TELEVISION / BRIEFING: The draw of the classless society

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The Independent Culture
A braying Hooray Henry at the races gives his considered opinion about the working classes: 'They're great . . . who on earth would look after the horses?' Plain Melody Urquhart laid out a few quid for a piece of parchment and became Lady de Antingham Wychingham. Now she finds she gets her washing-machine fixed more quickly. For his latest visual essay, SCARFE ON CLASS (9.50pm BBC2), cartoonist Gerald Scarfe has unearthed enough class warriors - from all walks of life - to explode the Prime Ministerial concept of a classless society. Horse-racing, horse-breeding, and snakes and ladders - intercut with Scarfe's strikingly savage cartoons - are all used to represent the struggle between the strata, and examples of our class-bound attitudes crowd the film like dropped aitches in Minder. How should one hold one's knife and fork? Should one put the milk in before or after the tea? Should one say 'toilet' or 'lavatory', 'pardon' or 'what'? Are the Royal Family thoroughly aristocratic or irredeemably middle-class? As with all Scarfe's films, it is not what he says but how he says it that is interesting. Scarfe on television may not be a class act, but at least he's an original one.

(Photograph omitted)