TV review: Helping through the medium of taffeta

Silk, meringues and table plans: The Wedding Shop Photograph: ITV
4 Mar 2013 @ 10.54 am
| Entertainment
Silk, meringues and table plans: The Wedding Shop Photograph: ITV
Silk, meringues and table plans: The Wedding Shop Photograph: ITV

lucy-bellerby-byline-photo-bwWedding phobic Lucy Bellerby approaches a confetti-strewn docusoap with trepidation – and a bucket handy


bellers-on-the-box-logo-230

I’m not the marrying type. I’m one of those (dead inside) girls who is nauseated by the wedding photos of Facebook friends, and bored to tears by discussions on centrepieces. When people start talking about veils my eyes glaze over and I start picking the skin around the side of my nails, for I find that far more stimulating than meringues and table plans.

The Wedding Shop (ITV) is, then, my idea of hell. The shop is named Confetti And Lace. Girls swathed in silk and sparkle twirl around as their mums clasp their hands to their chests, tears in their eyes, whispering as if they are in a hallowed cathedral – “eee love, you look like a bloodeh princess!”.

The owners of the shop, Marj and Jane, are perfect for the job; matronly, nosy, Yorkshire. They instruct the women on how to walk in the dress, how to put the dress on (“step INTO it darling”) and confess that they sometimes feel a bit sad when one of their favourite dresses is bought.

However their main talent is not for gowns, but for gossip. When a girl called Tammy comes into the shop and shares her troubled back story with Marj, she positively pulses with excitement at the thought of being able to help her via the medium of taffeta.

As much as I’m a horrible old cynic, Tammy’s wedding was lovely. Her punk dad walked her down the aisle in his spiked dog collar and purple Mohican, and as she said her vows the congregation choked up. And most importantly, the dress went down a storm. She looked like a bloodeh princess.

He's back… Frank Gallagher in Shameless on Channel 4
He’s back, but do we want him… Frank Gallagher in Shameless. Photograph: Channel 4

Frank Gallagher is back, exhaustedly mooching across the Chatsworth estate, half-heartedly knocking fag ash everywhere and muttering about long finished parties under his gin breath (Shameless, Channel 4). He’s as bored as the rest of us with Shameless, which is entering its 11th and final season.

He’s lost count of how many kids he’s unwittingly created, how many beer bottles he’s had smashed over his head, and how many drugs raids he’s been caught up in as it happens over and over again. It seems Chatsworth is having its own nicotine stained groundhog day.

Shameless was brilliant when it started; new and different. It stayed brilliant until about series three, then it just became depressing. Like an ailing old family pet who can’t walk and just lies at the bottom of the stairs in a puddle of its own wee, it should have been put down years ago. The characters are still acerbic, and the portrayal of life below the poverty line is sharp and dark. But none of the long-standing cast members have any redeeming features, and I can’t bear to watch another episode in which the vile Mimi clatters about her house, orchestrating the Chatsworth mafia, drowning puppies and painting her nails.

Hopefully Frank can find a nice warm spot somewhere behind a wheely bin, so he can curl up and wait for it to be over. He’s mumbled and tripped his way through life, marrying lesbians, being interred in a mental hospital, and head butting his kids. Who knows what will happen to him in the last series as Shameless desperately scrabbles for viewers. All I can say is hang on in there Frank, the end is nigh.