The six people your mum is probably talking about

YOUR mum’s telling you about someone, you drifted off thinking about Wagon Wheels, and now you’ve no idea who. It’s probably one of these:

Auntie Kath

The moral arc of the universe bends towards justice and the conversational arc of your mother bends towards Auntie Kath. Everything goes back to her: the dress she wore at that funeral, the low quality of her vol-au-vents in 2010, what she said about Auntie Susan. You’ve seen Auntie Kath twice in 20 years and don’t care.

Brian next door

A towering figure in your mother’s life, the movements and conversation of Brian – who is apparently a lovely man – are chronicled in minute detail. His passing remark about the weather will be relayed to you six to eight times. Apparently you’ve met him.

Her old friend Francesca

The story of how your mum drifted out of touch with Francesca then found her through Facebook is recounted like Arthurian legend. You hear everything about her, but she never seems available to meet up with mum. Almost like their renewed friendship is something she regrets.

Bridget from her craft group

A newcomer to your mum’s monologues but coming up fast. Bridget sits next to your mum when they’re sewing and oh, the fun they have. Especially when they were already laughing and Bridget made an ‘in stitches’ gag. ‘You should have been there,’ your mum says, and you feel like you were.

Bridget from her craft group’s daughter Siobahn

We’re doing at-three-removes now? This is f**ked. You resent it with the same slow-burning intensity that you resent hearing about Brooklyn Beckham. Nonetheless you’re filled in on Siobahn’s job, her flat in Peckham, her city break in Riga. Why?

Your dad

Never mentioned in any conversations. Barely exists as far as your mum’s concerned. Only included here on the outside chance he’s inconvenienced her by taking her car to be serviced.

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Married At First Sight, and other reality TV shows that clearly just want the best for people

REALITY TV? Exploitative? What sort of monster would unwind by watching others suffer? These shows only want the best for their stars:

Married At First Sight

Forget the tears and scandals which unfold during every episode, the scientifically trained experts behind this unique experiment are focused on wedding perfectly-matched couples. They’re hardly to blame if humiliating rows or embarrassing life choices get caught on camera in the process. That’s the contestants’ fault.

The Apprentice

The world of business is almost impossible to get into. You can’t study it at university and not everybody is capable of thinking up a flawed business model which will collapse within a year. To help budding entrepreneurs take their first steps, Lord Sugar gives them a taste of what the corporate world is really like by giving them two days to make a crap advert that will haunt them forever.

I’m A Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here!

To the untrained eye this show looks like nothing more than a degrading way for C-list celebrities to try and revive their careers. But TV executives are universally nice people and would never be so inhumane as to make struggling entertainers eat a kangaroo’s anus for our amusement. You should be ashamed of yourself for cynically thinking they would.

Made In Chelsea

Made In Chelsea is an awe-inspiring documentary far superior to the tripe David Attenborough churns out. For years the public has wondered how vacuous morons go for cocktails and have arguments with their fake-tanned, non-entity friends; and now, thanks to this pioneering show, regular people can empathise with them. The world would be a bleak place without it.

Don’t Tell The Bride

Every little girl dreams of handing control of her big day over to a stupid and disinterested partner, and Don’t Tell The Bride makes that popular fantasy a reality. What wife-to-be hasn’t pictured their vows being exchanged while closing credits roll over them because they’re not entertaining enough for the main programme? Those are tears of happiness she’s crying.

Come Dine With Me

Don’t let Dave Lamb’s sarcastic narration fool you. While Come Dine With Me appears to be a sick competition where the worst facets of humanity are allowed to shine via cooking, it’s actually a gripping insight into how unbreakable, lifelong friendships are forged. It gets a 10 from us for being a heart-warming reminder of people’s best virtues.