The Weekend's Television: Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum, Sun, BBC3; On Thin Ice, Sun, BBC2; Rivers with Griff Rhys Jones, Sun, BBC1

There seems to me to be an essential flaw in Young, Dumb and Living off Mum, a BBC3 series in which eight unweaned young people are torn from the parental teat and forced to look after themselves in a south London house. Each week the participant who has delivered the feeblest simulation of maturity is voted off the show by a panel of their parents while the remaining members stay on to compete for the prize of a round-the-world trip. And, given how infuriatingly feckless those taking part are, this seems to get the carrot-and- stick ratio seriously wrong. Surely it should be the other way round. The ones that show themselves halfway capable of adult life should get early release for good behaviour, while the monsters are forced to stay, battling to avoid the grand prize of a season's work as a deckhand on an Arctic crab boat. Given their terrors of even the smallest personal inconvenience I suppose they would have all simply walked out in week one – but barbed wire and Tasers don't cost that much.

On the other hand, perhaps it's not the inmates that deserve the punishing. If you've got a 25-year-old still living at home, demanding an "allowance" and scornfully contemptuous of the idea that they might justify their existence in any way, then you've probably played a sizeable part in making them that way. It's not that these people are incapable of grasping the abstract concept of responsibility. It's just that they have never been required to exercise the muscles. So you get dim, blurry approximations of what it might look like to behave in a grown-up fashion. Rachel, a puffy amalgam of smeared mascara and backcombed hair, groggily explains that she only goes out and gets hammered two nights a week and that on the other nights she keeps her drinking in check – advancing this as a measure of her self-control. Dina, who thinks herself a prodigy of self-reliance because she can make instant soup, is puzzled when she attempts to do it from scratch: "I thought you just put peas in a pan and they melted," she says, jabbing disconsolately at the pan with a potato masher. Frankly it's surprising that they can wipe their own bottoms – though the state of the house lavatories suggests that some of them might still be grappling with that lowest common denominator badge of independence.

Their task this week was to put on a fashion show, a challenge one team achieved perfectly creditably while the other team, handicapped by people whose egos have had an extra four or five years to calcify into selfishness, fell apart. Jay, a preening clothes horse who'd assumed he'd walk it, was sent home after one of the faintly prickly decision sessions in which parents are obliged to diss each other's children. He sulkily declared himself happy, his mother looked profoundly glum and the other housemates faced the grim prospect of another week living with Nicola – the most aggressive defender of her right to wallow in her own mess until somebody else can be persuaded to clean it up. Come to think of it, Nicola may count as a big enough stick.

That overachievement can have its selfish aspects was demonstrated by the final episode of On Thin Ice, as Ben Fogle and his teammates pressed on to the South Pole – putting in sixteen-hour days as human sled-dogs. James Cracknell was the problem here – competitive to the point of pathology. Despite the fact that his body was falling apart, and despite the fact that coming first was hardly the point anyway, he pushed relentlessly onwards, absorbing the support of his team members like a sponge and reflecting very little of it back. When they found themselves in a crevasse field he refused to harness himself up, storming melodramatically ahead on his own. "The state I'm in, I'm no use to you," he said. The dangerous self-indulgence of this gesture even infuriated the lovably genial Fogle – a far better exemplar of the right stuff, to my mind, because he combines physical determination with a heart that manages to stay warm even at 40 degrees below.

Griff Rhys-Jones has done mountains and Coast has already been bagsied by someone else. So his latest topographical excursion, Rivers with Griff Rhys Jones, takes waterways as the running theme. He started in Scotland, risking his manhood by abseiling down the side of the Grey Mare's Tail waterfall and then subjecting himself to varying degrees of dampness and drenching as he squelched and canoed along the Leven, the Tummel and the Tay. It's calendar television, packed with landscape shots that could be framed and hung on a wall – and Rhys-Jones certainly can't be accused of failing to immerse himself in his subject. He ended by risking his manhood again, swimming a mile in the Tay in November, alongside a wild swimming club whose members appeared to have a lot more natural insulation than he does.

Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
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.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk