A Girl"s Guide to TV, BBC2 — light, bright and funny

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Driving, understanding politics and growing leeks — all things women can’t or shouldn’t do, as expressed by the pundits of yesteryear in A Girl’s Guide to TV. “I didn’t choose the title,” says presenter Rachel Parris (Sunday, BBC2, 10.50pm). This ironic “celebration of women on TV” covers such issues as fashion and make-up, where male experts merrily “fashplained” lipstick and hemlines, politics — “she’s a lady MP!” — and cars, featuring a petrol station for women (“The nozzle’s really light!”) and, unfortunately, Jeremy Clarkson.

Parris’s script is light, bright and funny. It’s a shame, she muses, that the only phrase a man can summon up for helpers on voting night is “nubile young ladies”, when “hard-working women” is the same number of syllables. She observes that Fanny Cradock “made even the most simple patisserie recipe sound like a Victorian ghost story” and that vintage workout guru Eileen Fowler demonstrates “the wafer-thin line between being fit and experimental theatre”. It’s not as though the women don’t fight back: 1980s pop singer Annabella Lwin trounces the creep who announced her with the words “all froth and flounce, acres of chiffon and lace”, and Jayne Mansfield, who once cut the ribbon on a flyover, replies to the patronising observation, “You aren’t actually associated with flyovers” with the disarming, “Is anyone?”


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