Channel Hopper: The Gemma Factor
Ten years ago, something like The Gemma Factor (BBC3, Tue 9 Mar, 10.30pm) would never have been made. Quite probably in five years’ time, all programmes will be a little like this. Gemma Collinge (toothy newcomer Anna Gilthorpe) is obsessed with fame. With Chantelle as her role model and Cheryl Cole her ultimate hero, Gemma (shouldn’t she be called Bex to make the titular pun work?) has just one ambition: to be famous by the time she reaches the ripe old age of 21. Famous for what, she’s not quite sure, but with the enthusiastic aid of her majorly camp pal Jeff, Gemma is able to numb herself from her realist café colleague Nell who warns darkly of ‘dosing on the stardust panacea of celebrity’. Even when it’s revealed that the sleazeball who has become her first agent is fresh out of jail, Gemma’s unbridled hope seeks to conquer all.
The only person who might be able to keep Gemma’s feet close to the surface is her potty-mouthed nan, played by Gwyneth Powell. Across 11 years, Powell was ‘firm but fair’ Mrs McClusky, the head of Grange Hill who tried her utmost to keep the likes of Gripper Stebson and Danny Kendall in line. Here, she’s looks like she would struggle to keep her own bladder under control. Quite what fate is set to unfold for Gemma in this promising comedy-drama is unclear, but I’ll wager on setback after setback resulting in some sort of victory for the common woman.