JAN MOIR: When you thought reality TV couldn’t sink any lower…

Give me your tired, your poor, your deluded and your utterly desperate.

Autumn television schedules are almost upon us — and just when you thought reality shows could sink no lower in terms of bad taste and even worse subject matter, down, down, down into the quagmire of crud we go.

The unborn, the broken-hearted, the innocent tribespeople who have never seen a television let alone a reality show — plus Scarlett from Gogglebox roughing it with the impoverished in Africa? This year, nothing and no one is off limits.

Hard to believe I know, but a new show called Parents To Be hopes to pair up single women with sperm donor single men who are all desperate to have babies.

A new show called Parents To Be hopes to pair up single women with sperm donor single men who are all desperate to have babies

A new show called Parents To Be hopes to pair up single women with sperm donor single men who are all desperate to have babies

A new show called Parents To Be hopes to pair up single women with sperm donor single men who are all desperate to have babies

The creation of life itself, bringing a new human onto the planet as entertainment and social experiment?

Complete with would-be parents who are so stupid and self-absorbed that they don’t mind exposing their quest to become mothers and fathers on primetime TV?

It is hard to think of a more cynical and squalid concept, although Love Island of course will always rise to any challenge on the sordid-o-meter.

Parents To Be will follow various attempts to conceive, even if there’s no romantic connection between the couples. Not the actual deed you understand, but the complicated process of procreation for Project Baby when love and even sex are off the menu.

Production company Naked Television is soliciting for participants. ‘Are you single but would like a baby within the next 12 months for a new TV Show?’ they chirpily ask.

Everything about this, including the genuine hope of parenthood some applicants will surely have, fills me with sadness. And if they don’t have that aspiration and just want to be on TV? That’s unspeakable. What happens after the baby is born? No one has thought that far ahead.

However, now we must brace ourselves for 15 hour-long episodes of Singletown on ITV2, a new series in which five couples split up for a summer. The singletons (geddit?) then relocate to London, where they are paired up with their former school sweethearts, exciting new dates, invited to parties and generally subtly encouraged to be as faithful as a jack rabbit in the springtime.

After facing many, many ‘dating dilemmas’ the lovebirds will decide at the end of the series whether or not to go back to their partner? God, will anyone still be watching such a repugnant trial of love?

Reality shows always involve an element of manipulation and betrayal between the crafty producers and the human puppets selected for our entertainment. But now, in the race to capture audience attention with ever more outrageous formats, aren’t they dabbling too deeply in the souls of innocents?

You might argue that all those who take part in reality shows deserve everything they get, but surely that does not apply to the Himba, a semi nomadic tribe who live on the plains of Namibia.

They have been persuaded by Channel 4 to take part in a reality show about a British family spending four weeks with them. Quite what these blameless cattle herders have done to deserve Scarlett Moffatt from Gogglebox — plus her parents, sister and gran — moving into their remote village is anyone’s guess.

In The British Tribe Next Door, an exact copy of the Moffatts’ Bishop Auckland semi, complete with ready meals, hair tongs and fake tan, will be built to accommodate the family.

I have met the Moffatts, who are lovely people, even if they do believe in aliens and have memorised special code words to alert each other in case of abduction.

Dad Mark and mum Betty even store tins of food in the loft, while Scarlett believes she knows the secret to her success as a reality television star.

‘It is because I have no common sense. I just wasn’t born with any. I missed that gene and I don’t think before I speak,’ she says.

The poor Himba! In addition, the Moffatts will have all mod cons, including running water and electricity, while the tribespeople will continue to live in their cone shaped structures made of twigs and count the number of cattle they own as the only sign of wealth.

While the series might turn out to be a harmless and informative cultural exchange (ahem), it shows every sign of being an insensitive debacle.

It is hard to imagine how The British Tribe Next Door cannot be tasteless, potentially racist and exploitative, comparing the existence of one family from County Durham against an entire people who have survived droughts, civil wars and colonisation by the Germans.

Surely even Scarlett has grasped by now that we are all people, irrespective of colour and creed? ‘This is one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life,’ she said.

Viewers have recently been shocked by the Channel 4 documentary series Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain. Poor Jade Goody was exploited by almost everyone in her life, even as she was filmed sucking on a drug lollipop as her life slipped away.

Back then, Living TV had paid Jade £100,000 to chronicle her battle with cervical cancer, keeping the cameras whirring against the tick tock of the mortal clock, almost until the end.

It was a particularly low point in the desensitised arena of reality TV.

I had hoped never to see anything so exploitative again, but it looks like there is little hope of that.

Over on ITVbe, ghastly Gemma Collins continues to prove what a deeply uninteresting and unlovable person she is on Diva Forever. Speaking with her mouth full of burger and treating her staff like dirt, she is the last effluence still churning in The Only Way Is Essex sewer. However, you can’t say that absolutely nothing good comes from reality shows. Without Celebrity Big Brother we never would have had George Galloway in leotards pretending to be a cat, one of the greatest moments in tv history. Here are a few of my other favourites . . .

