Television Reviews: Hooked and Horizon

I GAVE UP eating sweets in 1976 (ugly threats from a sadistic dentist), so Hooked (C4), focusing on the addictive qualities of chocolate, was a bit outside my experience. Beautiful elderly ladies confessed to a lifelong habit while the kindly tones of the ubiquitous Zoe Wannamaker gave us the history of British chocolate. This involved a lot of monochrome Playschool-style footage of enrobing machines churning out chocolate bars and shots of old Cadbury's wrappers. The cheap commodities of the Empire provided puddings for all: sago, tapioca and chocolate, which, until then, had been an exotic luxury. Manufacturers evolved an ingeniously complex message that sold it as a guilty but wholesome pleasure. Women, easy prey to a strategy that played on chocolate's dual role as a reward and a compensation, were particularly susceptible. Men soon got wise to this and the box of chocs became a commonplace payment for little sexual favours ("the boxes that single ladies get and that married ones dream of!").

The British taste for sweet, fatty chocolate plays havoc with the blood sugar and it is this glucose rush that cons the body into "addiction". One interviewee remembered regularly locking herself in the loo with four bars of chocolate and then flushing the evidence away. A guilty secret, certainly, but does a harmless bit of confectionery really belong in the same league as booze and fags and hard drugs?

Kevin has a habit. "It's like a drug. The more you do, the more you want to do." He's talking Strictly Hairdressing (C5). Kevin is really Kevin Wilcox International (of Doncaster) and he and Susan Vargas International (of Hull) are among the competitors in the British National Hairdressing Championship at the Blackpool Winter Gardens.

There were three categories: Technical skill against the clock; Senior ladies' hair by night and, er, they forgot to tell us what the third one was exactly - Most creative use of Bostick, perhaps. Contrary to what the above mugshot might suggest (Photo-Me booths aren't what they were), I'm not a big hairspray user. So this bottle-blonde lacquer-fest was rather fascinating. But, like a lot of Channel 5's output, this was a good idea that went on far too long. There was too much preparatory back-combing and not nearly enough coverage of the main event where ambitious crimpers vied to make pretty girls look "For Rent". It was all a lot like Crufts, but the smell is presumably a bit different. Susan (who must have shares in an eyeliner factory) uses hairspray with a particularly lavish hand and her Edward Scissorhands interpretation of "Ladies' total evening" was more "Full Metal Jacket".

The lacquer-laden air in the Winter Gardens would have stopped a mosquito in its tracks, but it's one of the few things that would. In an identikit study of this resilient insect, Horizon (BBC2) charted the history of man's fight against malaria. The most significant blow came when the World Health Organisation began spraying DDT with abandon. Unfortunately, mosquitoes and the malaria parasite adapted to survive and are now even out-manoeuvring quinine (the traditional prophylactic and remedy) so that two million people are dying each year. Thankfully, a new cure has emerged based on an ancient Chinese medicine and the WHO hopes to halve the number of deaths within a decade - unless the mosquito has other ideas.

Rude Britannia (C4) was a short film by Russell England about bad manners. Or, more specifically, about videoing a handful of extremists who object to rudeness in others. It had strong echoes of Andy Hamilton's Pointless Fights in Corridors, a spoof docu-soap suggested in his excellent Royal Television Society Huw Weldon lecture on Monday. In Rude Britannia, a Plymouth man, disgusted at having his street used as a late-night latrine, keeps a power-hose on his roof garden. We also get to meet a couple who spend a depressing amount of time confronting people who pinch disabled parking spaces. The encounters leave them both quivering with distress, but they carry on doing it. They'd better steer clear of Accrington, where an obnoxious young man prides himself on pushing in and picking fights and who considers good manners a mere obstacle in the rat race - "I've no time for old people at all". He's got a steady job in customer relations.

Thomas Sutcliffe is away

Arts & Entertainment
TV

Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
music

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
music

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit