English men are useless – and here's the TV series to prove it

If you are English, male, single and thinking of nipping across to Canada to improve your sex life – forget it. English men are not world renowned as great lovers anyway, and our reputation in North America is about to take a nosedive, courtesy of a Canadian journalist named Leah McLaren who turned up in London six years ago, as correspondent for the Toronto Globe and Mail, aged 26 and single, and thinking that she was in for some exciting sex in the city.

Her English dates turned out to be a crashing disappointment – too polite, too repressed and too misogynist to go through what a young North American would recognise as a decent courtship ritual, she claimed. She suspected that if she had ever ended up in the bedroom with any of them, she would have been invited to engage in something involving whips, chain and dildos – but that is speculation, because she never got that far.

Instead she wrote a coruscating piece entitled "The Tragic Ineptitude Of The English Male", which received vast publicity on both sides of the Atlantic. And as if she has not insulted English virility enough already, she has written a television drama, which will be shown on Canadian television as the pilot for a series, so that the whole country can laugh at English impotence.

"It is based on my experience," McLaren said yesterday. "It's the story of a Canadian woman who gets a job on a right-wing tabloid in London and ends up dating a lot of crap British men, and the comic turmoil that ensues. It's kind of like Sex in the City meets Bridget Jones."

A Canadian actress, Liane Ballaban, has been cast as the main character, and auditions are taking place this week for English supporting actors. McLaren will be in London most of July and August for the exterior locations for the film – but if you think, guys, that here is your chance to prove her wrong about English virility, forget it. She has a beau over here already. He is an ex-pat Canadian.

Warming to the theme of English inadequacy, she went on: "It's something about English culture generally – the formality and the utter perversity. It's the guy with perfect, perfect manners who then wants to go home and be whipped and chained ... The politeness is in direct proportion to the nastiness when they are drunk."

Her initial quest for excitement in London drew her to the conclusion that the English male is either a repressed homosexual, a drunkard whose alcohol intake renders him incapable, a boarding school product deprived of his mother's love too early in life, or simply a woman-hater. She wrote this for The Spectator – an interesting outlet, because the magazine's editor then was Boris Johnson. "He's very sexy, but I didn't have an affair with him," she said. "He's a very unusual character. He's not your usual upper-class Englishman, is he?"

The article provoked some ferocious counter-attacks, most notably in the Daily Mail, which asked "could her views have anything to do with her on lesbian dabblings?" – a question clearly anticipating the answer "yes". "Ah yes, the lesbian dabblings!" McLaren replied yesterday. "That was dug up from a column I wrote saying heterosexuality was overrated. Alas, no lesbian dabblings to report in real life. But please feel free to keep the false rumour circulating if you are so inclined. In my world, lesbian dabblings only enhance a woman's reputation."

Producing McLaren's comedy will involve creating a mock-up of the news room of a British right-wing tabloid newspaper. So, did she by any chance visit the Kensington offices of the Daily Mail? "I have been through the Daily Mail office because I have a very good friend who works there, Robert Hardman," she said. "But I didn't date him."

She did, however, have a date with the brother of Lord Palmer, of the biscuit family, who is now the travel editor of the Daily Mail. Mark Palmer wrote: "What she has written is such utter nonsense that I can only assume that her now widely syndicated piece of journalism ... is part of an elaborate hoax to see how much publicity you can get from peddling a cliché about Englishmen that I thought had died."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick