BBC2, Friday

TV review: Wild Shepherdess - Look out, chaps, there's a goat botherer about!

2.00

She makes yoghurt, she spins yarn, she looks nice in a fleece. But when will Kate Humble's gap year ever end?

Why are you filming this? It's only dung!" Kate Humble travels thousands of miles to the Wakhan Valley and who does she meet among the primitive herdspeople who scratch a living from the back end of Afghanistan? A TV critic. This sharp-eyed tribeswoman had a point, though – a point, as it happens, that Brian Sewell made in another newspaper last Sunday. The 81-year-old art critic has turned into the awkward grandparent of British culture, spouting the truths that many others dare not speak. His diatribe was directed at the BBC's factual programming, which he called "patronising rubbish", citing the various jaunts of, among others, Michael Palin: "He goes to Outer Mongolia and sleeps in a yurt, but you don't learn anything about Outer Mongolia's politics, economics, future or past. You're merely having an adventure holiday by proxy."

Back to Humble, in her yurt, in outer Afghanistan, where Sewell's criticisms appeared to have turned into directorial notes. The idea of Wild Shepherdess with Kate Humble was that she trek up to the high mountain pastures of the Wakhi and spend a few weeks living with them – the presenter herself farms sheep in Wales, so, she told us, she wanted to "look back in time to experience an ancient way of life to see if it has a place in the 21st century". Perhaps. But only glancingly did she try to make good on this promise: late on in the documentary, we learned that child mortality blights the community and that the average life expectancy of the Wakhi is a mere 35 years.

Instead, Humble played the role in which she excels, the nice girl who set off on her gap year 25 years ago and never quite came home. She made yoghurt, she spun yarn, she looked fetching in expensive hiking gear. And she milked a goat. It's probably in Humble's contract that she has to milk a goat on screen at least once a year. The Wakhi, meanwhile, stood back, looked picturesque against the mountain backdrop and possibly wondered how much of their short 35 years on Earth they were going to spend watching Humble churn butter in the dark.

Wild Shepherdess may well like to think it inhabits an altogether classier neighbourhood of the schedules than Hollywood Me (Channel 4, Wednesday ***). But at least the Channel 4 makeover show couldn't give a damn about its own contrivance. Each week a deserving civilian is jetted off to Los Angeles, and hosted for three days of pampering by a celebrity; meanwhile, unbeknown to them, their home is redecorated by interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard.

This overexcitable hybrid format was as exhausting as it sounds. Emily from Peterborough, a mother to quadruplet toddlers and a social worker, looked fair pooped when she was ambushed by Bullard, bushed as she was dragged about the boutiques and clinics of Beverly Hills by Sharon Osbourne, and none too refreshed when she collapsed on her new sofas back home. But the show couldn't have given two hoots about the sensible Emily and a bored-looking Osbourne, not with Bullard chewing up the scenery, often his own.

Wearing a cravat and an appalled pout for most of the programme, Bullard sailed way past the stereotype of the interior designer. He took inspiration from a snap of Emily's Maldives honeymoon and declared that he was going to create a "space with me-time quality", with an Indian Ocean look. In the end, Emily looked pleased with her vamped-up home, though it would be fun to see how the woven-grass wallpaper passes the quadruplets' snag check.

It's no coincidence, I suspect, that The White Queen (BBC1, Sunday ***) began its 10-part run the week that Game of Thrones finished. The BBC's adaptation of Philippa Gregory's War of the Roses novels has an eye on the same audience – the opening credits, the snowy, nightmarish opening scene, each was a none-too-subtle steal of GoT's own.

Whether it has anything like the same capacity to deliver sweaty sex, ultra-violence and low politics, and all on a Sunday night, remains to be seen after last week's wobbly start.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
One Direction go Fourth: The boys pose on the cover of their new album Four

Review: One Direction, Four

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
'Game of Thrones' writer George RR Martin

Review: The World of Ice and Fire

books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Bean will play 'extraordinary hero' Inspector John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles
tvHow long before he gets killed off?
Arts and Entertainment
Some like it hot: Blaise Bellville

music
Arts and Entertainment
A costume worn by model Kate Moss for the 2013 photograph

art
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Len Goodman appeared to mutter the F-word after Simon Webbe's Strictly performance

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T makes his long-awaited return to the London stage
musicReview: Alexandra Palace, London
Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 back in 2001 when they also supported 'Children in Need'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth rejoins Tess Daly to host the Strictly Come Dancing Children in Need special
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan plays Christian Grey getting ready for work

Film More romcom than S&M

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

Review: The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
The comedian Daniel O'Reilly appeared contrite on BBC Newsnight last night

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
The American stand-up Tig Notaro, who performed topless this week

Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars

Arts and Entertainment

TVNetflix gets cryptic

Arts and Entertainment
Claudia Winkleman is having another week off Strictly to care for her daughter
TV
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Children in Need is the BBC's UK charity. Since 1980 it has raised over £600 million to change the lives of disabled children and young people in the UK

TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his winning novel

Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination

Arts and Entertainment
Bryan Cranston will play federal agent Robert Mazur in The Infiltrator

Books
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines