Joan Does Glamour

What people in television often forget is that we, as TV viewers, like television programmes to be entertaining and dumb. Good tips are all well and good, but not at the expense of something being a joy to watch.

As such, there is a lot of shows that fall into woeful self indulgence and prod, poke and cajole in the firm belief that what they are doing is not only useful, but important to the world.

One genre of programming that suffers the most from grandiose ideas is those concerning the Wardrobe Make Over. Trinny and Susannah fell into some mock counselling service and Gok Wan is wandering dangerously close to their televisual graves. No such worry on ITV1 though as they’ve decided to do away with all that and stick Joan Collins in amongst the proles in the baffling and strangely entertaining Joan Does Glamour (ITV1).

Whilst most make over shows feature stirring strings played over weeping single mums from Who Cares Where?, this show got Joan and placed her in the middle of people she probably hasn’t met the likes of since… well… okay… she may never have met The General Public ever.

Of course, this makes for a wonderful premise for a show because Joan is the living embodiment of a camp wet dream. By that, I don’t mean a summer getaway from aroused teenagers, but rather, like the tragic, dippy Queen Bitch that she is, she plays straight into that persona that is loved by a certain type of gay stereotype.

She tottered around Plymouth with three generations of a family and found herself in Primark (which, incidentally, is pronounced Pree-Mark if you want to be proper about it) and the like, looking at cheap clothes and sniffily derailing every choice made by the family. “You look like you want to commit suicide” and “I wouldn’t polish my silver with that!” being particular highlights.

However, surprisingly, she was gregarious and warm when faced with The Real World. She stopped and chatted to people and cooed at some of the clothes she found in the bargain rails. Naturally, this is not a skill you’d normally applaud a human for… however, this is TV. This is Joan Collins who is mental.

She went around the place offering virtually no advice to anyone apart from ‘make a bit of effort’ and, lo-and-behold, everyone had a good time. Joan didn’t start hugging them (God forbid – she’d probably wear special linen gloves to do that) and asking them how much their lives had changed… she effectively said “You look nice. Isn’t that nice?” The answer was “Yes.”

Show end.

It’s trashy, self aware and not in the business of giving itself a pat on the back at every turn. It’s a peer into the glazed eyes of Joan Collins and wondering what the hell goes on in that head of hers whilst she points at people in nicer clothes. It’s not an amazing, vital show… but it’s weirdly fun.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

In Joan Does Glamour, the actress, style icon and Hollywood legend will meet three generations of the same family and attempt to convert them to her brand of elegance and style.

Joan remembers a better Britain when everybody – regardless of personal circumstance – took care and pride in their appearance. She is a product of the time when no one left the house without looking their best and dressing properly. And she believes that if people made more effort, it would lift their self esteem and boost their self confidence.

Is dressing properly the key to feeling good about yourself and your surroundings? In the days of trainers and jogging pants, Joan certainly wouldn’t be seen in either. Having spent a lifetime in the public eye, she is one of the true great Hollywood legends. She was a style icon in Dynasty – one of the most glamorous television dramas ever – and with a unique combination of being forthright but warm and passionate, Joan believes that she has the answers on how to dress to impress – whilst sticking to a budget.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1