Sunday, March 07, 2010

Awful concepts for TV programmes: Meg On The Dole

Can you imagine a crazy world in which Meg Matthews had no job?

Actually, yes, because she's not really ever had a job, has she? So the stretch for BBC One's Famous, Rich And Jobless isn't so very great.

The programme is one of those well-meaning but fundamentally flawed programmes which take rich people and ask them to play at being poor for a few days. It's like saying "close your eyes to find out what being blind is like"; a programme which told some of the long-term unemployed that there's going to be car coming at the end of the week to take them off to a life of never having to worry about cash again. I'm sure even the second generation unemployed could mumble to sort of platitudes that Meg and co will come up with.

In fact, Meg has given the Sunday Mirror a preview of what those platitudes will be:

"This was one of the most challenging things I have ever done and made me realise a lot about life," said Meg, 43, who is now an interior designer and engaged to art professor Peter Siddell, 49. "I know I am privileged. I can give my daughter a good upbringing and I don't have the worries a lot of people have.

"I have never taken anything for granted, but now if I look in the mirror and think 'does my bum look fat?' I realise how shallow it seems."

The unemployed, you see, are too busy being unemployed to give a hoot how they look. You'd never see someone living on benefits feeling like they might be out of shape. Caring about not being fat is a rich person's privilege.
Meg says: "Unemployed people are not lazy, sitting round on their arses. Being jobless affects your self-esteem and you have to find a way to carry on."

Having a woman who... what is it you do for a living again, Meg?... having a woman who does that pat you on your head. That'll do wonders for your self-esteem.

If only all the unemployed could be kept as adoring pets for Meg Matthews, eh?
"I have been through the whole rehab thing, for depression," she admits. "I can understand how some people who have not got a job can get drawn into that cycle. You find things to fill the void, be it drink or drugs. I had seven years with Brit Pop, seven years with Noel, the sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll.

"When I hit 40 I went into a depression. I had the massive house, the Porsche, great clothes, but I didn't have someone to hug. I'd give it all away to have that relationship."

Mmm. You'd be surprised how many people living in Anfield have tried to the fill the void of only getting a few million in the divorce settlement by boozing, and then nipping off to rehab for an I Feel Sad holiday. Happened all the time.
Meg says her time on the show has made her change the way she lives. She has slashed her weekly supermarket bill, and adds: "We go round turning off lights and don't waste water."

Pssst... Meg, that's meant to be your 'it's changed my life' smugline for 'Famous And Trapped On A Melting Glacier: Celebrities live the climate change life of a polar bear'.