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
music

Arts and Entertainment
Creep show: Tim Cockerill in ‘Spider House’

TVEnough to make ardent arachnophobes think twice

Arts and Entertainment
Steven, Ella Jade and Sarah in the boardroom
tvThe Apprentice contestants take a battering from the business mogul
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Jewel in the crown: drawings from ‘The Letter for the King’, an adventure about a boy and his mission to save a medieval realm
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Juergen Wolf won the Young Masters Art Prize 2014 with his mixed media painting on wood, 'Untitled'
art
Arts and Entertainment
Iron Man and Captain America in a scene from
filmThe upcoming 'Black Panther' film will feature a solo black male lead, while a female superhero will take centre stage in 'Captain Marvel'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Imperial War Museum, pictured, has campaigned to display copyrighted works during the First World War centenary
art
Arts and Entertainment
American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson plays conjoined twins Dot and Bette Tattler
tvReview: Yes, it’s depraved for the most part but strangely enough it has heart to it
Arts and Entertainment
The mind behind Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin
books

Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Dorothy in Return to Oz

film Unintentionally terrifying children's movies to get you howling (in fear, tears or laughter)
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robert James-Collier as under-butler Thomas

TVLady Edith and Thomas show sad signs of the time
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Dad's Army cast hit the big screen

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge

books
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning?
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
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.

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain