The Seven Sins of England (2 stars)

Channel 4, Tue 8 May, 10pm

SOCIAL DOCUMENTARY

Before anyone gets on their high horse, let’s admit straight off the bat that the Scots might claim to have a largely pacifist Tartan Army, but the seven sins of our Anglo Saxon brethren could be matched and probably surpassed by us Celts. For the record, as a breed we can quite easily tick off the featured septet of binge drinking, rabid consumerism, hooliganism, slaggishness, rudeness, violence and bigotry just as swiftly as our English cousins. But would we make a film a couple of weeks after St Andrew’s Day to boast about how proud we are to be rubbish?

What this Essex-set film proceeds to tell us is that the current state of tawdry social affairs has ever been thus. And then tries to pass itself off as an artistic endeavour with chavs, hoodies, drunks, thugs, fat-necked baldies and wannabe WAGs delivering speeches from Henry Fielding and James Boswell and mouthing off segments from the Gin Act of 1736 and anti-immigration tracts of the 16th century to hammer home the point. But do so many of them really need to make statements by raising their voice with a question mark at the end of each sentence? The most offensive aspect of this film is not that we should resign ourselves to putting up with the continued onslaught of anti-social behaviour simply because it’s gone on for centuries, but that someone should choose to preach that lesson in such a mutton-dressed-as-lamb fashion. Or maybe I’ve been hoaxed good and propah.

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