Ann Widdecombe gets a reality TV show on the Beeb

#1
Please God, not this! We've had to suffer numerous Big Brothers, Love Island, Survivor, Wife Swap etc. I think we've had enough of reality TV - so why give Ann Widdecombe her own reality show?

She won’t ‘do’ sex but TV agony aunt Ann Widdecombe cleans up life’s other messes, says Deirdre Fernand

‘Now buck up! Sit up straight, can’t you!” When Ann Widdecombe hits the screens this Tuesday as television’s newest agony aunt, viewers may be tempted to leap off the sofa and jump to attention. Because this straight-talking 57-year-old Conservative MP has that effect on you. Here she is on the BBC, beamed into your living room, being paid to bark for a living.
In theory, the no-nonsense backbencher represents Maidstone and the Weald, but in practice we all know what she really stands for. It’s those other, less tangible, constituencies of middle England: Common Sense and Fair Play.

In Ann Widdecombe to the Rescue, she troubleshoots her way across Britain solving problems. Actually it’s not so much troubleshooting as hectoring and handbagging her way across the country. To the husband whose wife complains he plays too much golf? “Stop now!” To the Manchester girl who wants breast implants? “What is wrong with what Almighty God gave you?” To the boss of a hairdressing salon whose staff flout his anti-smoking rules? “You’re a real pushover.”

She is part straight-talking Sir Alan Sugar (without the expletives) from The Apprentice, part Aggie MacKenzie and Kim Woodburn from How Clean Is Your House?. “Yuck!” she exclaims when confronted by mouldy old food left in student digs in Sheffield. “It’s a filth-pit,” she says to camera.

Of course there can be few people in public life less associated with filth than Widdecombe. A famous convert to Roman Catholicism, she left the Church of England in 1993 in protest over its decision to ordain women. She has never married and lives with her 93-year-old mother in southeast London. She writes so-so-ish novels and collects teddy bears, neither of which could really be said to constitute a vice. A mere 5ft 1½in, she once defined herself as “fat and ugly ”, while her dark hair, now glossily blonde and bobbed, and crooked teeth earned her the sobriquet “Doris Karloff”. When she described Michael Howard, during his bid for the Tory leadership in 1997, as having “something of the night about him”, unkind tongues countered that there was something of the fright about her.

So how is modern Britain going to react when she turns up on its doorstep? What started as a wheeze, an Ask Ann advice column in a national newspaper, has now become reality TV. Is this spinster of the parish qualified to dispense wisdom in messy, modern-day Britain? Perhaps she has gone all touchy-feely.

Hardly. This is the woman who has ruled out talking about sex. “I don’t do the usual agony aunt stuff. I’m not a therapist”, she has said of her new series. “I don’t do sex, I won’t even go there . . . What I do is bring common sense to the table.”

What she also brings is instant moral certainty coupled with practical solutions — something her bickering clients, who are all experiencing problems in relationships, respect. Take Anoushka, for instance, a girl from Manchester who wants her father’s permission to have breast implants. Widdecombe doesn’t flinch. Her first idea is to ask the father to “send her to Africa for a year to get a sense of perspective”. Next she takes her clothes shopping and tells her how attractive she is in the latest fashions. But Anoushka isn’t convinced. Widdecombe’s trump card is to introduce her to a woman whose boob job went disastrously wrong, spilling silicone into her bloodstream. The effect on Anoushka? Wait and see.

On the scale of human tragedy, these problems hardly figure large. But for the unhappy families, they are no less real. And to Widdecombe’s credit, she never says “Pull yourself together”, although she must have been sorely tempted.

Indeed her screen persona is surprisingly considerate. She may occasionally bark, but there is no disguising her compassion. At the centre of Ann Widdecombe, or Widdy, as she styles herself on her website, there is a strong moral core. She rails at worldliness and its obsession with the superficial. Her values are born of her faith and there is no doubt in her universe. “What matters is spiritual wellbeing”, she reminds us as she travels to yet another domestic crisis.

Of course there is nothing new about Widdecombe’s role. Our society may have its Claire Rayners and Anna Raeburns, our traditional wise women, but agony aunts have a history dating back to the 17th century. The very first problem pages, dealing with matters such as troublesome servants and dress codes, appeared in a gentleman’s magazine, The Athenian. One of the earliest “aunts” was a man of impeccable credentials — Samuel Wesley, father of the founders of the Methodist Church.

As Rosalind Miles, author of The Women’s History of the World, points out, women have traditionally acted as moral guardians of society because they had everything to lose. In the days before the pill, for example, one wrong pregnancy could result in social ostracism. So when the first prisoners were transported to Australia, it was considered politic to send out as many females as possible. Despite being convicts, they were described as “God’s police”. “

Men could exercise sanctions,” she adds, “they could throw out a pregnant daughter, for example, but it was women who drew up the social rules, particularly in small towns.”

God’s police? Following in the footsteps of Wesley? More power to the Widdy roadshow. The devout Ann Widdecombe must be in seventh heaven.

Ann Widdecombe to the Rescue is broadcast on BBC2 on Tuesday
Momma, fetch me my shotgun.................

Origin: timesonline
 
#2
Of course she won't 'do' sex. That might lead to questions about why this repressed lesbian Behemoth considers herself uniquely qualified to preach to the masses, in that nauseating way only a rabid Catholic (convert) can. Sort yourself out first, love, before you start doling out advice to the rest of us...
 
#3
What's wrong with Anne Widdecombe, anyway? I think she's drop dead gorgeous, and have lusted after her for years, in fact I never missed an episode of fat club.
I'll defo be watching that program, just in case she decides to wear a short skirt and give us all a flash of her badly-packed kebab.

I'm a manager of men, you know. Mwahahahahaha......
 

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