The words, “how the other half live” have never been more applicable to a TV programme.
For this documentary, Jane Treays took a look behind the organza curtain of London’s debutantes who were all preparing for the pinnacle of young society events, Queen Charlotte’s Ball.
The organizers of this event, Jennie Hallam-Peel and Patricia Woodall, seem to be under the illusion they’re living in Victorian society. Their main concerns in life are that social etiquette is observed all the time, but most especially around royalty. In this film, that royalty was one Princess Katarina to whom the debs, the organisers and the film crew paid a visit. As you do.
Amid much curtsying and mock awe, it was obvious that Princess Katarina just wanted to be left alone. And I don’t blame her. Who wants a bunch of chinless hooray-Henry’s tromping through your Macedonian home? Not me. Not that I have a home in Macedonia but if I did, I wouldn’t want people called Jocasta or Araminta – I know – filling it with vacuous fluff.
And that’s what the subjects of this film amounted to; vacuous fluff. However, that said, the debutantes themselves didn’t take it all very seriously, but Jennie and Patricia did. I should also add though that these women and their protégés do a lot for charity, which is of course commendable…
However, while paying a visit to a charity for disabled orphans, Patricia had a little weep – in as much as she had wet-eye – when she heard some of the children’s stories, and was in fact moved to give them free t-shirts. Which reminds me a bit of that dumba** politician who went on a spin-doctor spree in Ethiopia and was almost mugged for her photo-opportunity chocolate bars.
All in all, this documentary was amusing enough if you can forget that half the world’s starving to death while those with more money than sense prance around London buying frocks that probably equal in cost half the third world debt.
And though perhaps we all yearn occasionally for a simpler time, the Jennie’s and Patricia’s of this world yearn for a time when the proletariat knew their place and you only saw a black person if you went orf on a jolly somewhere hot.