The Truth About Webcam Girls (BBC3), TV review: A peep show that reveals how online intimacy is far from fantasy stuff
You may know the acronym NSFW. It means "not safe for work" and indicates that a link might get you in trouble at work should your boss glance upon your monitor.
As chance would have it, the baleful shadow of the Independent's managing editor appeared on my screen just as I watched the first few, lingerie-heavy, minutes of The Truth About Webcam Girls (BBC3).
Despite protestations that this was a serious review about a serious documentary, the BBC3 ident blew my cover on that front and I felt it was best to watch the following 57 minutes at home. While my wife was out.
Webcam girls are performers who strip (and more) in front of their PCs in return for premium-rate fees. This film from director Chris Atteshlis, while not telling us all that much, showed us what life is like for three young women who spend their days (new verb, this) "webcamming".
First up, we met Sammie, a ringer for Fresh Meat's magnificent Vod with a line in pathos worthy of Alan Bennett. As we met her, she was waiting for a late estate agent: "I'm sat here thinking, 'Can I get naked or not?' I don't understand where people's decency is."
This was followed by a great little cameo from said estate agent who gormlessly asked her: "Don't I know you from somewhere?" Sammy, who hopes to use the cash from her gig to study psychology, diplomatically saved her response – "Yeah, mate, from one of my foot fetish films" – until he'd gone.
Sammie's tales of her previous career in hardcore porn – "I pushed myself to limits I didn't want to" – were genuinely upsetting. She seemed much happier working in this environment. So that's something.
We also met Carla, whose acumen in this field seems unrivalled. She's managed to attract niche crowds, who'll pay £2 a minute to watch her cook dinner in her knickers. She once made £300 in one night from people watching her play XBox. A state of affairs that makes one ponder both the state of mind of the punters and also the value of one's education.
It was hard to know what to make of all this. What fascinated me was the banality of the interaction. The whole thing seemed as sexy as grouting. The women, though, seemed fairly happy with their lot, viewing the work solely in transactional terms. The men? God knows. Thankfully, we only saw one side of the camera.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
Arts & Ents blogs
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 4 Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
- 5 Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Syd Barrett's inner visions
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Simon Cowell 'feels like an idiot' after Jules and Matisse scandal
Game of Thrones season 6: George RR Martin doing 'anything he can' to get new book The Winds of Winter out before next HBO series airs
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9, The Dance of Dragons: Jon Snow returns to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Prison Break revival series planned by Fox with Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
Russian 'aggression' sees Poland rearm its military as minister warns: 'We must be ready'