Bad Habits, Holy Orders - party girls turn to God in an unexpected delight

If they ever decide to do a remake of The Sound of Music, one song which will definitely need an update is My Favourite Things.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 20th October 2017, 8:20 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:10 am
The girls - and nuns - of Bad Habits, Holy Orders
The girls - and nuns - of Bad Habits, Holy Orders

Something along the lines of ‘mobiles and make-up and massive false lashes’ would be a start, judging by the five party girls who volunteered to spend four weeks in a convent for Bad Habits, Holy Orders (Channel 5, Thursdays, 10pm).

I’m not sure what I was expecting of this show. I think I had resigned myself to watching five gobby self- (and selfie) obsessed perma-tanned walking pouts have stand-up rows with ancient nuns with values stuck somewhere around 1850.

But what emerged was more rounded, and said much more about society as a whole, particularly the isolating effects of modern technology.

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The idea was to maroon these five modern girls in the traditional convent of the Daughters of Holy Charity in Norfolk. There they would put aside their lives of partying, social media and booze for quiet contemplation, and a spiritual awakening.

But as one nun, Sister Francis, said: “It’s in those moments of silence when you begin to look at yourself. And that can be hard.”

What emerged was that – even though each girl arrived with several suitcases and totes each –they brought much more emotional baggage, much of it linked to their self-worth and the validation they get for their behaviour from social media.

When they put technology aside and actually talked to each other, and particularly the nuns , they seemed to get much more from the exchanges.

Far from a judgmental parade of empty-headed nonsense, this was an unexpected delight – warm, genuine and human television.

Mindhunter (streaming now on Netflix) is a crime drama with a difference. You don’t see any crime. Instead, two FBI agents criss-cross 1970s America talking to serial killers. Transfixing television.

Another of those odd Subject with Random Celebrity shows, Ganges with Sue Perkins (BBC1, Thursdays, 9pm) was beautifully shot, but revealed more about Perkins than the great river itself.