems.