You Are What You Eat: TV shows that proved the noughties were a cultural hole

BEFORE we reached the heights of the current golden age of television, Britain made some shows that were void of decency, humour or sophistication. Like these:

Balls of Steel

Taking the Jackass concept and stripping it of all charm, this forgettable hidden camera concept featured Z-listers performing a series of half-arsed pranks. Marc Dolan’s interviews were full of phrases like ‘Fancy a bum?’ which were inoffensive and the peak of humour back then, and probably still acceptable in his current role as a GB News presenter.

Hole In the Wall

Japanese game show culture got lost in translation when the BBC ran its own version of Lycra-clad idiots contorting themselves through polystyrene shapes over a swimming pool. Dale Winton looked admirably indifferent to what he was hosting and Joe Swash was just happy to be made a captain of something. The phrase ‘Bring on the wall!’ lives on, if only as a chucklesome memory of a programme that was bafflingly shit.

The Jeremy Kyle Show

Our version of Jerry Springer poked fun at the lower classes with made-up stories of tracksuited men sleeping with three sisters at the same time. It was an uncomfortable circus sideshow where a furious Alan Partridge-type took the dubious moral high ground and threatened lie detector tests like a medieval torture device. After neglecting the well-being of its participants to a horrifying extent, it got mercifully cancelled.

Naked Jungle

Channel 5 have never been shy of a tawdry show that prizes seedy titillation above interesting content. Naked Jungle saw a stark bollock naked Keith Chegwin presiding over what was essentially a nude version of The Crystal Maze, soiling viewer’s eyes and any remaining shred of Cheggers’ dignity in the process. Thank Christ there was only one episode.

You Are What You Eat

All anyone remembers about this show is that not-actually-a-real-doctor Doctor Gillian McKeith made participants poo in a plastic box before having to look at all the food they ate in a week laid out on a table while she called them fat bastards. Luckily McKeith doesn’t feature in the kinder, more thoughtful reboot of the series, having moved on to a career as an anti-vax loon on Twitter.

10 Years Younger

In a time where body shaming was fine, Channel 4 went the extra mile to make people think plastic surgery was the first logical resort to having a muffin top. After body-conscious people were ogled at like zoo animals, a Bond villain doctor would draw haphazard surgery lines in Sharpie all over them, while sarcastic stylist Nicky Hambleton-Jones rolled her eyes behind designer spectacles at their godawful dress sense. Terrifying.

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Eat a meal, and other activities you can no longer do without looking at your phone

PHONES have changed the way people go about their lives, mainly for the worse. Here are five simple activities you can no longer do without them.

Eat a meal

Back in the good old days you’d watch TV while shovelling ready meals into your mouth. Not anymore. In the modern age, all food is consumed with one hand while the other furiously swipes through content that has milliseconds to capture your attention. Meanwhile your brain has long forgotten how to register flavours because it’s been fried by dopamine hits.

Watch TV

Speaking of watching TV, this is no longer the preferred way to switch your brain off after a long day of slacking at work. Instead, it’s a mere background distraction from the smaller screen that’s closer to your face. Compared to the Instagram reels and YouTube shorts on your phone, TV’s long-form programming feels as antiquated as a clothes mangle.

Go to the toilet

Going to the toilet is a disgusting necessity, so it makes sense that you need a distraction from the various waste products leaving your body. But are phones the answer? Think about all the horrid germs accumulating on the screen that you hold to your face on a regular basis. At least The Book of Bunny Suicides didn’t set you back a grand if you accidentally dropped it in the bowl.

Walk around

The only things you need for a walk are clothes and shoes, and even they’re optional if you’re feeling brave enough. Packing a pocket-sized supercomputer with access to all the world’s knowledge and entertainment seems excessive, especially if you only want it to track your steps. Invest in a pedometer, assuming they still exist, if you’re that bothered.


For centuries, people have managed to get to sleep by going horizontal and shutting their eyes. Almost as if your inflexible need to listen to white noise and the Harry Potter audiobooks is total bullshit. Have you ever thought that staring at a glowing rectangle at night might be the cause of your f**ked up circadian rhythm? If not, maybe you should.