Thursday, May 24, 2007

There's Something About Mary Whitehouse

For those of a non-British persuasion, Mary Whitehouse was, to most of the country, a nitpicking God-Botherer who famously campaigned against the decline of British television from the Sixties onwards.

If Mary was still alive and she caught a pipette of what I've just been watching, she would've died from excess Moral Outrage.

I had been trying to learn something from 'Mao's Bloody Revolution' except bloody digital TV was breaking up in earnest, rending this particular chapter of world history into a series of strobe effect talking heads and stuttered archive footage to an accompaniment of stammering voiceover.

So I flicked over to BBC3 and caught their latest reality offering, Filthy, Rich & Homeless. And with a title like that, I don't need to explain that they took a handful of Britain's richest fameseeking dullards and filmed them sleeping rough to offset some of that prosperiguilt that no doubt got them signing up for the venture in the first place. And the general consensus was, homelessness isn't very pleasant.

But that wasn't the declining TV. That came when I flicked over to Channel Four, who were screening a programme I'd never seen called Embarrassing Illnesses, an intriguing subject handled with all the sensitivity of a war crimes trial being presided over by Spongebob Squarepants.

Embarrassing Illnesses features three resident doctors who examine a seemingly endless line of ordinary people willing to remove their clothes and disclose their sores for the sake of entertainment. It doesn't help that the disembodied voiceover is disconcertingly knowing, as if the narrator is well aware that we're all tuning in to laugh at scabs and lesions. And nor does it help that the background music is on the chipper side, a la Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, or Eurotrash. 'Isn't this a jolly romp?' it seems to scream as a young lady has crusts of scalp removed for analysis.

But that was just filler stuff before the juicy main course. Now I'm not one to talk at the television. In fact, when I'm on my own, nothing passes my lips apart from the odd 'Fuck' if I stub my toe or set fire to my dinner again, or else I'll release the occasional world-weary sigh of a life crushed by its own unique unremarkability. But ten minutes ago, and with Large Northern Flatmate nestled far away in his bedroom, I released a loud, genuine yell.

Visiting Dr Jessen was Bryan, an amiable, rosy cheeked pensioner. Slightly rotund and with a big, Christmassy white beard, he put me in mind of Santa Claus in a casual sweater, nipping off to his GP during the quiet period - except this Santa had an itchy cock.
'My foreskin was becoming rather tight so I had a circumcision' he explained a bit too honestly for my liking, 'but now I'm finding things a little sore.'

It was then that I felt myself coming over a little Mary Whitehouse (don't take that literally.) After all, if our cherished Senior Citizens no longer mind discussing their most intimate secrets in the once-private confines of the Doctor's office to millions of gawpers, then we've truly gone to hell in a handbasket.
That, and what we've done to Iraq.

Dr Jessen asked Brian to pop his trousers down.
'Erm?', I distinctly remember thinking.
The good Doctor then rummaged around below, a cunning camera angle using an aged knee to conceal Brian's privates. But they didn't remain private for long. Without warning, my impressive 36" screen became dominated by the sight of a 72-year-old bellend in extreme close-up as it was slowly prised from it's tight foreskin home, like an angry red peanut being shelled.

'Oh My God!'
There's the yell.

In front of me, being prodded and poked and invading my home, was a tiny wrinkled member covered in weeping red sores, above a disturbingly immense set of balls. In shock, I looked at the time. It was only 8:40! Surely the watershed is at 9pm, when we can finally be adult and hear swearing and look at tits? Yet the tits came only five minutes later in a girls' changing room. In a sequence that was one part informative breast examination and twenty parts soft porn, Dr Dawn Harper encouraged one member of this local hockey team to remove her top so she could learn the proper way to examine herself. In close up. Once that was done, Dr Dawn asked the rest of the girls to take their tops off, which they did in earnest whilst giggling over more chipper music. All that was missing was Sid James's filthy laugh and the sound of a slide whistle.

Come back Mary Whitehouse. I'll join your howls of disgust from beyond the grave when I tune in next week.

By the way, it would be wrong of me not to mention that Little Bird was in town a couple of days ago, so we met up for a cheeky beer. And what lovely company she is.
Trucking contractors!


la fille mariƩe said...


(that was for the television stuff, not for your meeting with Little Bird -- that I want to hear all about!)

Anonymous said...

Do you think they were paid?
They must have been.I can't fathom a load of Brits going porn starkers like that any other way.
Or do they always do as told???

Han said...

I guess you missed the guy with piles last week then. There were loads of close up shots. Mmmm, nice.
What I don't get is why these people keep saying they were too embarassed to go to a doctor, yet are willing to be filmed for this!

Angela-la-la said...

That was quite the scariest dick I've ever seen. It then got worse when the doctor mentioned the smell!

At that point I tasted a little bit of sick.

monkey typist said...

i only saw the 'after' and thought that was yucky enough...

the hockey gals were fab though it was all a bit...oh, all my clothes have fallen off...

londongirl said...

Crikey. I can hear the yell now. But a snort of laughter from me at your reaction.

I think I'm missing out - I haven't watched telly for a couple of weeks. I must get back there and get back ranting.

Little Bird said...


Looks like you've been using that lovely sunshiny weather I've left behind for you well by watching TV, and crap TV at that.

Mind you I'm sitting here watching it drizzle out the window with 'How to look good naked' on the box. What do I know!

fwengebola said...

LFM ~ Little Bird is very charming company with a delightfully naughty glint in her eye when she smiles.
Anon ~ I think Brits will do anything for immediate free healthcare as opposed to a year long wait, by which time, most have died.
Han ~ PILES?! Surely they didn't do close ups. God, I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
Ang ~ Oh. God. Yes.
"Hmm, there's a little bit of a smell." Doctors are so viciously blunt, albeit pokerfaced.
I think all my ex-girlfriends must have been in healthcare.
MT ~ And that's what made it so endearing to watch. Reality Carry On.
That and the breasts.
LG ~ You really aren't missing a great deal. But at the time of writing right now, BB's back. So there's my life over.
LB ~ The weather's turned for the worse though. What does that mean???