Television: Mary Portas, Queen of… well, just about everything


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The Independent Culture

Somewhere along the line Mary Portas has become Britain's macro problem solver. The high street? Fixed! Manufacturing? Sorted! The misalignment of infrastructure investment and broader industrial strategy...? No doubt Mezza and Channel 4 could squeeze a six-parter out of that, too.

So what next for the Queen of Shops? Well, C4 is asking Portas to launch an employment agency for over-65s. Presumably that knicker factory could use a few elastic testers?

Mary's Jobs For Life will aim to help those from 65 to 105 in finding jobs they can do better than feckless 64-year-olds in areas like building and childcare. Which will be of some comfort to those grandparents called in to their kids' houses to put up shelves and babysit little Freddie for free.

You might think that there are only so many societal problems she can solve. But why stop there? Come on C4 commissioning eds, greenlight Mary Pops In (to resolve industrial disputes in one live half-hour episode) or Portas of Call, in which Mary revitalises Britain's ancient port towns by using generous PFI building schemes to entice Britain's telecoms giants into building new offices. We'd watch it.