Last Night's Viewing: My Daughter the Teenage Nudist, Channel 4


The perfect body is one you're happy with, said Daryl in My Daughter the Teenage Nudist. Daryl is a cheerful proselytiser for the virtues of naturism or rather (since that term doesn't seem to market well with a younger demographic) "nakidity", a word that I sincerely hope will remain a Daryl exclusive. And, as nudists tend to, he was prone to make the case that nobody should be ashamed of what nature had given them. "We are all just human beings at the end of the day," he said, staring the camera straight in the eyes. This would have been a slightly more persuasive argument if Daryl hadn't been on his hands and knees at the time, with a beautician busy down the back end ripping hairs from his crack. Is he not happy with his God-given buttock hair? And if so, doesn't that slightly undermine his argument?

Daryl doesn't have a daughter, by the way, or at least not one who was on show here. In fact, there didn't seem a lot of justification for that title at all, beyond its obvious appeal to a certain kind of prurience. Two mothers did appear from time to time, looking a bit anxious about their daughters' experimentation with nudity, but Amanda Blue's film was less about their worries than the fact that old naturists aren't being replaced by young naturists at a pace that will keep up the numbers. Membership – if you'll forgive the term – is down at British Naturisim and while there are still plenty of young people who like to get their bits out, they don't seem very keen to formalise their enthusiasm, or to play handball in the nude.

Mollie, one of the daughters, rather unpersuasively suggested that her interest had come about almost by accident: "I Googled 'naked bike ride' for some reason and I was like, 'Oh my God! I have to go to this!'" she said, explaining how she'd ended up cycling through London with her top off, in a somewhat quixotic protest against global warming. Her friend Clare was going to come too, but her mum found out about it first and stopped her and Clare remains wary about the attractions of letting it all hang out: "Do I really want to see that part of Luke in my life?" she asked Mollie scathingly about a mutual friend. Bad luck, Luke, if you were hoping the answer was "yes". Then they all went off to a clothes-optional event at a country house, where they skinny-dipped in a pond while a group of old men with the complexions of leather suitcases peered curiously at them through the shrubbery.

Up in Manchester, Alex and her friends were going nude to "challenge the domination of perfect body images", though it has to be said that Alex's body, in particular, didn't offer much of a challenge. It was a point not lost on an indignant woman who encountered Alex and a friend topless on the street, trying to drum up interest in a naked art event. "You've put two more-or-less beautiful people out there," she said indignantly to Alex's friend Russell, before rather tactlessly suggesting that he might counter body-fascism more effectively himself. Even more double-edged was the remark of a young woman at a naked tea party arranged by the naked vegan cooking group, as she explained how her initial startle-response to male penises had been soothed by familiarity: "When I saw yours," she said to the party's host, "I thought, 'Oh Jess's is a lot less intimidating'." To his credit, Jess wasn't entirely unmanned by this remark, and insisted that his own problems with body image (he'd had eating issues in the past) had been helped by public exposure. They were eating ginger nuts as it happened. The camera glimpsed at this tempting double-entendre longingly, but then moved on without biting.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Loading individual letters on to an original Heidelberg printing press
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'