Ur So V4in Review: B3LL3NDS

July 2, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

UR SO V4IN: Friday 3rd July, Channel 4, 7:35pm Alert Me

What’s the most extravagant purchase you’ve ever made?

We all have stuff that we’ve bought that we don’t need; little guilty pleasures and treats that keep us sane.

But I bet you’ve never shelled out 80 grand for a piece of yellow metal unless you’re rap star or a bling-encrusted footballer.

The UK apparently spends £84 million a year on personalised number plates, which makes you wonder where these people are; most people I know baulk at the idea of paying £3.50 for a sandwich.

And anyway, how much do you really pay attention to number plates? Other than the occasional chuckle when you spot a quirky combination, my guess is probably not a lot. But for a small subculture of people, five black letters on a yellow background would make all the difference to their lives.

One such person is Nigel, a neurotic accountant who nervously laughs every time the camera’s on him. He owns the number plate N2GEL – one short of his ideal of N1GEL, and the programme centres on his quest to meet the owner of his coveted prize.

Nigel’s insecurities are laid plainly on display – “I haven’t made a name for myself professionally so I’ve made a name for myself this way. Sad I know?. I would start laying into him at this point – this is a man who’s seriously considered paying 80 grand for a piece of yellow and black printed metal – but his self-deprecation is actually quite touching.

The owner of N1GEL is a Lamborghini driving millionaire, who takes every opportunity to shove his success in old Nige’s face. It’s like watching an automotive dick measuring contest.

There’s a little bit of titillation to be had with another Nigel who isn’t so much obsessed with his name on a plate but what rude combinations he can make up with the letters. He refuses to reveal what number plate he has until the end of the episode and when it comes it’s predictably anti-climactic. It’s depressingly puerile, akin to spelling rude words upside down on a calculator and affords nothing but a bit of Beavis and Butthead-style chuckling.

It’s a baffling glimpse of the image-obsessed sub-culture that some people inhabit, where it’s considered normal and not utterly insane to repaint your car to match the colour of your barbecue. Not exactly Panorama, but worth a quick look if you’ve got nothing better to do.

And if you are one of those people that are obsessed with number plates, go and find out how much this would cost you: B3LL3ND.

Jez Sands