Snobbishly engrossed in other people's lives

Last updated 11:25 01/07/2013
Wife Swap UK
ROLE PLAY: Wife Swap UK will feature several scenarios including Samantha Stevens, who swaps her brood and thriving pub in Cornwall for life as breadwinner of her "new" family.

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What are they thinking of? I mean, really. Being part of a programme called Wife Swap.

Is this a sequel to Pet Swap, where you get to have a chihuahua for a week in exchange for your labradoodle? Or Servant Swap where you exchange your cleaner for someone else's Mr Green?

Prime (8.35pm Saturday) is showing Wife Swap UK. Series 10. Ten!

Sadly, this is the sort of thing this reviewer is very snobbish about watching and yet when she dutifully does, gets totally engrossed.

It's because it's about people. They're not climbing mountains or getting personal with penguins, they're just ordinary (sometimes very ordinary) people going about their daily business.

For two weeks, they're out of what is creepily called their comfort zone and are placed in the house of someone very different.

They're not entirely swapped of course - well if they are, ever, we don't get to see the underclothes in a hastily-pulled-off pile beside the swapped husband's bed.

Putting your name forward for one of these programmes, you'd have to be mad to show any strong views in advance.

The producers pounce. This week we had a rather strict Bulgarian woman who thought gay marriage if not exactly a capital offence, then something very odd indeed.

Married to a man who wrote about bridge for a living, and when not doing that watched cricket, she left behind a 10-year-old daughter who spent most of her time watching television, and a pigsty- dwelling son.

She, of course, got sent to the home of two gay dads who doted on their daughter, running her to school even though she was 17, buying her any little bit of clothing she desired.

The usual fun ensued. Both thought the others were making mistakes in the way they were bringing up their children. Both lots of children were treated differently by the new parent, and in two out of three cases admitted to enjoying the difference.

The boy slob, however, was quietly edited out. Even reality TV knows a battle lost before it's begun.

There's a programme called Celebrity Wife Swap too, I've never watched it because I won't have a clue who the celebrities actually are and I have a prudish dislike of those famous for just being famous.

Perhaps they could do one called Husband Swap. Charles Saatchi could swap with . . . nah. No-one would have him.

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- The Dominion Post


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