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 & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
music

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
music

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
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 iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit