Magazine article The Spectator

Scary Girls

Magazine article The Spectator

Scary Girls

Article excerpt

I haven't really turned gay, by the way. That was just an idle fancy I concocted while trying to find something interesting to say about that programme the other week about cottaging on Clapham Common. But there are times, I must admit, when I wish I was married to a bloke rather than a girl. And one of them came when the wife and I were watching the new series about 'people like us' - Wonderful You (ITV, Tuesday).

It happened during the opening credits in which the various female cast members were shown looking appropriately gorgeous. 'All right, then,' I asked Tiffany, 'which one of those do you think I'd most like to shag?' And, of course, she guessed instantly because that's one of the scary things about girls with whom you've been going out for a while: no matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise, they always know which sort of chick you fancy and which ones you don't.

Whereas me, I wouldn't have a clue which sort of bloke Tiffany fancied. I hazarded a guess that it might have been the boringly handsome dark-haired one (Greg Wise). But Tiffany reckoned he looked too pleased with himself, too smirky. Maybe, I wondered, the manky but lovable hero was more her type. He has, after all, a lot more in common with me. But I never found out because after I'd made a few more remarks along the lines of: `Do you think I'd like to sleep with her as well? And her? And her?', Tiffany suddenly said, 'I don't like this game.' It was a bloke thing, you see. She didn't understand.

Anyway, you now know at least one of the reasons why I'll be sticking with Wonderful You till the end of the series: the babes are so much prettier than the raddled old slappers on Sex And The City (Channel 4, Wednesday). But it isn't the main reason. I'm not that sad. No, the things that impress me more about the programme are that it's well-written, charmingly acted, chock full of good music, and - though I do have a couple of quibbles on this score - it gives a fairly plausible impression of what it's like to be thirtysomething in north London.

Obviously, I'm a bit biased on the latter score. As a thirtysomething, north-ish Londoner myself, I like to think that no one could have written a better drama series about thirtysomething north Londoners than me. And if I'd done so, I'm sure I'd have had far more characters who smoke and a lot more swearing and drugs. But given the pressures scriptwriters Chris Niel and Richard Lumsden must have faced writing for a mainstream channel like ITV and trying to attract an audience rather wider than just, er, thirtysomething north Londoners, it has to be said that they've done a pretty splendid job. …

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