It’s weird that The Great British Body (ITV1, Wednesday, 4 June, 9pm) bucked the trend of just about every single ‘image’ programme on the box via two of the people who make the genre as famous as it is, Trinny and Susannah. Mostly, these shows tell you that you can feel good with the right kind of make-up and an accessory than accentuates your left calf, “because you have a cracking left calf dahlink”. This show was precisely the opposite. Instead of feeling good in heels, this show told you to strip every stitch off and good feel good… about you.
I don’t know whether it’s just something that Trinny and Susannah have found themselves doing, or it’s a transformation in character… I’d like to get all incisive and philosophical about the whole thing but I won’t for fear of boring you rigid or, boring myself rigid… anyway, whether this project was by design or default, it’s great to see two people making people feel good about themselves without the aid of… well… anything at all.
This season closer had the pair marching men and women up and hill to make a living human sculpture. In essence, this meant people lying down on a hillside making an image you could see from the air. The brilliant thing was the fact that men and women of all different sizes got completely naked to celebrate being themselves. There were all different shapes and sizes and no-one cared one bit. Even those that were lithe and nubile covered up with embarrassment… it seems that, no matter how you look, you gots the same hang-ups as everyone else.
So, getting naked in public is a great leveller. Everyone, once the initial crimson cheeks had flushed away, ended up happy and chatting away, even though that bloke over there with the beard has clearly got his balls out. Trinny and Susannah, gamely, joined in too. I’m not entirely sure that any other presenter would have been quite so keen to join in. With the presenters leading by example, everyone seemingly had a good time and a liberating time.
Of course, this is similar to the Dawn Porter prog’ where she derobed atop a London bus, but this was different. Where Dawn Porter demanded that people free themselves and be happy in their own skin, T&S wanted everyone to appreciate everyone else too. This wasn’t a mere ‘let’s feel good’ show… it was more… ‘let’s enrich ourselves’. As hippie as that sounds, it worked. From the air, the two sculptures looked impressive enough… but that really wasn’t the point. For one day, British prudishness was chucked on a pile of blue overalls in favour of being proud, pleased and different. Even if T&S go back to poking people and slagging their wardrobes, they can be mightily proud of this event.