I managed two minutes of Channel 4s Best and Worst Places to Live in the UK before switching to the refuge of the Champions League.
Middle class murmurings of chav culture have been gathering pace and acceptability over the past year. This program marks a point at which the prejudice seems to break free from its liberal ties, enabling it to flower into a phenomenon for the smug amongst us to smile openly at.
Self satisfied property experts Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer happily list the ten worst places to live in the country, they do so knowing that the people watching who call these places home can have no answer to their humiliating tone. Easington in County Durham is a prime example coming in at number 10 as one of the 88 most deprived areas in the country. While Phil Spencer happily lists the terrible education as a bad point, he neglects to mention the closure of the local colliery in 1993 as the cause of the deprivation.
It’s almost as if Channel 4 are championing the causes of Conservatism and New Labour as the providers of this clear cut divide. Enabling their target audience to make a failsafe and informed decision about their next greed inspired purchase.
It’s not just a bad concept either, the programming itself is shockingly bad in its makeup and production. For the ten worst, the viewer is bombarded with images of council estates, football shirts, graffiti and satellite dishes as the epitome of bad living. All accompanied by laughably bad hip-hop, as if black music and culture is somehow synonymous with bad house prices and those all important GCSE results. For the ten best it’s hanging baskets, leafy streets and pleasant white indie music. The embodiment of good fortune and everything to which we are supposed to aspire.
This exercise transforms a couple of fairly average TV presenters into a pair of opportunistic fucking superior students. It serves no purpose other than to reaffirm the educated classes of their privileged birth right at the expense of those less fortunate. As simplistic as it is justifiable.
This is not the self deprecating and witty middle classes that we love to mock at the Guardian. This is the reactionary brand showing their selfish and repugnant colours. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible.
On a more positive note, for their most recent album Some Cities, Doves recorded a song about one of the ten worst called, Shadows of Salford. There is a reason that people don’t write songs about the commuter hell that is Guilford, or the tedious boredom of Stratford upon Avon.