But has the country benefitted? When the show first came out it at least kept the Sloanes off the streets while they sneered, but ultimately it seems to have made a national institution of desperation. Never before, in such droves and with such pathetic lack of regard for their dignity, have so many people thrown themselves into double entendre and bad cabaret, driven solely by the urge to get on the telly. At least with shows like New Faces or Opportunity Knocks you could convince yourself that a future on the working man's club circuit could be a great step up for some of the contenders. But why do all these people want to condemn themselves to a future of "Oy! You're that prat who wore the lederhosen, aren't you?"
Still, the sight of other people making worse fools of themselves than you did the night before can soothe that weekend paranoia. There was also something very satisfying the other day in the news that James Pidherney, who had done a nauseating tap-dance, was probably going to lose an injuries claim against his former employers as a result. Fifteen minutes of fame, 20 grand down the drain.