So after five weeks of fighting, stitching, more fighting, sewing and even more fighting it’s time to bid farewell to Thelma Madine and her nine remaining traveller trainees however I don’t know how fond this goodbye will be. Just to draw out the process of Thelma picking the girls she wanted to take on as full-time employees, claiming she could only afford to employ two, we were treated to an extended edition of the show which surely would’ve been full of showing us the technical skills that these girls have learnt in the past six months. But no instead the extra minutes were spent seeing Thelma have dinner with her family, sewing tutor Paula taking the girls to a museum in Manchester and most of the girls fall out with at least one of the taxi drivers that takes them to the factory.
Anyway first off was Thelma’s final challenge to the girls which was to design and create a brand new outfit for themselves which they would then wear and model at a final fashion show. Thelma was disgusted that the initial designs the girls produced didn’t demonstrate the progress they’d made over the process so she instructed for them to be taken out by sewing tutors Paula and Selina to the Manchester Gallery of Costumes. As we were told this was the first time that any of these girls had been in a museum, and if you were ever to play a drinking game around this show I would suggest taking a shot every time narrator James Thornton tells you it’s the first time these girls have done something, so this meant that they spent their time slagging off the clothes or saying it was like being in a second hand shop. There was also the weekly instalment of Paula saying something rude, in this episode she said ‘willy’, and all the girls going off saying that it was inappropriate I felt this got old the first time it happened but for some reason the producers couldn’t get enough of it.
As the majority of the girls have had some sort of spotlight shone on them it was time for us to properly meet Roseanne who was the traveller singled out by tutor Sarah for having the skills of a reception child. As we learnt that Roseanne was actually one of the most accomplished sewers we got to see her home life but also discover that she wasn’t the best timekeeper with Thelma actually having to drag her out of bed in order for her to come to work. Though there were some heart-warming scenes when Sarah revealed that all of the girls had improved with their reading and maths skills with Roseanne in particular coming along vastly so much so that Thelma rewarded her with a watch for be able to tell the time. Praise was short-lived for Roseanne as she missed work again the day before the fashion show which gave Thelma serious doubts over whether to employ her. Now onto those aforementioned taxi driver arguments, which can only be described as filler, which kicked off when Grace saw that Rob the cabbie had been moaning about ‘bloody pikeys’ on Facebook leading to a confrontation between the pair. Rob did apologise when he realised the offence he had caused but that then didn’t stop Lily-Ann from getting in the face of the other driver Pam who only enquired if the word ‘pikey’ was racist. To me these two incidents really didn’t need to be in this episode as they served no purpose other than to extend it more than it needed to be. This is also true of a comedy segment in which Thelma planned a role-reversal activity where her employees would become the travellers and vice versa which led to a lot of shouting but not a lot else.
Thelma then got to sit down to dinner with her family, again James let us know that this was the ‘first time’ she’d done this in six months, where she and her daughter compared notes on who should get the jobs by this point they seemed to have whittled it down to three names – Kathleen, Roseanne and Victoria. Tragedy then struck when Victoria said she and her family were off on the road again, because as Thelma informed us travellers do travel, which meant that she couldn’t get her guaranteed job. This worried Thelma so much that she went round to the abodes of the rest of the girls but was given the general consensus that they’d all be sticking around if their daughters did get the jobs. Another pointless segment, this time an interview session, reminded me that another girl – Sam had really not featured on screen perhaps because she got on with her work and caused zero friction in the workplace. Anyway we’ll fast forward to the fashion show which saw all of the final eight girls, including Roseanne, demonstrate their very similar outfits before Thelma gave her final decision. She said that in the end she’d decided to give one permanent position to a girl then have two other girls come on for an extra three months to battle for the second job so she’d already lied once to us. Shannon was the girl who got the guaranteed job which isn’t a surprise as though she’s been an idiot at time she’s also done all that’s been expected of her while her auntie Kathleen and late-comer Megan were the other two hires. Though this wasn’t the end as Roseanne was also given a job, also it seemed a temporary job that could become permanent, so in the end half of the girls who’d stayed the course got the chance to work with the dress-maker full time.
This final scene just exemplifies what was wrong with Thelma’s Gypsy Girls as a series in that if just two candidates had been picked it would’ve seemed like a big deal but with half of the girls getting a job, with the ones that didn’t being Lily-Ann who threatened to quit every five minutes and Margaret who was a constant disruption, made me feel like I needn’t have sit through six weeks of various clichéd antics. There were a couple of heart-warming scenes tonight, including Victoria’s departure which was actually fairly upsetting, but by the end I’d grown tired of Thelma and these girls. I still applaud her for going through with this process and giving some young traveller girls a future outside of being a home-maker but I didn’t really feel like I needed to see it unfold on my television. Though Thelma does deserve to be championed to an extent remember that she’s still getting buckets of publicity from it and also that she has a book out on the shelves now folks! However after seeing her on this show I think I’ve had just about my fill of Thelma Madine for the foreseeable future.
What did you make of the outcome of Thelma’s Gypsy Girls? Who were your favourites? Leave Your Comments Below.