Tuesday’s TV: BREAKING NEWS! Trinny and Susannah say something pertinent
TRINNY AND SUSANNAH MEET THEIR MATCH, ITV, Tuesday 13th January, 8.00pm Alert Me
So, two of the least appealing people I can think of are back on television. On a good note, they’ve been banished to the countryside, which keeps them out of my way, at least.
Trinny and Susannah’s country ladies almost validate Little Britain’s outrageous stereotypes of Middle England. They include a beekeeper with a high waistline Simon Cowell would be proud of, a gratingly nice village GP and assorted bellringers, Sunday school teachers and Conservatives. At its worst, this almost veers into freakshow TV, at least from my resolutely urban point of view, but also manages to bring up valid points about the issues which plague women with any position of power or status. It’s not a problem confined to the countryside, though. Very few high-powered women ever come across as feminine, let alone sexy, for fear that they won’t be taken seriously by their male counterparts. Trinny and Susannah, intentionally or not, have actually managed to bring an important issue of gender politics to the surface in a fairly subtle way. I’m…staggered, frankly.
The Mayor and the Vicar are the two best examples of this. Both are operating within a male-dominated world and both have sacrificed any sense of femininity out of respect for the marks of status which they have to wear in their work. With two very different shapes and tastes, as well as ages, Trinny and Susannah are presented with two separate challenges and it is in these makeovers that for the first time Trinny and Susannah didn’t seem merely the cynical, money-hungry fashionistas which they come across as. With their help, two successful and happy people turn into happy, successful and feminine women, which is no mean feat.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Trinny and Susannah still get on my nerves almightily. They are the very weakest element of the program. Try your hardest to ignore Trinny and Susannah, and their Country Ladies actually make for a decent bit of television.
By Chris Harding