Mary, Queen Of Shops, BBC2

Did we like it?
While we regard boutiques with horror (like hell but with acrylic slacks instead of flames), we do enjoy seeing Mary Portas dressing down errant shopowners and this second series began with a classic.

What was good about it?
• The undoing of smug Amanda Collins, the blinkered Blinkz owner who caters for Ascot’s larger ladies (the ladies who latte), people she regards with utter distaste even though she’s hoping to get her slender hands on their fat purses. Mary displayed Ramsay-ish relentlessness in her attack on the sour-faced anti-hero (“Is this woman for real?”), and deservedly so.
• It’s an entertaining programme. Mary has an amusing touch and puts a lot of work into making her subjects see the error of their ways.
• Amanda reminded us of Morwenna Banks in Saxondale.
• Laughing cynically as the fashion world trots out expressions such as “that top isn’t on-trend; that’s very last season”, “vitamin C colours” and “the circus element is really big”.

What was bad about it?
• Many of Mary’s most withering observations about Amanda were made to the camera rather than to the woman herself.
• Amanda accusing her clientelle of having “bouncy castle bellies”, big necks, misshapen bodies, problems with perspiration, stumpy bodies etc.
• Mary’s lame renaming suggestion (it was adopted) of The Fit because Amanda does some fitness training on the side to make ends meet.
• Amanda saw the light. We prefer it when the subjects remain stubborn and are hoist by their own petards. Amanda avoided that by changing her attitude and her dingy shop. A good programme for happy ending lovers; a bad one for schadenfreudenistas.


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