Joan Does Glamour, ITV1
Hung, More4

Never mind our sagging economy, it's slapping on the lippy that really matters

Desperate times, desperate measures and all that .... As the fruit of credit-crunch commissioning continues to take hold of our TVs, the state of the Western world is acknowledged and dissected on screens the size of football pitches across our "broken" nation. And never mind the wars, the economy, the schools and the hospitals – what's really wrong with Britain is that we've all forgotten how to be glamorous.

"People have become sloppy ... lazy in their grooming and in themselves because I think they're more interested in being on the internet, texting, emailing and watching TV," said Joan Collins, herself no stranger to desperate measures (see, or rather don't, The Stud and The Bitch) as she set off, Queen's Speech-style music parping in the background, on her make-over mission in Joan Does Glamour.

We've seen this kind of thing before, of course. But not with our Joanie, and, well, it's been a while since Dynasty and perish the thought that, at 76, all those grooming tips should go to waste. Enter mum Mary, nan Eileen, and Holli, herself desperate to sprinkle a little party magic over her 16th-birthday celebrations in two weeks' time, and who would love nothing more than to see her old Nan "all dolled up". As the Littlefairs ponder who will emerge from the chauffeur-driven Bentley, Eileen voices her hope for "Fergie or Joanne Lumney" while Holli states a preference for Cheryl Cole.

Let's get this out of the way: the Littlefairs are not chavs. Rather, they are an average Plymouth family "too busy doing stuff for other people" and each other that, on the average day, they couldn't really give two stuffs for appearance and just want to be cosy.

Such wishes do not compute on the Collins computer. Whether hovering down the high street, shopping at Sainsbury's or perusing the Primark racks, she is stuck in a 1970s St Tropez time warp. "She was more busy running around looking for something for herself," Nan pointed out astutely, before asking where else JC shopped: "Dior, Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren ...." In the absence of any of those labels at Drake Circus, "the West Country's most popular shopping centre", Joan and the Littlefairs make do. Desperate times.

Following the usual ups and downs along the way, the Littlefair ladies learn how to make themselves up and remember that dresses still exist and, generally, look more flattering and stylish than fleeces and frumpy house clothes. Especially if you are attending a party. Tears are shed. Nan looks great. Mum looks like Sharon Osbourne. And Holli loses her natural emo-bent to emerge as Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie.

All the while, two white elephants rampage across the room. First, why does one family's desire to learn how to dress up a bit have to be presented as another self-perpetuating example of how crap Britain is? To back up this argument, Collins visits a town-centre bar where (shock!) the women are wearing as little as possible, and then a supermarket, where she bemoans a lack of style amid the spuds.

Secondly, maybe Collins – who admitted in her autobiography that her two children with Anthony Newley "had a terrible life" as she jetted them here and there seeking to further her own career – could learn a thing or two from the Littlefairs. But then An Average British Family Teaches a Self-Obsessed Celebrity About the Things That Really Matter just isn't that snappy a title for a programme.

Think we've got it bad here in Blighty? Tune into Hung, the latest drama from the ever-impressive HBO. Hung tells the story of Ray, played with just the right balance of pathos and poise by Thomas Jane. As the camera takes in derelict building after derelict building, Ray's voice-over tells us: "Everything's falling apart. Thank God my parents aren't around to see the country they loved go to shit .... They taught me to take responsibility .... They taught me to make the best of whatever God gave you."

And what God gave Ray is a large penis. So Ray decides to become a male escort in an effort to pay his bills, fix his house up after an almost operatic fire scene and keep hold of his kids and his sanity. On both sides of the Atlantic, then, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food