Catch up TV review: Kids on the Edge, 60 Days in Jail, I’m a Celebrity…
Ivan Radford | On 20, Nov 2016
Kids on the Edge (All 4)
Awareness of transgender issues has rocketed in recent months and years, thanks, in part, to TV shows such as Orange Is the New Black and Transparent. With that awareness has come a rising number of children who feel that they have been born into the wrong body – or, perhaps a better way of putting it, a rising number of parents who are open to acknowledging and understanding their children feeling that way. What, though, do they do next?
This insightful documentary, which makes a very good companion piece to Louis Theroux’s Transgender Kids film from earlier this year, takes us inside the only NHS gender identity clinic for young people, giving us a window into the support and treatments that are available. Director Peter Beard and his team have intimate access to two sensitive cases, but handle everything with respect and taste – and that same approach is adopted by the doctors too. Rather than rush in and label something, they’re careful to make sure that administering hormone blockers (which would halt each child’s puberty process) isn’t done too early, or applied in instances where the children are still working out what they want and who they are. Uncertainty lies at the heart of it – alongside bullying, sadness and suicidal thoughts – and Kids on the Edge is to be commended for not trying to push certainty onto anyone involved. “You should be proud of who you are and how you want to be,” says Matt. Nobody disagrees.
60 Days in Jail (All 4)
Prison is one of those things that we’re all familiar with through popular culture, but only a minority of the overall population really understand what it’s like first-hand. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that documentary TV so often seems to turn to jail for its subjects, giving us windows onto life behind bars. Channel 4’s latest US reality show (from A+E) goes one step further by following normal members of the public, who volunteer to enter Indiana’s Clark County Jail undercover, where their cellmates and guards don’t know that they’re not actual convicts. The result has a vaguely sensationalised hook of trying to root out corruption and crime from within, but as one cop struggles to fit in and one marine finds shifting to their surroundings much easier, this works best as a fresh way to look at what it’s actually like to be an inmate.
Photo: A+E / Channel 4
I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
A lot’s happened in the last 16 years. The Millennium Bug has been and gone. We’ve sent the first British astronaut into space. The world has seen its first black US President. Also in that time, ITV has sent 15 separate groups of marginally famous people into a tiny patch of jungle and made them eat bugs. And, sure enough, just as you think 2016 can’t any more unfathomable, ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… is back to do it again.
This year’s clutch of vaguely familiar names, unknown names and seriously-who-the-hell-are-these-people names include Countdown’s Carol Vorderman, Danny Baker and Scarlett Moffat, off Channel 4’s Gogglebox. The dwindling star quality of these Z-list celebs is matched only by their equally dwindling returns on-screen. What might once have had novelty value has long worn off. Now, the group (who themselves are used to the whole set-up too) is simply dull to watch – six days in and the programme is still captioning their straight-to-camera diary pieces with their names, not because there are so many of them but because so many of them are totally unmemorable.
The best Ant & Dec can manage when summing up a week’s “emotional rollercoaster” of events is that Danny Baker “stopped talking for almost 12 seconds”. “We’ve already alerted the Guinness Book of Records,” quips Dec, with a dawning look of existential fear on his face, as he notices he’s been doing this for almost two decades. Now that’s a record worth noting. Gossip mags and ITV News will still jump on any random remark made by Moffatt about her boyfriend and pretend it’s important, but with even the banter of Ant & Dec (the Duracell Bunnies of enthusiastic TV presenting) sounding like they’re hostages under duress, surely it’s time for ITV to call it a day. At least Strictly Come Dancing, where Ed Balls can currently be seen doing Great Balls of Fire on a flaming piano descending from the ceiling, puts in some effort.
Photo: ITV Studios