What to say if you liked it
In the choppy wake of Big Brother, here’s a reality show that isn’t packed with witless glitter-brained wannabes.
What to say if you disliked it
But the “social experiment” in which the men of Harby, Nottinghamshire are forced to cope without girlfriends, wives or mothers is full of nondescript characters instead. Plus two men who are so loathsome that Makosi seems sweet in comparison.
What was good about it?
• The uncovering of two new TV Monsters – Peter and Colin.
• Peter is a multimillionaire who lives away from the rest of the village in a 19th-century folly, to which he’s added a 45-bedroom extension that seems to have been modelled on a rundown council estate. Forced to go shopping with his children, his frightening parental techniques came into play. “Put it back unless you want a battering,” he told 11-year-old son Jack when he wanted some low-fat spread to go with the trolley load of junk food. “If I take you shopping once more, you are going to have the shit kicked out of you.” Peter – Mr Nouveau Riche – has nothing to do with the rest of the village – and the inhabitants of Harby can be very grateful for that. He even allows his children to urinate in his swimming pool.
• Colin is a farmer, part of the “old guard” who spend their lives making it as uncomfortable as possible for any villager who wasn’t born there. “It takes 20 years to be accepted here,” he warned. He’s one of those guys you used to see in scary films, sitting in a rural pub, tankard in hand, who would fall silent and unleash a deadly stare should a stranger enter through the creaking oak door.
• The good-natured women who were coached off to CenterParcs for a week, giggling away at the chaos their menfolk would cause without them.
• Lorry driver Andy’s culinary hopelessness – he even thinks spaghetti bolognese comes with rice.
What was bad about it?
• That tired reality documentary formula in which the narrator builds everything up as if it’s all going to be terrible, just so they we can breathe a sigh of relief when it turns out alright in the end. However, we do worry about the baby shown sucking on an electrical plug in the opening sequence.
• Apart from the horrible Peter and Colin, the other men seem unassuming and uninteresting, even the solictor-cum-evangelical Christian Andrew who allowed Colin to bulldoze away his plans for a nice picnic area on the playing field. Colin wanted lots of concrete and furniture made from rusty scrap metal. We fear for the foreheads of Harby’s children.