Drinking with the Girls, BBC3
Georgia's Story: 33 Stone at 15, BBC1
Kirstie's Homemade Home, Channel 4

The small screen was short on female role models last week – it's enough to make you reach for the chardonnay

Last week's television promised to tackle some thorny questions. Why are women drinking more than ever before? How does a 15-year-old girl come to weigh 33 stone? And where can I find the gear to knock out a few homemade candles and transform my derelict bathroom into a palatial wonderland? Answers, however, were not always forthcoming.

Drinking with the Girls was a frustrating documentary that asked an intriguing question and then answered a less interesting one. British women, we were told by presenter Cherry Chadwyck-Healey, drink 11 times more than their Italian counterparts. Binge-drinking is on the rise among girls and, if you believe media reports, every other woman in the UK spends her weekends passing out on pavements and intimidating bus drivers.

Chadwyck-Healey was going to get to the bottom of those super-sized glasses of chardonnay (we later saw her vomiting into a toilet) to find out if there was any truth in the hype and, if so, why. Great! Except that she wasn't, and didn't. She was actually going to go on a series of boozy nights out with groups of women at different stages in their lives – the "seven ages of drinking" – and film the inevitably messy results.

It was a flawed approach. From Lambrini-chugging teens to OAPs with a penchant for rosé, the reasons given for excessive drinking ranged from escapism to relaxation and, frequently, the confidence-boosting effect. Aren't those the same reasons men drink? Since the programme didn't speak to any, the question was left hanging.

Absent too were the middle- and upper-class drinkers – where were the yummy mummies and the successful young urbanites who like a glass or 10 every bit as much as a single mum from Blackpool? Chadwyck-Healey's feeble summation was that alcohol is "many things to many people". Yep, I thought, reaching for my glass, and sometimes it's a handy way to get through a disappointing piece of television.

Georgia's Story: 33 Stone at 15 made for a more satisfying watch. It tracked the progress of Georgia Davis, who hit the headlines last year with the unenviable title of Britain's heaviest teen, as she embarked on a demanding weight-loss programme at a specialist American school.

It wasn't just Georgia getting an education. In an hour this humane film managed to explode some of the most commonly held stereotypes about obesity, drawing a subtle picture of a girl who lost one parent at five and just a few years later found herself the main carer of the other.

Laziness was not the problem – Georgia had schoolwork sent home so she could cook, clean, shop and care for her mother. (Where social services were at this point was not explained.) Nor was it down to lack of intelligence; Georgia was an articulate girl, mature for her age in many ways.

It turned out Georgia didn't need Gillian McKeith to put her on a diet of seaweed and quinoa; she just needed space to be a teenager. Of course, there were lessons in healthy eating and lots of exercise, but what really seemed to bring her out of herself was the chance to relax in the company of other teens in an environment where nobody was going to condemn her for her size. Georgia finished the documentary eight stone lighter and counting, and the rest of us lost a few unhelpful preconceptions along the way.

If, like me, you had hoped the downturn might kill off all those home/ clothes/body makeover programmes, the outlook is bleak. Kirstie Allsopp is back, and in Kirstie's Homemade Home she's doing her darnedest to make you yearn for a kooky, artisan home full of objects handcrafted yourself.

As Allsopp broke out the superlatives to describe the joys of hand-printed wallpaper and eulogised a small square of stained glass she had made as if it were the finishing touch to the windows of Chartres cathedral, even she didn't seem to believe what she was spouting. Still, at least it didn't make me want to leap up and buy anything. Not even a reasonably priced stained-glass making kit. Maybe there is a silver lining after all.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
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 apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn