Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Strippers

TV Preview: Strippers | TV1, 11.10 Thursday


By Doug Coutts

Strippers … it’s a bit voyeuristic but then, that’s what stripping is all about. There’d be no point if everyone turned a blind eye.

The first episode – yes, it’s a series – is set in Glasgow, a town struggling to shake off its image as the sleazy, grubby home of the deep-fried Mars bar. This show’s not going to help …

We meet three girls: one a qualified nurse from Estonia who thinks she came make more money whipping her gear off, a local lass who doesn’t want to get stuck in a day job and another local girril who has yet to tell her parents she isn’t stuck in an office.

They all work in the same upmarket establishment run by a former stripper who is quick to point out exactly who’s getting exploited. “It’s not the girrils,” she says. “It’s the punters!” They can look, but not touch, and you get the feeling the closest the Scotch has been to the Highlands is when it got unloaded from the ship in Aberdeen.

Things are different in Europe, according to nursie, where touching – even of the clinical variety – is allowed. She doesn’t mind either way, as money’s money no matter where you have to retrieve it from.

It’s all a bit sad. The club’s sad; the punters are sad; the girls aren’t quite living the dream either. The local lass who said she’d never have a day job goes and gets one, the other girril tells her mum the truth and takes no further part in the filming, and Miss Estonia heads back home, trading in the pole and pasties for bedpans as she decided to give nursing another go.

“Och well, plenty mair fesh in th’ brine,” the stripclub matron might have said, referring both to her staff and the dowie jimmies paying to look, but not too closely.

What other critics said:

“Who’s exploiting who? The number of strip clubs in Britain has doubled in a decade, so it’s a question worth asking, but asking it only of the people with the most motivation to self-delude isn’t particularly illuminating.” — The Independent.

“Instead of embedding their world within a wider social and economic context to look at how genuinely free people are to make certain choices at certain times in their lives, or how representative these three were of dancers’ experience, the script was full of pusillanimous inanities and avoidance tactics such as ‘all types of women are attracted to stripping and they all have their own reasons for starting.'” — The Guardian.

“I didn’t expect to have much empathy with the girls who dance at Diamond Dolls given that my idea of a good night out is to stay in but, by the end of the show, I felt like applauding them for their sheer confidence and guts. Behind those feathery eyelashes are some tough young women.” — Herald Scotland.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at:
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