My Little Princess: Review

My Little Princess

My Little Princess

E4, Monday, February 25, 10pm

If you’ve watched any of today’s increasingly demented dating shows, you’ll know that the male contestants on them are almost exclusively all preening, perma-tanned berks whose buffed-up bodies and media haircuts bely their utter lack of anything resembling a soul. Flaunting a repellant mix of chauvinism and narcissism excused as ‘lads’ banter’, it’s as if they want you to wish them extreme physical harm.

Evidently the hatred this lot inspire has created a niche in pretty cluttered market. In a bid to exploit it, the makers of My Little Princess have come up with a dating show that really doesn’t give a flying truck about actual dating and instead takes almost sadomachistic pleasure in causing the members of Generation Prat as much pain as it can get away with.

As a viewer, you have to wonder what the contestants of My Little Princess were told about it (and what waivers they had to sign) before allowing themselves to appear in front of the camera. Did they know they would be forced to run the muddy sludge of an assault course that features an electrified cat’s cradle for them to crawl through? Had anyone said they would be dressed up as blind mice and forced to run head-first at each other, with no idea when the inevitable bonse-bashing collision was coming. And were they aware that, if eliminated from the competition, they would literally be kicked backwards off a bridge and into a moat by a man dressed as a particularly menacing extra from Game Of Thrones?

Whatever level of warning these tools were given, like lemmings they keep running the various gauntlets thrown at them in order to impress the father of their potential date, no matter that they hadn’t even seen or met her yet. In this case the man whose favour they sought had a name straight out of a 1970s sex comedy – Dickie Plum – and looked like he’d have no qualms about suspending each one of them by their feet and removing their fingernails with a pair of pliers.

Dickie fits firmly into the category of shameslessly unreformed men; he likes cage-fighting, scotch and tackles the metrosexual herd with such sage advice as: “Pull your trousers up and, you know, get on with your life.â€? As the programme goes on, he plays the role of scary hard-man dad so well you can’t help but suspect that he’s an actor. If not, Dickie’s definitely had at least a few lessons on how to stare menacingly into a camera from his local stage school.

Whatever the veracity of this father figure, watching him take pleasure in inflicting terror upon his daughter’s insipid suitors was a lot of fun. Too much fun, in fact. Given the amount schadenfreude I derived from My Little Princess, I’ve now got myself down as having either sadomasochistic or psychopathic tendencies. Or, horror of horrors, of being a Tory.

Now, to build me that assault course…