Who Are You Calling Fat? was a Very Big Brother and ended up being thin on the facts

There was a lot of flesh on display in Who Are You Calling Fat? (BBC2, Mon/Tues, 9pm), but this documentary was a little thin.

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 12:14 pm

Nine people, variously described a fat, plus-size or living with obesity, were stuck together in a house to see what would happen.

The producers chose the extremes from either end of ‘the fat community’ – those who saw any mention of their size as oppressive, and those who hated the way they looked and would do anything, even getting half their stomach cut out, to lose flab.

So far, so Very Big Brother.

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But, with the exception of ‘fat activist’ Victoria, most of the people in the house managed to find some common ground.

Babs’ story, in particular, was heartbreaking. Having suffered depression after being almost forced to give up her baby for adoption, she has battled her weight and binge-eating for most of her life. She saw her size as ugly, as something to be changed, particularly as it could be affecting her health.

Victoria, on the other hand, viewed “health as a social construct”, and seemed to believe Babs was wrong, and if she could only see the light, she would be happy.

But let’s address the elephant in the room here – me. I’m overweight, by some considerable distance, and I know that I eat too much and don’t exercise enough. Yes, genetic factors affect certain people, making them predisposed to gain weight, but that makes personal choices even more important.

Fat is not a “political movement”, it’s a matter of people being comfortable with their choices, not vilifying them for it, and ensuring people are as well-informed of the risks as possible.

Beyond an unpalatable freak show element, this show didn’t have anything illuminating to say, and that’s about the size of it.

Guilt (BBC2, Wednesdays, 9pm) is an excellent little black comedy about two brothers trying to cover their tracks after an accident. With Mark Bonnar being splendidly weaselly, this should be a hit.

The Great British Bake-Off (Channel 4, Tuesdays, 8pm) has ended, and despite this year’s themes and challenges being rather too esoteric, it is a shame such a thoroughly nice show is gone for another year.