We’ve Been Watching – Nicola Roberts: The Truth About Tanning

by Lynn Connolly

During my weekly troll of the best catch-up TV offerings, I came across this show on BBC iPlayer, which is where you can watch it if you want to, or it’s repeated on BBC3 next Wednesday.

I was intrigued by the title; normally, anything that smells of fluff of the airheaded variety gets a wide berth but I thought, “What truth is this we’re being offered? And who lied to us in the first place?”

Well, according to Girls Aloud band member Nicola, we’ve all been conned into believing that bronzed skin is the key to wealth, fame and glory, and she wanted to out the truth. And that, apparently, is that being tanned is in fact not the be all and end all to ensuring happiness.

Who’da thunked?

And to be honest, though this attempted to be a serious film, it lost quite a good deal of credibility for me when Kimberley, Nicola’s fellow Girls Aloud band member said, genuinely moved, “Thank goodness you’ve come out the other side.”

This was in reference to the fair-skinned Nicola’s previous attempts to don a tan, by whatever means necessary. Whether that be sunbed overload or tangoing herself with liberal applications of spray on, rub on, plaster on orange.

She’d seen the light it would seem and no longer wished to be orange. However, she wanted to spread the word so she set off in search of other orange devotees and found Tom, a young man who spends the majority of his life in pursuit of a tan.

Nicola took him to task over it and gave him what amounted to a stiff talking to over his obsession, telling him that his quest was, “very clearly wrong.” Yeah Tom, very clearly wrong, so think on you big orange lug.

But humour evaporated like Ambre Solaire in the heat when Nicola visited with skin cancer sufferers and we heard the rather shocking statistic that around 11% of kids in the North of England have used sunbeds, and the frequent use of them has accounted for an alarming rise in skin cancer rates in the under-forty age group.

We then saw Nicola doing her best to harass Health Secretary Andy Burnham about a new bill regarding the use of sunbeds, but the fact is, she’s just too nice to be an in-your-face journalist. Most geese would probably give her a bemused look if she shouted ‘boo’ at them.

But to be fair, she didn’t do a bad job of being a presenter/bringer out of truths, and while this was an interesting watch, I can’t see David Dimbelbumblebee being kept awake at night in fear of his job.

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.