Up and down the streets of shame

"I've been 'ere two and a 'alf, free ahrs and so far I've got two and a 'alf sentences up on the screen," wailed Pauline Quirke in Jobs for the Girls (BBC1), "... I fort it'd be easy, but it's not." She was attempting to write a brief story for the Hackney Gazette about two orphan lambs and was discovering the fatal attractions of the delete button. "I think your problem is one of deadlines," said an unusually percipient sub-editor, noting that they were now several hours past delivery time.

The lamb story, accompanied by a photograph taken by Linda Robson, was the price of admission to the Guardian, where the two women were to work themselves towards covering a real news story - or at least one of those PR exercises that constitute the learner slopes of journalism. In some respects they had already been schooled by their celebrity. Being on the receiving end of so many flashbulbs herself Linda Robson had no difficulty capturing the news photographer's trick of tactical impertinence; "Johnnie. Johnnie! Show it to me, Johnnie!" she shouted at the Prime Minister, hoping to turn his head with naughty talk. Meanwhile Pauline, engaged in an in- depth probe into underpant purchases, was going through a rite of passage endured by most young journalists - returning to the office to find that your notes appear to have been scribbled in Urdu.

I've heard this series described as "unique" in on-air publicity, when it's actually just a retread of In at the Deep End, a series in which Paul Heiney exposed himself to a variety of professional humiliations. That doesn't really matter: the two guinea-pigs here are likeable (far more likeable, for my money, than they are in Birds of a Feather) and the device is a sturdy one anyway. It's unlikely ever to deliver real professional secrets (the secret in most professions being that there is no single secret) but it does include some truthful glimpses of how the machinery works. It was telling that Linda managed to get her best Downing Street shot (Douglas Hurd doing his Grandee's Goosestep) by breaking the rules - she was soon shepherded back into the photographer's holding pen by a barking policeman, but by that time she had stolen her extra angle.

Secret Lives (C4), was both fascinating and frustrating, an account of Freud's early life which was subject to its own repressions and denial. The principal authority in the programme was Jeffrey Masson, a highly controversial figure in the field of Freudian studies because of his contention that Freud suppressed his first belief that neuroses had their seat in infantile sexual abuse. According to Masson, Freud couldn't face up to the implications of this theory and effectively covered up the testimonies of his early patients, converting their real experiences into generalised fantasies. Masson, in turn, has been attacked both by the imams of Freudian orthodoxy, outraged at this implication of bad faith, and by psychoanalytical scholars, who argue that the betrayal was still greater, that Freud effectively invented the earlier accounts of sexual abuse - that he was, in effect, the father of False Memory Syndrome.

This is still volatile matter but there was little sense of recent explosions in Fisher Dilke's film, an elegant and effective piece of story-telling, which hinted at hidden secrets but was never quite explicit about its own dark wishes. Its account of the treatment of Emma Eckstein was carefully horrifying - a tale of medical torture and half-baked therapy, assisted by real footage of nasal surgery and a display of surgical instruments that would have impressed David Cronenberg. But it was unclear what we were meant to make of this evidence of Freud's human fallibility. Was it a trauma which enabled psychoanalysis or discredited it from birth? I think I need to talk to a doctor.

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

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.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas