Love Thy Neighbour, Week 3: They're Waving Cow Skulls Now

Welcome to episode three of How To Make Everyone In The North Look Like A Small-Minded Bigot Using Video Editing...
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Welcome to episode three of How To Make Everyone In The North Look Like A Small-Minded Bigot Using Video Editing...

Welcome back to the show where two very different couples go head to head to win over the hearts and minds of the population of Grassington and secure the right to live amongst them in rural idyll for all eternity. Except, as Channel 4 are fortunately on hand to ram into our eyeballs at every turn, local people are dim-witted sceptics who view outsiders as a sort of ambulant virus, capable of destroying their community’s finely balanced eco-system simply by talking with a different accent and moving around in it.

Where the first week’s show highlighted the disgusting trend of people over the age of 70 describing black people as “black” when asked what colour their skin is, this week’s show is challenging the sensibilities of Grassington’s uber-conservative residents in a different way. Not a massively different way, granted, but a way that’s just different enough for it not to be exactly the same. Like, say, the difference between a courgette and a small marrow. Though courgettes are probably banned in Grassington for being “a bit too French”.

Competing this week for the keys to a dream £300,000 cottage in a village full of violently judgmental pensioners who will make the rest of their days a deeply uncomfortable paranoia-flecked misery are travelling couple Corwen and Kate, and southern parents Jay and Steph.

As ever, Dr. Jackson will be on call to give a sensationally inaccurate diagnosis of the levels of drama at hand, and also to act as a mediator between the four contestants – who’re perpetually degraded and embarrassed by a series of public speaking and performance tasks – and the village’s bored-looking inhabitants.

Frankly, this all seems like rather a lot of bother to put yourself through simply to live in a hamlet full of bastards, but, just out of (feigned) interest, what criteria are the villagers looking for our contestants to fill?
“We don’t like people who are too pushy or in your face” says one prickly-looking battleaxe.
“Some people still aren’t comfortable with gays,” says another.
“We don’t want people who are on benefits,” spits a third.
Aw. We can almost see the hopeful grin fade from Boy George’s face.

The boundaries well and truly established, we’re thrown into the world of Dorset couple Corwen and Kate, who are in the unique position of viewing Grassington as some sort of bustling metropolis, given that they currently live in a field. The pair’s hobbies include writing and performing folk music (which sounds reasonably accomplished, hence why Channel 4 don’t show us any of it in case we start to think they might be anything other than lunatics). What you might term as their “quirks” include the fact that they like dressing up as Vikings, and that Corwen is also rather keen of hiding underneath a hessian throw whilst waving a cow’s skull on a stick. Hands up, that’s pretty weird – not least because Corwen’s cow is called “Nobbin”.

Steph has a third child growing inside of her womb that could exit her vagina at any moment and shout “ENGLAND TIL I DIE” like some sort of super-uncouth miniature Danny Dyer.

“If they like us, fine,” says Kate.
“If they don’t, we can go home,” grins Corwen.
“Yeah, back to your field you hand-knitted psycho,” the narrator adds telepathically.
Corwen and Kate’s competition comes in the form of Jay – a salesman and self-styled “Del Boy” - and his spendaholic baby-machine wife Steph. The Bedfordshire couple already have two children, which is portrayed as being somehow slightly abnormal, while Steph has a third growing inside of her womb that could exit her vagina at any moment and shout “ENGLAND TIL I DIE” like some sort of super-uncouth miniature Danny Dyer.
“They’re Wymington’s Posh & Becks,” asserts the narrator boldly. That’s a stretch, to be honest. Squinting, we can only assume that Jay has somehow escaped notoriety as one of England’s most capped footballers, whilst Steph was either part of an internationally known girl group, or is as thick as pigshit. One or the other.

Dr. Jackson is uncertain. “You do have to get over the broad southern accent,” he says pensively, apparently oblivious to his own perfectly broadcastable Home Counties RP. That doctorate’s clearly not in linguistics, but it might be in bullshit.
So far, it’s Steph and Jay who have the upper hand, as their children could be just the raw materials the locals need to keep Castle Grassington free from the poisons of the modern world for generations to come. The way Ch4 has it, these people are practically Amish.
Next, Dustin Hoffman swings by and... oh wait sorry, that’s an ad break.
Of course, for depressing competition shows like this, there must be conflict and, inevitably, after the break, IT’S WAR. Both sides are planning an event to woo the villagers. Frankly, we’re amazed that nobody’s making a bigger deal of the fact that they’ve both come up with these plans simultaneously and of their own volition. What are the odds on that? Billions to one? Incredible. Anyway, Corwen – still reeling from the fact that hot water comes out of the kitchen tap –  and Kate – dressed as Nobbin this time (how confusing) – have hatched a plan to show the people of Grassington just how fucking nuts they are by walking up and down the High Street. Good plan. I like it. It’s simple, and it’s got balls.