Seven Days With Tamara

Bringing a new understanding to the term thick sliced, Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter, one of the richest women in the world, struggles to grasp the difference between toast and bread. ‘Is it called bread or toast when it’s not toasted?’ she wonders. ‘So before you toast it, toast is bread?’

I’m A Celebrity

Joey Essex says he is not a confrontational person because he doesn’t like to ‘confrontate’ people. He also reveals that he doesn’t know how to blow his nose and can only tell the time when he is looking at a digital watch and not ‘a watch with one of them circle things’.

The Jessica Simpson Show

The dim-bulb pop star gets confused when eating a brand of tinned tuna called Chicken Of The Sea. ‘Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish?’ she wonders. She also thinks ‘buffalo wings’ come from buffalo with wings.

The Summer of love is a little stormy

Honestly, can anything on this year’s Bake Off be quite as marvellously entertaining as the saga of Paul Hollywood being dumped by his much younger girlfriend, Summer Monteys-Fullam?

After the accusations and pique, the arguments over horse ownership and the changed locks — not to mention the lawyers — the couple are battling to win hearts and minds in an Instagram war.

To negate the negativity aroused by his bullying behaviour towards his former love — and with a new Bake Off series about to start — Hollywood has taken to posting pictures of himself with a litter of cute Jack Russell puppies.

Summer Monteys-Fullam

Summer Monteys-Fullam

Paul Hollywood

Paul Hollywood

Honestly, can anything on this year’s Bake Off be quite as marvellously entertaining as the saga of Paul Hollywood being dumped by his much younger girlfriend, Summer Monteys-Fullam?

‘More time with the puppies, I just can’t help it,’ he chortled, giving them all a cuddle. Look at him! Perhaps we are supposed to think he is a nice fella after all? Although most women were warned off men who tried to show them some puppies at an early age.

Meanwhile, Summer is posing for her followers in an eye-popping figure- hugging dress, looking radiant. ‘Happy Saturday everyone!’ she says.

Oh happy days indeed. In the summer of Summer, Paul is definitely beginning to pall.

Amanda’s top rear? Oh dear …

What? Amanda Holden wins Rear of the Year? It is not still 1968, is it?

What? Amanda Holden wins Rear of the Year? It is not still 1968, is it?

What? Amanda Holden wins Rear of the Year? It is not still 1968, is it?

What? Amanda Holden wins Rear of the Year? It is not still 1968, is it?

No doubt Amanda is more than worthy of the title, but it seems remarkable that this reductive competition still even exists.

How has it escaped the attention of the feminist police? For having a male competition too doesn’t excuse its continued existence.

But not only is it thriving, over 12,000 people considered a variety of celebrity botties before deciding that Amanda’s was best.

‘She has a particularly shapely, well-toned and, above all, proportionate and understated rear,’ said one judge, as if he were talking about a Volkswagen car or a Crufts entrant.

Is it sexist to suggest that Carol Vorderman and Holly Willoughby must be furious about this Holden triumph? Yes! What a bummer.

How to get a clean bill of health

Sixty minutes of light activity such as cleaning, cooking or dusting — or five minutes of moderate activity such as vacuuming, mowing the lawn or taking a brisk walk — means you will live much longer

Sixty minutes of light activity such as cleaning, cooking or dusting — or five minutes of moderate activity such as vacuuming, mowing the lawn or taking a brisk walk — means you will live much longer

Sixty minutes of light activity such as cleaning, cooking or dusting — or five minutes of moderate activity such as vacuuming, mowing the lawn or taking a brisk walk — means you will live much longer

Put down that duster and listen. New research from Norway suggests that doing an hour of household chores every day can halve the risk of ‘early death’ — yippee.

Sixty minutes of light activity such as cleaning, cooking or dusting — or five minutes of moderate activity such as vacuuming, mowing the lawn or taking a brisk walk — means you will live much longer.

Good news, as I would much rather clean out a cupboard and scrub the bathroom taps than go to the gym. Exercise plus the rosy inner glow that comes from making your home spotless? It is a win-win for me, as I almost love my Henry the Hoover more than I have loved any man.

The Norwegian scientists suggest that more is not always better in terms of physical activity for health. They discovered moderate physical activity, such as damp dusting the skirting boards, can have optimal health benefits.

And as the old saying goes, a clean house is always a sign that the internet is down.

Decorating by the books

Gwyneth Paltrow has a book curator, of course she does. What is even more wonderful is his name — Thatcher Wine. I might just marry him, so that everyone can call me Mrs Wine, which they do anyway, but behind my back.

Thatcher is a bibliophile who has tapped into the bottomless market of silly rich celebrities paying people to do absurd things for them, to make them feel even more special.

Since 2001 he has been busy sourcing rare books to build beautiful libraries for his clients, who include the actress Laura Dern and New York’s fashionable NoMad hotel. When Gwyneth remodelled her L.A. home a few years ago, Thatcher went shopping by the yard.

‘She realised she needed about five or six hundred more books to complete the shelves,’ he said. The ones in the dining room, Wine reveals, were chosen not by topic, but by the jacket.

‘We stuck to a rigid colour palette of black, white, and grey,’ he said. Books — even Miss Paltrow’s own titles — should really be respected in their own right. Not as décor accents in a Californian mansion.   

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