TV review: Broken teeth and other wonders of life

Brian Cox and friend. Photograph: BBC
30 Jan 2013 @ 8.28 am
| Entertainment

"The wives and girlfriends think what their other halves do is brilliant": Fighters' Wives. Photograph: Channel 5
“The wives and girlfriends think what their other halves do is brilliant”: Fighters’ Wives. Photograph: Channel 5


lucy-bellerby-byline-photo-bwYou’ll get as much entertainment filming late-night York kebab van skirmishes as watching this “sport”, says a most insolent Lucy Bellerby


bellers-on-the-box-logo-230

Fighters’ Wives does what it says on the tin (Fighters’ Wives: The World Of MMA, Thursday, Channel 5), and follows round a bunch of cage fighters and their partners.

This is a “sport” mainly known for Alex “The Reidinator” Reid, who used to go out with Jordan, has an alter ego as a woman called Roxanne, and allegedly built a sex dungeon in Chantelle Houghton’s basement.

It’s also called MMA (mixed martial arts) but it seems to be less about karate and more about kicking the living daylights out of each other until there’s blood all over the floor. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to watch that but it seems to be fairly popular, and the wives and girlfriends think what their other halves do is brave and brilliant.

One of them is a posh girl nutter who cries the entire time, even before her boyfriend has started spitting his teeth into the baying crowd. She met him though sending him an email telling him she was his biggest fan (mental).

Another supports her lad by being a ringside girl; she states “we make cage fighting glamorous!” by stalking around in some pink pants and a crop top in front of a few hundred bloodthirsty leering men. In her day job she’s an engineer, which would make you think she’s a little cleverer than she acts.

There’s also a woman who is a doctor, who treats her boyfriend and the other blokes after they’ve had a bit of their ear bitten off, again showing how delightful cage fighting is.

As for the men, they make the point that in order to fight, hours and hours of training every week are needed. And I’ve got no doubt that they’re skilled and extremely fit and strong. But the programme hasn’t changed my mind; when it comes down to it it’s not that different to the lads breaking each others noses outside Oki’s of a Saturday night. I’ll say the same to all of them: leave it, get some chips and go home.

Brian Cox and friend. Photograph: BBC
Brian Cox and friend. Photograph: BBC

The Wonders of Life iPlayer listing is accompanied by a picture of Mr Cox cuddling a doe eyed lion cub, which means that women all over the country who are tuning in to get some science action will inadvertently discover he has made their ovaries explode (Brian Cox Wonders Of Life, Sunday, BBC2).

“What is the meaning of life?” he ponders. “Do we go on after we die?”. It’s at this point (ten minutes into the programme) that I stop being able to understand. He starts bandying about phrases like “gravitational potential energy” and “the first law of thermodynamics”, and I’m completely lost.

This may have something to do with the fact that I barely scraped a C in GCSE science and also because I’m too busy trying to see down Brian’s top to pay attention. Sorry Brian love what’s that? Something about physics? I didn’t hear you because I was imagining how if I ever met you I’d try and cut off a bit of that beautiful hair so I could keep it in a locket.

He does loads of good experiments with beakers and water and bits of paper, which are clearly designed to explain things to the thickest of people, but my brain can’t handle it. Luckily there’s not just beautiful D:ream keyboardists to look at if you fancy ignoring all the science bits.

David Attenborough’s Africa has given us all a taste for nature shots you can salivate over, and Wonders of Life is shot in a similar way. Watching it in HD, you’ll be pressing your nose up against the screen and screaming “BUT THIS CAN’T BE REAL!” at the kaleidoscope of beautiful landscapes. However it’s easy to get confused when you’ve just walked down the cycle track in Tang Hall, past heaps of steaming horse poo and burning motorbikes.

I’m going to keep watching it every week in the hope that I learn something, and prove my old head of science (who called me “the most insolent child I’ve ever met”) wrong.

Plus, Brian’s not going to want to marry someone who doesn’t understand proton gradients, is he?