Television Review

THEY ARE GLUTTONS for punishment over at Channel 4. Last year, the station suffered huge embarrassment when a documentary called "Daddy's Girl" was revealed the day before transmission to be a hoax: the man purporting to be Victoria Greetham's doting father was really her boyfriend, Stuart Smith. But showing a plucky determination to retrieve something from the wreckage, last night's Cutting Edge (C4) went in search of Stuart and Victoria to find out what lay behind the scam.

The reasoning behind this masochistic exercise was unclear. From time to time, Riete Oord's film did raise the question of whether television blurred the distinction between fiction and reality. Stuart, tracked down to a West Yorkshire pub where he was living, tried to claim some legitimacy for his part in the hoax. "The events were real, they were real what happened on film, but they just weren't... hang on, were they real? Yeah, they were real. They WERE real... I'm confusing myself here because the documentary that they made was a real documentary. But there was just some lies involved in it." Later, Victoria made a similar point more tersely: "Nothing on TV's real, is it?"

You could see what they were getting at. In an an extract from an interview recorded shortly after the hoax was revealed, Angela Rippon accused them of lying and deception while sitting in a TV studio dressed up to look like somebody's sitting room. Peter Moore, the commissioning editor responsible for the original documentary, seemed to give a sidelong endorsement to Stuart and Victoria's muddled ontology, calling "Daddy's Girl" "a defining moment in the sort of post-modern world of television".

But this was allowing the scam a dignity it did not deserve. Watching Stuart perform for Oord's cameras and in the original documentary, it seemed clear that he took a simple, boyish pleasure in putting one over on the film-makers. Oord filmed him trying to blag his way on to another Channel 4 documentary about men with unusually large penises ("I am blessed," he told the programme researcher). Stuart was also operating as a damp-proofing consultant under the name "West Yorkshire Advisory Services"; Oord visited a dissatisfied customer who planned to take him to the small claims court, having previously expressed her anger by chanting a Buddhist mantra at him down the telephone.

In the end, Who's Been Framed? had some amusing moments, but drew no firm conclusions and took a long time about doing it. If Channel 4 had to use a sledgehammer, it could at least have made sure it cracked the nut.

By a perverse piece of scheduling, this came on immediately after Riddle of the Skies (C4), an annoyingly credulous three-parter on UFOs which offered eye-witness testimony and photographs as sound evidence for the presence of extra-terrestrial beings. The truth is that, given our current state of knowledge, the presence of ETs is so unlikely that almost nothing can count as hard evidence for it - fakery or delusion will always be a more likely explanation. It may be true that nothing is real on TV, but some things are still a lot less real than others.

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk