Last Night's Television: The Bigamist Bride: My Five Husbands, Channel 4
Fearne And Paris Hilton, ITV2
She never got bored of the rings
Friday 23 October 2009
Earlier this year, Emily Horne was found guilty of serial bigamy. She married five men without divorcing one. A former glamour model and compulsive liar she was, as our narrator delicately put it, "a tabloid editor's wet dream." She was also released on a suspended sentence and, much to the bemusement of her numerous spouses, allowed to resume life with a new boyfriend. "I love him too much to marry him!" she joked.
Quite why one of her first post-court case decisions has been to leave her reputation in the hands of Channel 4, I'm not sure. Judging from the results – last night's The Bigamist Bride: My Five Husbands – it wasn't a wise one. "I'm nowhere near as bad as the tabloids set out," she said, a claim that is almost certainly true, though not, it has to be said, particularly aided by the heels-in-the ground adolescent sulkiness she maintained throughout the programme. Or by her attempts to blame her fate on the behaviour of her partners, who, she variously claimed, neglected her, raped her, abused her and forced her to undergo an abortion.
She is, it seems, a compulsive liar. Her father predicted that the film has only a 50/50 chance of getting the truth out of her, and her account of events varied so much from one moment to the next (and from her ex-partners') that was is difficult to know what to believe and what not to. It all began, she said, when her first husband was involved in the murder of a pregnant teenager. She was ashamed – "who would want to tell anyone that?"– and so she upped and left, beginning her string of liaisons.
She met husband number two shortly afterwards, while working behind the bar of a pub. Bespectacled Lembit-alike that he was, she didn't appear to have much of a challenge on her hands. "I fell for her entirely," he confessed. She convinced him to propose by buying a ring and leaving it on a table with a note saying, "You know what to do" (subtle!). From there on out, her story started to sound like a stuck record. She entered into a third relationship with a colleague. He repeatedly refused to marry her so she married someone else – her third husband – to get revenge. Things reached new levels of absurdity when she moved Husband Number 3 into the same home as Husband Number 2 in order to help cash-strapped Number 2 pay his mortgage, while continuing an affair with the colleague. When Number 2 and Number 3 became aware of their shared martial status, Emily legged it to Ipswich, picking up Number 4 on the train (hapless conductor James who thinks she went for him because "ladies like a man in uniform") and establishing a line in low-budget porn films once she was there. From there, it was a short leap to Number 5. "We thought it was a bit weird that she wore jeans and a vest top to get married in," observed his sister. "Isn't it supposed to be a special occasion?"
It was all very peculiar indeed. Most peculiar of all was to watch the way in which Horne attempted to wrap her reasoning up in a kind of quasi-feminist packaging. "Funny how none of them minded so long as they were getting laid," she observed. "The blokes are basically indicating that they were led by their pricks." Indeed, this seemed to have formed the backbone of her courtroom defence, too. Obviously, some were more convinced by it than I.
So, what's this then? Ah, Fearne and Paris Hilton, another celebrity-themed chat show from ITV. This time, it is the irrepressible Fearne Cotton doing the hosting, following Hollywood's most famous layabout as she trots around discussing her nail-polish line, showing us her dog house (literally, no euphemisms here), and droning in that signature monotone about how intelligent she really is. To be fair, she seems nice enough. And it's not all smooth sailing for her y'know. "Sometimes, it's a little difficult to decide what to wear," she drawled. Mm.
Fearne does her best to keep things entertaining, bless her. "I am genuinely fascinated," she bubbled to the camera. Actually, I hate to admit it, I was a little too, at the start, though a full hour's worth does start to test the patience. Fearne, however, hangs on to Ms Hilton's every word like a needy schoolgirl. "So do you feel we've bonded?" she giggled at one point. "I feel like we've started a bit of a friendship!" Quite how she will fare with her series' next two subjects Peaches Geldof and Alesha Dixon – the only common thread appears to be a shared level of desperation – I'm not sure. The best will in the world couldn't make them interesting.
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