Tune in, switch off - Spot the real clowns

3rd July 2009 at 01:00

Question: "Do you have a schedule of work?" Response: "Er, not exactly." That's just what the Year 10s say and we all know it means "no chance".

Sarah Beeny had to deal with just this sort of fudging in Property Snakes and Ladders (Channel 4), calling in the homework from this week's amateur fortune hunters. As the economy crashes, they're sinking their lifetime borrowings into home improvement. "Look behind you!" I cry out in horror.

Wannabe magnates, two singers and an artist were too busy making records and painting to manage their builder. Why didn't someone warn them that this would involve humping bricks and getting covered in navvy sweat?

The second couple, Shaun and Nicola, who got their homework in on time, explained that they resolved all their work disputes back at the "office". This turned out to be the under-the-duvet space most of us call a bed, the place they were not allowed to argue. Magically, it was also where all their problems just melted away. I'd love to try that at school.

The young developers never got the planning right. It's the little things they missed, like forgetting to include a bathroom, or putting the kitchen in the loft. What's wrong with a house that has no doors, if it cuts a few quid off the budget? Stubbornly, they never listen to wise Auntie Sarah, even though it could save them millions. Well, Ms Beeny has an invitation to play Snakes and Ladders in my "office" any time, and I promise not to argue.

Children's entertainer Mr Jelly in Psychoville (BBC Two), pictured below, sounded like a property developer himself when, on arriving at a party, he announced the need for "a sturdy table, a pair of pliers and WD40".

Midway through his set, he terrified the children by pulling off his fake hand to reveal the stump beneath. I have a few classes he can come and put the wind up.

Another character, a deranged midwife played by Dawn French, relished showing the video of a screaming mother in labour to her parenting class, urging them to "split the pod to get the peas out". Not one for our childcare course.

Then, clutching a bloodied meat cleaver and emerging from what looked like the set of an Andrew Davies adaptation of a Dickens novel, we saw debauched David, who announced that he had done "a bad murder".

We first met David reading A Complete History of Serial Killers with Mummy - a clue for any Morse viewers that it would end in tears. Shadow-lit scenes of smoke-strewn staircases were as dark as the comedy. The running joke was a hellish alternative universe. And I thought Year 10 was strange

Ray Tarleton is principal of South Dartmoor Community College in Ashburton, Devon.

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