Meanwhile Steph and Jay are planning some sort of beauty pageant for the local children. Jay’s “salesman’s patter” is heralded as a triumph of language and the human spirit.
“Mothers can’t resist his charms,” the narrator asserts flimsily, as the woman who looks after the village hall glances at the empty calendar and agrees to let him use the venue tomorrow lunchtime. Wow, how did he secure that? How did two such disparate people overcome their insurmountable differences and reach this groundbreaking accord? And, more importantly, where will Bon Jovi play now?

The locals are still siding with Jay and Steph. “Years ago, some of the schools were having to close because there weren’t enough children,” moans some old biddie from behind her knitting. She obviously hasn’t heard that they’ve got three children, or she’d be worrying about overcrowding in the classroom.

Back with the hippies, and it turns out that Corwen, Nobbin and Kate’s turn around the High Street earlier was in fact something to do with a folk night that they’re putting on, reigniting my suspicion at the top of the programme that they’re actually playing the long game with this and are looking to secure a record deal. As it happens, 20 people turn up to the folk gig, one of whom is wearing a Levellers t-shirt and looks vaguely disappointed. Clearly he’d heard there were some weird-looking crusties playing a gig in town and leapt to conclusions. Drat.
However, despite the massive turnout, Barmaid Mo isn’t impressed.
“They don’t deserve the house,” she barks.
Succinct, if a little brusque.

Jay and Steph are worried that they haven’t done enough to win. Steph starts crying. The subtext – thanks to some helpful editing – is that they really need this, because Steph has spent all of her husband’s money and if they don’t get a free house, they’ll probably have to sell their children to medical science and emigrate to India to live in a corrugated iron hut.

Add to this Dr. Jackson’s concerns that the villagers mistrust Jay because of his profession and it’s a wonder the poor woman can keep that baby inside her at all.“People in Yorkshire can see past salesman. This is Yorkshire, not down south” he says.

To cut a long story short, Jay and Steph’s beauty pageant is something of an improvised disaster, but, despite a late rally from the Nobbin twins, they still triumph with 52% of the vote.

“Fucking hell,” says Jay under his breath, giving the village a quick blast of the muffled foul language they can expect to hear coming from that 300k cottage down the road when he has an argument with his wife about the time they entered a futile TV gameshow and uprooted their family to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere 350 miles from their friends.

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Welcome back to the show where two very different couples go head to head to win over the hearts and minds of the population of Grassington and secure the right to live amongst them in rural idyll for all eternity. Except, as Channel 4 are fortunately on hand to ram into our eyeballs at every turn, local people are dim-witted sceptics who view outsiders as a sort of ambulant virus, capable of destroying their community’s finely balanced eco-system simply by talking with a different accent and moving around in it.

Where the first week’s show highlighted the disgusting trend of people over the age of 70 describing black people as “black” when asked what colour their skin is, this week’s show is challenging the sensibilities of Grassington’s uber-conservative residents in a different way. Not a massively different way, granted, but a way that’s just different enough for it not to be exactly the same. Like, say, the difference between a courgette and a small marrow. Though courgettes are probably banned in Grassington for being “a bit too French”.

Competing this week for the keys to a dream £300,000 cottage in a village full of violently judgmental pensioners who will make the rest of their days a deeply uncomfortable paranoia-flecked misery are travelling couple Corwen and Kate, and southern parents Jay and Steph.
As ever, Dr. Jackson will be on call to give a sensationally inaccurate diagnosis of the levels of drama at hand, and also to act as a mediator between the four contestants – who’re perpetually degraded and embarrassed by a series of public speaking and performance tasks – and the village’s bored-looking inhabitants.

Frankly, this all seems like rather a lot of bother to put yourself through simply to live in a hamlet full of bastards, but, just out of (feigned) interest, what criteria are the villagers looking for our contestants to fill?
“We don’t like people who are too pushy or in your face” says one prickly-looking battleaxe.
“Some people still aren’t comfortable with gays,” says another.
“We don’t want people who are on benefits,” spits a third.
Aw. We can almost see the hopeful grin fade from Boy George’s face.

The boundaries well and truly established, we’re thrown into the world of Dorset couple Corwen and Kate, who are in the unique position of viewing Grassington as some sort of bustling metropolis, given that they currently live in a field. The pair’s hobbies include writing and performing folk music (which sounds reasonably accomplished, hence why Channel 4 don’t show us any of it in case we start to think they might be anything other than lunatics). What you might term as their “quirks” include the fact that they like dressing up as Vikings, and that Corwen is also rather keen of hiding underneath a hessian throw whilst waving a cow’s skull on a stick. Hands up, that’s pretty weird – not least because Corwen’s cow is called “Nobbin”.

