Last Night’s TV – Drinking With The Girls

Drinking With The Girls

BBC3 offered up several televised boozing sessions as presenter Cherry Chadwyck-Healey – nope, I’ve never heard of her either, but I liked her a lot! – went on the pi** with women across the country in an attempt to find out what us ladies like to drink, why we drink and how our drinking patterns and preferences alter as we age.

To this end, Cherry spent time on the lash with groups of females who fell into her categories of “the seven ages of drinking.” They were under age drinkers, students, single twenty-ish year olds, professional thirty-ish year olds as well as mothers including middle-aged divorcees and finally grandmas…

Drinking With The Girls - BBC3

The point of the film, we were told, was to find out why drunken women get such a bad press and why they drink to excess in the first place. To be fair to the show, it wasn’t a very serious attempt at investigative journalism and didn’t try to be; it was really just an entertaining/shocking look at women who love their booze, but Cherry did chuck in some pretty scary statistics…

Alcohol related illnesses and accidents cost the NHS £2.7bn a year, the average cost of an ambulance callout to a drunken person is £650 and apparently, “no other drug costs the NHS more.”

This surprised me somewhat; between smokers and drug-takers of the heroin, cocaine etc., variety, I’d have thought they’d outweigh booze related costs vis-à-vis the NHS, but apparently not. Mind you, we did see the effects of teenage binge drinking in the first episode of The Hospital which, like much of Drinking With The Girls, didn’t make for pretty viewing either.

It was also claimed that England and Ireland have the “hardest drinking women in the world” and we drink eleven times more than our Italian or German opposite numbers apparently, but what of Scottish and Welsh women I’d like to know?

Anyway, during the course of her reportage, Cherry met with the aforementioned women of all ages and drank along with them, which produced some funny moments, some gross moments and some scary moments as things turned nasty with one group of girls.

One girl pee’d herself and many lost their dignity in a variety of ways;  alcohol does tend to magically rob one of dignity, and at one point, Cherry herself ended up being on the big white telephone to Ralph and Huey after a binge session, so kudos to her for allowing that to be aired. She had a good old drunken cry at one stage too…

We’ve pretty much all been there at some point – well, those of us who reside in England or Ireland anyway; can’t speak for the Scots or the Welsh – getting tired and emotional as a newt then spending the rest of the evening hoping someone will hold our hair back lest it get pebble-dashed with the curry we ate at the start of the night, or worse yet, the kebab we ate at the end of it…

Cherry Chadwyck-Healey

Cherry Chadwyck-Healey

And ultimately, the very exuberant Cherry came to the conclusion that women – irrespective of age – drink because they’re bored, lonely, depressed or simply because it’s the way of the night out… non-drinkers are often scorned and end up not getting asked out with the girls lest they raise the tone of the evening.

Drinking With The Girls - in tutus

There was very little chance of anything raising the tone of the night out with the twenty-somethings though who donned tutus and other ‘sexy’ gear with the sole intention of getting men to look at them and possibly provide their booze for the night.

One of the girls happily exclaimed, “We’re very modern… Do you think forty years ago they’d be sat here binge drinking, in a f***ing tutu, talking about sex?”

Well, one would assume not, unless there was some kind of post-war ballet dancer jamboree that got out of hand…

“Why do I have to be the little lady?” defended one young girl who was out on her hen night… and indeed, she wasn’t, not by any definition of the phrase.

Overall, it was an amusing, entertaining but rather sobering look at how god-awful we women can end up looking and behaving after a night out, but the trouble is, when the wine’s flowing and the music’s loud, we – even old farts like me who fall into the 40-something bracket – tend to forget that we’re going to end up making passes at our boss or hurling or falling off our heels, though I have to say, I’ve never pee’d myself during a night out. Well, not in an inappropriate place anyway – I’ve always used the proper receptacle!

I must confess to having embarrassed myself more times than I care to remember though… but at least it wasn’t on film. I hope…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.