Belfast Telegraph

Look in the mirror C4, it ain’t all that nice...

By Gail Walker

So, Channel 4's doing it again. As Big Brother dies, it unveils its latest wheeze, Beauty and the Beast.

The show will feature an “attractive” person living with a person with physical deformities for a few weeks. Their residence will be covered in mirrors to emphasise the contrast both for the housemates and the viewer.

Freak show? Absolutely not. No, Beauty and the Beast will be “an immersive lifestyle experience that uncovers attitudes to looks and beauty”, say the programme makers. And, if you enjoy platitudinous flannel, a C4 spokesman offers: “The series aims to challenge people's narrow definition of beauty ... and will be key to our public service offering.”

Call me cynical but here’s how I suspect the show will go. A shallow bimbo meets a disfigured person. The SB is initially repulsed but eventually sees that beauty isn't just about looks. Cue tears and hugs. Lives will have been changed. The End.

The viewer will have had a good gawk at physical deformity, sneered at the airhead “pretty one”, and congratulated themselves on their own humanity.

Beauty and the Beast (why call people with deformity “beasts”?) is just more media cant. If it's not physical deformity, its strange neuroses or sexual weirdness dressed up in a public service remit to let both broadcaster and viewer off the hook.

Let's put it like this, if C4 is so set in its determination to “challenge people's narrow definition of beauty” why not give a person with a severe facial disfigurement a permanent contract to introduce the channel's T4 youth strand?

Or maybe that's just crazy talk ...

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