Last night's viewing - Jewish Mum of the Year, Channel 4; Fresh Meat, Channel 4

 

Hard on the heels of a rebuke from the Advertising Standards Agency for an "irresponsible" and "offensive" campaign that "reaffirmed negative stereotypes" of the Traveller community, Channel 4 continues its proud commitment to minority caricature with the barely credible Jewish Mum of the Year. Let's get the mitigating circumstances out of the way first, since it won't take long.

The competition originally appears to have been conceived by The Jewish News, so this could be framed as self-inflicted injury, and the narration is condescendingly at pains to present the programme as affirmation. Did you know, for example, that although British Jews make up only one per cent of the population, "they make a big contribution to all areas of modern British life"? Not convinced? Look, here's a picture of Vanessa Feltz and Uri Geller to prove it.

The idea is that eight Jewish mums, notionally the cream of the original entrants, will compete with one another in a variety of tasks, two of them being picked off each week. The judges are Tracy Ann-Oberman (who should have known better) and Professor Dovid Katz, who I assume has been hired not because of his academic studies of the Yiddish language or his stalwart work against Holocaust denial in Lithuania but because he looks like what you'd get if David Walliams ever decided to do a comedy rabbi character. And the first task for the contestants was to arrange a bar mitzvah, with the women being paired up in teams to sort out the cake, canapés and cocktails.

If these really were the best available contenders, the only conclusion is that 99.9 per cent of Jewish mothers were too sensible to take part or simply too busy with real Jewish mothering. Tracy and Lesley, given the job of creating a football-themed cake for 200 people, short-cut the problem by going off to buy some catering bags of sponge mix and a giant tub of long-life cream. Jacqueline and Louisa conducted their research into the best cocktails for the occasion with an enthusiasm that left them too giddy to speak. And Emma and Ruth came together to fill the goody bags and, inadvertently, exemplify how meaningless a collective noun "community" can be.

Emma was a suburban yummy mummy who outsourced the really hard graft to her Filipino maid. Ruth was a dour orthodox type who put piety above considerations of style. And they absolutely loathed each other, with a passion that a mere outsider would have found hard to match. Naturally, the judges kept them both in, despite the fact that they botched their task so badly that the distribution of goody bags turned into shrieking riot. "I wanted to prove to people out there that we are actually humans and can fit in with society," said Emma self-righteously during one of her bickering rows with her co-religionist. Don't worry, Emma, there are plenty of Jewish mothers "out there" who do that every day without even thinking about it. They easily outweigh the bad example you've set.

Fresh Meat is back and celebrated its return with a magnificent running joke about old meat. Howard started working at the local abattoir and is jubilant at the main perk of the job: "It's spare meat.. from the loose meat bin... It's all right. It's from animals." Kingsley has reappeared sporting a soul patch he gamely tries to pretend is no big deal, Josie is still hankering hopelessly after Kingsley and JP is worrying about his sexuality after the discovery that his friend Giles, with whom he shared masturbatory fumbles in the Stowe dormitories, is actually gay and not just "gay". There's also a promising new tenant in the form of Sabine, who insisted on vetting the water pressure and smoke alarms before taking the room. I'm so looking forward to the new term.

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished

TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies

Arts and Entertainment
Australia's Eurovision contestant and former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian

Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under

Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
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.

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable