Liberty of London, TV review: It's fun to watch the follies of the rich, but haven't we had our fill of posh porn?

 

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The Independent Culture

Posh people, as it's been noted elsewhere, are so hot right now. And not just because they've got back from a fortnight on the yacht. Though that helps.

Actually, it's not like they ever stopped being hot, but with the BBC's Tatler documentary Posh People fuelling a small industry in former Condé Nast hacks reminiscing about their days chasing Cholmondeley-Warners around polo grounds and celebrity manor owners the Fulfords frolicking in Life Is Toff, there's rather a lot of posh on the box right now.

Liberty of London (Channel 4) isn't quite in the same genre. Most of the staff aren't to the manor born. Or not as far as we can tell. But Liberty, like other documentary subjects of recent years, including Inside Claridge's et al, focuses on a company or product aimed primarily at the very wealthy.

In this fourth and final episode of the second series of Liberty of London, we see a personal shopper picking out entire rails of clothes for her private clients; we see the private changing room overlooking Carnaby Street where the rich can try clothes on to their heart's delight without having to share hanger space with the hoi polloi. We also see staff drawing up a list of their 50 best customers based on loyalty and their likelihood of spraffing £10,000 a time on shopping sprees featuring £495 hotpants.

Which is all fine, I suppose. It's definitely more interesting than watching me try and find a pair of £40 jeans in Urban Outfitters, but after almost half a decade of obsessing over the follies of the rich, thanks to a Cabinet featuring more Old Etonians than the 1879 FA Cup winners, aren't we just a bit bored of snooping or even sneering at how rich people like to live their lives and spend their money. It is ridiculous, glamorous – and, yes, interesting – but good grief, haven't we had enough?

That aside, Liberty is a decent piece of documentary-making. It was fun to watch Lee Whittle, the store's general manager, watching videos of potential Christmas temps and muttering "Liberty" under his breath every time one of them referred to working at something called "Liberty's". Also joyful was the way director Suemay Oram paired the narration with the action when talking about the decorations ordered for Liberty's Christmas display. As Tom Hollander explained how fragile and delicate the baubels were, we watched the delivery crew flinging them like hay bales on to the floor. Very nice.

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