Remote Control - Saturday November 29, 2014

Tittle tattle of the filthy rich and famous

Saturday, 29th November 2014, 10:00 am
Tatlers middle class commissioning editor Matthew Bell on Posh People: Inside Tatler

Having watched Posh People: Inside Tatler (BBC2, Mondays, 9pm), I can safely say that the world the writers of the esteemed society magazine inhabits doesn’t bear much in common with that of the regional press.

I’m pretty sure I have never worked alongside anyone called Gavvandra or Luciana, let alone the Marchioness of Milford Haven (social editor, 1995-2005, a caption helpfully informed us), or had an editor who described themselves as ‘a honking great Sloane.’ Newspapers have style guides – staff at Tatler get given a copy of Debrett’s when they arrive.

According to the voice-over at the start of this three-part documentary: ‘Every issue features the country homes of the British elite.’ If by ‘elite’ you mean entitled toffs with chronic underbites and a tenuous grasp on how the rest of us live, then yep, they’re elite.

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As when the staff are not cooing endlessly over the Duchess of Cambridge they’re taking an ‘amusing’ look at Poundland – you know, where the plebs go.

Or they’re making new boy Matthew – who claims to be middle-class, but is terribly prone to uttering the word ‘ghastly’ and so desperately wants to fit in – humiliate himself by dressing as, urgh, staff in a bid to gatecrash society events for a feature.

Following the moronic likes of Life is Toff and Made in Chelsea, maybe there’s some grand plan by TV producers to incite a revolution.

It Was Alright in The 1970s (Channel4) also offered an insight into another world – one where the societal values were strikingly different from today.

Using clips from TV shows and adverts of four decades ago, interspersed with interviews from the stars of the time, it was intriguing to see just how much things have changed.

To see rape used as a punchline in a sitcom (Butterflies) or a dirty old man leering over his braless ‘sexually liberated’ granddaughter was genuinely jaw-dropping. Even lovely old Sir Terry Wogan was shown telling a bikini-clad beauty pageant contestant that she was ‘a big girl’ for 16.

Obviously living in a post-Yewtree world has rendered large chunks of archive redundant, and clearly these clips were selected for shock value. But they did show how much things have changed – for the better – in what we will accept from mainstream media.

Chris Broom