Last Night's TV: My Wall Street, Channel 4
My Life As An Animal, BBC3

Enlightening notes on a scandal

Ah, Wall Street: the most notorious road in the world right now.

Natural habitat of Evil Bankers, spiritual home of Fred the Shred, the source of all our misery. Of course, as Channel 4's My Wall Street points out, not every Wall Street is the Wall Street. There are dozens of Main Street-style ones too, scattered around the country, each struggling to cope as the credit crunch tightens its jaws. It isn't the most subtle of vehicles, but it does the trick. For every Wall Street we visit, we meet a different family, each feeling the financial strain.

Of course, some deserve more sympathy than others. It's difficult to feel too sorry for Paul, the obsessive Star Wars fan from Grimsby. He works part-time in a pub but "spends every penny he has", while his partner, Kerry, tries desperately to scrape together enough cash to pay the bills. Incidentally, Kerry is officially the world's nicest woman. "I worry all the time. If there's a bill, I have to pay it," she observed. "But Paul doesn't. We're like chalk and cheese." Mmm. Paul and Kerry are two grand in debt, and have no way of getting out unless Paul sells his ridiculous collection of light sabres. Naturally, he's never going to do that; instead, he hurls abuse at poor Kerry and locks himself in his room. Things didn't improve much over the course of the show. Paul moved out, briefly, only to return in an even weirder form than before, wielding a petition to get KFC to deliver and shouting at Kerry through the walls. "Are you talking to me, Paul?" asked Kerry. "No, I'm talking to the fricking canary, what do you think?" Before long, Kerry checked into therapy.

Ali and Saira from Wolverhampton were a different kettle of fish entirely. Ali had been made redundant, but was desperate to avoid signing on. "There's nothing worse," he muttered. Instead, he spent all day every day hunting for a job, frantically ringing up companies and arranging interviews. In two weeks, he applied for 30 separate jobs, only to be rejected by every single one. It's the same heart-breaking routine each time. He got an interview, the whole family buzzed with excitement, Saira bustled around, straightening his tie and shining his shoes. And then: the rejection, with methods ranging from the mundane ("they never called") to the jaw-droppingly ridiculous (one firm actually conducted the whole interview by automated voice-message, and then rejected him the same way). After six weeks, he signed on, ceding breadwinner status to Saira, who was about to finish training as a teaching assistant. After her first day at work, he answered the door. "How was school, dear? I've been making dinner for you all day..."

Speaking of role reversals, I've been meaning to watch BBC3's My Life As an Animal ever since it started, and finally got around to it last night. It was, quite possibly, the weirdest television programme I've ever come across. In fact, I can't decide if it's so absurd as to be brilliant – the sort of thing George Orwell's characters might have indulged in had they had reality TV in Nineteen Eighty-Four – or whether it's just the barrel-scraping sediment at the bottom of the cheap thrills trough. The latter, probably.

The format is pretty much like any of those celebrity/reality TV shows, except that instead of hitting up the Australian jungle, or learning a quick foxtrot, these "celebrities" had to live, quite literally, like dogs. There's Ed, the most famous extreme sportsman you've never heard of, and Lucy, the model whose name you might not know but whose digitally recreated form you have almost certainly gazed upon, if, that is, you were a teenage boy sometime in the late Nineties. She was the original Lara Croft and since then, apparently, has been very busy as a "fashion model". I have my suspicions. Right away, Ed had obviously drawn the short straw. While Lucy was instructed to spend her days sniffing around with three border collies, Ed was thrown right in there with a pack of foxhounds, none of which looked particularly friendly; in fact, one still had blood smeared around his mouth from a fight. When night fell, Ed's jammed in a room with about 30 of them, all clambering over one other. "They fart all the time," he observed. Poor chap. He actually did pretty well, if you can ever commend someone on their ability to tolerate flees, flatulence and a diet of minced pork pies, and by the time the challenge is up, he looked quite sad to be leaving.

Over with the collies, though, Lucy got cold feet – literally. "My socks are wet and my wellies are too small," she sobbed. It did look pretty miserable. Her "kennel" was box-sized and made of concrete. To make matters worse, none of the dogs even liked her. "I was bullied at school," she mumbled. "This is bringing it all back." Oh, God. She lasted another 12 hours and then legged it. Honestly, I don't blame her. Being bullied by collies is too much for any one.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Arts and Entertainment
Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar in ‘My Name Is...’
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
This year's Big Brother champion Helen Wood
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Full company in Ustinov's Studio's Bad Jews
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Harari Guido photographed Kate Bush over the course of 11 years
Music
Arts and Entertainment
Reviews have not been good for Jonathan Liebesman’s take on the much loved eighties cartoon
Film

A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend

Arts and Entertainment
Untwitterably yours: Singer Morrissey has said he doesn't have a twitter account
Music

A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album

Arts and Entertainment
Full throttle: Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro in God's Pocket
film
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie Minogue is expected to return to Neighbours for thirtieth anniversary special
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be Lonely Island's second Hollywood venture following their 2007 film Hot Rod
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.

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment