I spent most of yesterday evening watching TV in bed, which is something I should do more often, because it’s brilliant. I got off to a bad start with Miranda, the new sitcom starring Miranda Hart, when I only realised several minutes in that it wasn’t a sketch show. Once over this initial hump, though, I started to enjoy it. There are some good jokes (my favourite is that Miranda, having been to public school, is too refined to bring herself to say the word “sex” and instead pronounces it “snex”) and, well, it takes a while to start enjoying new sitcoms even when they’re great, so I’ll give it a pass for now. Patricia Hodge was good as Miranda’s mum, although my suggestion, Penelope Wilton, would have been even better (I suggested her via Twitter; I’m not one of the programme-makers).
However. I would really love it if someone somewhere had decided to make a sitcom starring as its lead character a slightly odd-looking, slightly overweight and very funny woman who wasn’t a massive loser. Miranda’s character is 34, single, desperate for love and living with a flatmate, Stevie, who is also all of those things. Actually, it’s the last one which bothers me. The kitchen in which the scenes in the flat are filmed looks like a set from The Young Ones, and the jokes about Stevie bringing men home wear a little thin when both women are of an age when they ought to be able to have sex with whomever they like, whenever they like. I don’t mind if the BBC want to make a sitcom about a single woman’s search for love, but need she also be financially inept and a domestic disaster? Why can’t Miranda be comically bad at dating whilst living by herself, like real middle-class single women in their thirties do?
I also watched I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, whose title deserves the correct punctuation. Last night, we were treated to the sight of a middle-aged woman lying in a glass coffin wearing nearly nothing while a selection of sea creatures and creepy-crawlies were dropped down a funnel on to her chest. Her response was admirable, and she won a full complement of evening meals for her fellow celebrities and managed to tell Dec off at the same time. Bravo her.
But while I’ve always enjoyed I’m A Celebrity, I do wonder whether the cavalier attitude it displays towards animal life isn’t a bit passé, these days. Is there any reason it’s better to kill and maim witchety grubs and cockroaches for entertainment’s sake than it would be to kill, I don’t know, puppies? It’s compelling viewing all right, but does that justify it, when we’re simultaneously watching programmes about the number of species facing extinction due to human activity?
Which got me to wondering whether it mightn’t be possible to conceive of jungle-based challenges for the celebrities which were somehow designed to have a positive impact on their environment, rather than wiping out large numbers of its insects. I haven’t got quite as far as coming up with examples, but there are many people better qualified than me to think of something. I’m sure the brains behind the show could work with local conservationists to come up with something that was at once hair-raising and sustaining, rather than destructive. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous, but I’d like to think that one day it won’t, if some of us start saying it now.
In the meantime, like everybody else, I will be eagerly watching poor old Katie Price attempt “The Deathly Burrows” this evening.