Did we like it?
From Channel 4, we expect much more than this TV equivalent of a flick through Hello. We were hoping for analysis and insight and some humour. Got none.
What was good about it?
• Laughing again at a knackered, dishevelled Cherie opening the door the day after her old man became PM.
• Cherie is turning into a cross between Liz Smith and Dawn French (and Antonia Fraser resembles Miss Piggy)
• The clip of a black and white (and probably orange) Judith Chalmers enquiring about suppertime in the Wilson household
• Mary Wilson was the most human of the featured women – but she loses points for her poor poetry
• Discovering that Thatcher was not only without a heart; she lacked taste, too. Norma Major was disgusted when she moved in to 10 Downing Street and realised it had all the class of a sink estate flat
What was bad about it?
• Cherie’s grumble that living in 10 Downing Street was like “living in a goldfish bowl”. How many goldfishes live behind iron gates and bullet proof doors with a copper on duty outside? Maybe she should channel her energies into getting her husband to quit now to save her from a living hell (and the nation from pseudo-Tory policies).
• We didn’t get to see that post-Cheriegate sobbing.
• Scandal about Cherie’s greed was glossed over with a blink-and-you’ll-miss it newspaper montage.
• Against our better judgement we were forced, for the first (and last) time to agree with former Conservative Party spin doctor Amanda Platell’ when she observed: “She has flogged that family from the moment she sniffed Number 10. She uses her position as the Prime Minister’s wife to make money.”
• “Unguarded” footage of Cherie tossing her high heels away at a posh reception didn’t seem to be remotely spontaneous
• Cherie’s voice is like sandpaper when she’s not affecting her statesladyship – and it’s no wonder her husband has lost the plot after having to suffer her cackling laugh at the end of each sentence
• Cherie’s interviewing technique with the previous first ladies – stiff old Clarissa Eden, cuddly old Mary Wilson and mega-normal Norma Major – was so soft an appearance on Nigella Lawson’s chat show would be like the Spanish Inquisition in comparison.
• The intrusion of illustrative, pathetically literal pop music. Roy Orbison did particularly well, with Oh Pretty Woman, It’s Over and Only The Lonely all finding “suitable” places in the narrative.
• Narrator Gina McKee purring out the facts.