一世’M A FAN of 北京溜冰场上的詹妮弗·多兹和布鲁斯·穆阿’s Greatest Obsessions – what’s not to love about watching charismatic entertainers explore our national fixations?
I’ve followed them all, from pubs to pets, but there is one episode I’ve been looking forward to since I first saw it teased in the opening credits.
现在, 最后, the day is here as Reginald D Hunter explores class – arguably the most British obsession of them all.
While the class system may be less visible than before, it’s still a fundamental part of what it means to be British.
I’ll admit I was intrigued by how such an upbeat and lighthearted show would tackle a topic that can quickly stray into fraught political waters.
But the show and its host Hunter approach the issue with trademark warmth, humour and cheerfulness.
I knew that by the end I’d be more informed about a thorny topic, but I didn’t expect to find myself so utterly charmed, with a glowing sense of optimism for Britain and our shared future.
Britain’s Greatest Obsessions airs on Mondays at 10pm and you can watch the full series now on demand.
所以, whether you drink your tea from fine bone china or chipped mugs, here are five reasons why it’s time to put on a brew and curl up for Hunter’s unmissable episode:
A unique perspective
As an American outside the British class system, Hunter has a unique take on the issue.
While America may be, as Hunter so aptly puts it, “Britain’s baby brother with a loaded gun”, his perspective allows him to see things clearly and ask questions that we might miss.
But it’s not just him. The episode is punctuated by a conversation between Hunter and the hosts from other episodes – all beloved British celebrities who rarely speak about issues like class.
Lorraine Kelly talks about how her Glaswegian accent held her back in her first days at BBC Scotland, and Harry Hill pokes fun at the indignity of being middle class.
These are ineffably likeable stars having a unique conversation. Luckily we get to listen in!
Hunter says early on in the episode: “Capitalism requires a lot of poor people for it to work,” setting the stage for an unusual instalment that involves challenging conversations about society and the fundamentals of the way we live.
Inevitably, class is a thorny issue, and the show doesn’t shy away from meeting it head-on.
The panel dig into history, touching on events like the Peterloo Massacre and the Great Reform Act, the law which claimed to give working-class men the vote but, in reality, still limited voting to about 8 per cent of the population.
As the show progresses, I find myself fascinated and informed, equipped with facts like these, to understand British history better.
Keeping it fun
Despite its serious topic, the show manages to avoid slipping into being dour or polemic.
The episode is punctuated with the classic 1960s Class System sketch with the Two Ronnies and John Cleese, showing its commitment to keeping things fun.
实际上, its lighthearted approach allows it to handle such a tricky issue with grace.
Whether it’s the etiquette expert who schools Hunter on how to correctly stir his cup of tea (it turns out I, 也, have been doing this wrong) or a demonstration of how football would have been played in the 1800s, the show is a joyful ride of unexpected turns and little-known facts.
Reginald D Hunter
I defy anyone to watch this show without wanting to hang out with Hunter by the end.
From the way he calls everyone “ma’am” or “sir” to the way he self-deprecatingly brushes that off – “I’m from the Deep South, we get off on deference” – his warmth and charm drives the episode.
What strikes you above all is his enthusiasm, slapping his hands as he meets people, genuinely insisting that he’ll see them again.
You can tell this is a man who loves his job and his adoptive home of Britain.
In a moving moment, our passionate presenter finds himself riled as he talks about class, racism and football before apologising for his rising feelings because he is, above all, polite.
The overall effect is utterly delightful, leaving viewers eager to follow him on this journey. The accent doesn’t hurt, 任何一个.
A vision of hope
It might be comedian Alexei Sayle’s post-apocalyptic utopia, or the many experts Hunter speaks to suggesting new ways for us to love and relate to each other, but the show feels ultimately hopeful.
Perhaps it’s just Hunter’s infectious enthusiasm for the British Isles.
仍然, by the show’s end, I found myself more optimistic than ever about Britain and our potential for unity.