TV: Television review

Suzi has her own agent, who described his client as `a vivacious, young, bubbly girl... who's quite talented'. This would have sounded better without the note of surprise in the last word, but perhaps he thought it best to come at our credulity sideways. In his Cutting Edge film John Fothergill followed his words with footage of Suzi fluffing a piece to camera, the one cheap shot in a documentary that might very easily have been indistinguishable from a fairground shooting gallery.
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Suzi Walker first met her husband Ian after he had seen her work as a glamour model on page three of The Sun (which, it appears, serves as a take-away menu for footballers too indolent to go out to a nightclub). He then phoned her up for what you would have to call a half-blind date. She turned immediately to the page three girl's mail-order catalogue for desirable mates - a footballing magazine - to see whether the proposal was worth accepting, but he wasn't then famous enough to appear regularly, and she had to take a chance. Luckily everything worked out fine. He is now England and Spurs goalkeeper and they are a perfect footballing couple - at least, that is, if you are a director hoping to conjure a particular stereotype. They have a luxurious home in Ongar ("It's a bit messy because I've been away for a bit" said Suzi, leading you through a room whose showroom perfection was marred only by a rolled up newspaper), two dogs (a pit bull for him and a Scottie for her) and matching BMWs. What's more Suzi has a budding career as a television presenter, hosting Hiya!, "a cable chat-show where Suzi meets other famous footballer's wives". Indeed Suzi has her own agent - a gentleman who described his client as "a vivacious, young, bubbly girl... who's quite talented". This would have sounded better without the note of surprise in the last word, but perhaps he thought it best to come at our credulity sideways. In his Cutting Edge film John Fothergill followed his words with footage of Suzi fluffing a piece to camera, the one cheap shot in a documentary that might very easily have been indistinguishable from a fairground shooting gallery.

On the other hand if all the other participants had been as chirpily contented as Suzi there wouldn't have been much between Football Wives and Hiya! itself - but for a dab of ironic detachment (that miracle ingredient which allows up-market documentary strands to exploit reliably down-market subject matter without getting their hands greasy - as in Cutting Edge's recent documentary about The Sunday Sport). Fortunately Fothergill followed a more interesting course, spending time with women whose experiences had been a little more mixed. Ann Lee, who never appeared without a frown of anxiety on her face, had fallen in love with her footballer when he played on her father's youth team. He didn't represent a career enhancement, in other words, just a boy she liked. Since then Jason Lee has played in the Premier Division for Nottingham Forest, where he was distinguished by his elaborate dreadlock hairstyle and an unfortunate run of missing obvious goals. This made him an easy scoring opportunity for Fantasy Football League, whose jokes naturally fed back onto the terraces and did little to improve his confidence (it was an incidental revelation of Fothergill's film that the bullying streak in David Baddiel's humour can have lasting consequences for his targets). At this level being a footballer's wife meant a life of uncertainty and rented houses, never knowing which team's duvet you would be spreading over your children's beds next season. "I wunnent wish it on anybody" she said grimly.

Sam Holdsworth was more in the classical mould - blonde and beautiful and ambitious for better things - but she had first-hand experience of the notoriously brittle condition of young mens' fidelity when faced with the erotic equivalent of an open goal. Her husband, or "Cheating Deano" as he was known by one tabloid, finally succumbed to the pressure and though they were obviously reconciled at the time of filming, it was a wary kind of armistice - one that appeared to have left her more confident rather than less. Her revenge was most ingenious. She had taken up a singing career - hiring two wonderfully ludicrous music producers to mastermind a cover version of a bubblegum aria about the treachery of men. This neatly meant that she could get everything she felt about him off her chest while at the same time pouring prodigious amounts of his money down the drain.

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