“If they like us, fine,” says Kate.
“If they don’t, we can go home,” grins Corwen.
“Yeah, back to your field you hand-knitted psycho,” the narrator adds telepathically.
Corwen and Kate’s competition comes in the form of Jay – a salesman and self-styled “Del Boy” - and his spendaholic baby-machine wife Steph. The Bedfordshire couple already have two children, which is portrayed as being somehow slightly abnormal, while Steph has a third growing inside of her womb that could exit her vagina at any moment and shout “ENGLAND TIL I DIE” like some sort of super-uncouth miniature Danny Dyer.
“They’re Wymington’s Posh & Becks,” asserts the narrator boldly. That’s a stretch, to be honest. Squinting, we can only assume that Jay has somehow escaped notoriety as one of England’s most capped footballers, whilst Steph was either part of an internationally reknown girl group, or is as thick as pigshit. One or the other.

Dr. Jackson is uncertain. “You do have to get over the broad southern accent,” he says pensively, apparently oblivious to his own perfectly broadcastable Home Counties RP. That doctorate’s clearly not in linguistics, but it might be in bullshit.
So far, it’s Steph and Jay who have the upper hand, as their children could be just the raw materials the locals need to keep Castle Grassington free from the poisons of the modern world for generations to come. The way Ch4 has it, these people are practically Amish.
Next, Dustin Hoffman swings by and... oh wait sorry, that’s an ad break.
Of course, for depressing competition shows like this, there must be conflict and, inevitably, after the break, IT’S WAR. Both sides are planning an event to woo the villagers. Frankly, we’re amazed that nobody’s making a bigger deal of the fact that they’ve both come up with these plans simultaneously and of their own volition. What are the odds on that? Billions to one? Incredible. Anyway, Corwen – still reeling from the fact that hot water comes out of the kitchen tap –  and Kate – dressed as Nobbin this time (how confusing) – have hatched a plan to show the people of Grassington just how fucking nuts they are by walking up and down the High Street. Good plan. I like it. It’s simple, and it’s got balls.

Meanwhile Steph and Jay are planning some sort of beauty pageant for the local children. Jay’s “salesman’s patter” is heralded as a triumph of language and the human spirit.
“Mothers can’t resist his charms,” the narrator asserts flimsily, as the woman who looks after the village hall glances at the empty calendar and agrees to let him use the venue tomorrow lunchtime. Wow, how did he secure that? How did two such disparate people overcome their insurmountable differences and reach this groundbreaking accord? And, more importantly, where will Bon Jovi play now?

The locals are still siding with Jay and Steph. “Years ago, some of the schools were having to close because there weren’t enough children,” moans some old biddie from behind her knitting. She obviously hasn’t heard that they’ve got three children, or she’d be worrying about overcrowding in the classroom.

Back with the hippies, and it turns out that Corwen, Nobbin and Kate’s turn around the High Street earlier was in fact something to do with a folk night that they’re putting on, reigniting my suspicion at the top of the programme that they’re actually playing the long game with this and are looking to secure a record deal. As it happens, 20 people turn up to the folk gig, one of whom is wearing a Levellers t-shirt and looks vaguely disappointed. Clearly he’d heard there were some weird-looking crusties playing a gig in town and leapt to conclusions. Drat.
However, despite the massive turnout, Barmaid Mo isn’t impressed.
“They don’t deserve the house,” she barks.
Succinct, if a little brusque.

Wow. This is really starting to drag now. Jay and Steph are worried that they haven’t done enough to win. Steph starts crying. The subtext – thanks to some helpful editing – is that they really need this, because Steph has spent all of her husband’s money and if they don’t get a free house, they’ll probably have to sell their children to medical science and emigrate to India to live in a corrugated iron hut.

Add to this Dr. Jackson’s concerns that the villagers mistrust Jay because of his profession and it’s a wonder the poor woman can keep that baby inside her at all.
“People in Yorkshire can see past salesman. This is Yorkshire, not down south” he says.
I would finish this paragraph with a joke but if you’ll excuse me I’ve just got to get the door and let the Encyclopaedia Salesmen in.

Now, where were we? Ah yes, an odyssey of dull TV. Uh...
To cut a long story short, Jay and Steph’s beauty pageant is something of an improvised disaster, but, despite a late rally from the Nobbin twins, they still triumph with 52% of the vote.
“Fucking hell,” says Jay under his breath, giving the village a quick blast of the muffled foul language they can expect to hear coming from that 300k cottage down the road when he has an argument with his wife about the time they entered a futile TV gameshow and uprooted their family to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere 350 miles from their friends.

Still, it’s a massive relief for it all to be over, and we know how he feels.
Please, Channel 4. Please, David Cameron. If there is any shred of dignity left in British broadcasting – if there is a sinew of sense anywhere in the universe – then Love Thy Neighbour and its ilk will be drop-kicked from the airways first thing in the morning. All shows like this do is make nice – slightly eccentric – people (who may or may not spend their spare time waving bovine skeletal matter on sticks) burst into tears. It’s not entertaining, it’s not fun and it’s not helping.
Please, for the sake of our sanity. Let’s knock these competition shows on the head? Can we?