Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and well-known for her own very public battle against her weight, visits the chain-smoking and overweight Sargerson family at their home on a council estate in Hull in order to persuade them to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Written by
The Duchess of York AKA Sarah Ferguson ventures from her swanky abode in Manhattan to come back to Blighty to advise an underclass family (who didn't know who she was on their first meeting) from the city of Hull in East Yorkshire on how to eat healthily (though in between she visits her daughter at an exclusive public school) while residing at a decidedly humble and prosaic guest house.
This pointless programme,very thinly stretched over several episodes an hour long,seemed mainly an excuse for the duchess-in-exile to complain about the way she was treated for many years by the British Press (her weight was one of those reasons) and to prove deep down she's a real down to earth gal,willing to spend time with the most dissipated and downtrodden from the most deprived of council estates.To be fair,she comes across fairly well,although this would be predictable from the outset;the programme makers would hardly portray her as anything else.And it now seems to be even more predictable that UK TV programme makers seem to derive a considerable pleasure in featuring those from the lower social classes (D2,E) in their shows,as they are usually the ones most desperate for any money that is offered,and usually do not understand or comprehend the relentless way they are being manipulated so that the producers themselves earn a considerable amount more on their backs.
Stereotypes are relentlessly featured here;nobody works in the family (the parents particularly seem very sickly),all except the youngest child smokes;and they live on an inevitable diet of chips,burgers,fried eggs and crisps,with scarcely a piece of fruit or veg in sight.No stranger to excessive eating herself,Duchess Fergie manages to improve their various diets before the show's end,but for how long exactly? With the cameras gone,will the family in question go back to their junk food platters? Probably.Will the Duchess be in the slightest bit bothered about this family when returned to her opulent penthouse apartment in New York? More likely she'll be more worried about her daughter at Malborough College (or wherever it was).Nothing was achieved or accomplished by her brief sojourn back in Britain,only some much needed publicity after her departure from these shores some years earlier.
The traditional working class began to decline in the 1980's,to the extent now that it barely exists on estates like the one featured in this programme.An examination on why an underclass has developed in Britain since then,and on how the modestly educated and housed in that denomination could contribute to society like they used to (namely in regular manual employment,now itself becoming virtually extinct) would've been much more thoughtful,respectful and interesting.Not the mundane,shallow triviality on show here and in other UK TV shows (the Jeremy Kyle and Trisha Goddard chat shows are even worse examples).But it's doubtful the programme makers that be will desist from this particularly exploitative form of programming for the foreseeable future at least.
RATING:2 and a half out of 10.
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