Perfect Housewife



Anthea Turner


Voiceover: Ella Kenion


RDF Television for BBC Three, 9 February 2006 to 25 July 2007 (25 episodes in 3 series)


So just how does Anthea Turner, the sometime most famous person in Britain, fill her days since Turner Round the World flopped? With housework, apparently. Yes, there's nothing our Anthea likes more than vacuuming, dusting and folding doilies. Bizarre.

Anyway, this show sees contestants taught how to do housewifery properly, and there's a prize for whoever does it best. Which is a big bag full of cleaning products. Really.

Image:Anthea turner perfect house wife paper hat.jpg Anthea Turner's Housewifery Tip No.7: a cheap paper hat lends a sense of style to any occasion.

In the first half, we are given a tour of the two contestants' homes. These are cluttered and untidy, but they're not insanitary. This isn't How Clean Is Your House, and for that at least we can be grateful. The two contestants then turn up at Anthea's country pad, where Anthea tells them what they're doing wrong and sets them various tasks in an attempt to put them right. Then the contestants go back home and set to work tidying up. At the end, Anthea judges both houses and all involved assemble back at her place (in their best posh clothes) where she patronises them for a bit and then announces the winner.

Before the series started, Anthea was telling all and sundry about how this show was going to send-up her goody-goody image, but we just can't see it. There's no knowing wink here at all - as far as we can tell, she's perfectly serious. Even the narration (scripted - but for some reason, not voiced - by comedian Lucy Porter) fails to achieve the drily humourous tone of, say, Come Dine with Me, a far more entertaining show from the same stable. To be fair, Anthea does give some good advice, but at sixty minutes this show is overlong and the competition, such as it is, just doesn't hold our interest.


A while after the series ended, it was the cause of a rather odd moment in Sue Perkins and Giles Coren's Supersizers series, when Anthea Turner was a guest at their 1970s-style dinner party. Perkins was right in the middle of talking to legendary cookery writer Marguerite Patten, when she spotted Turner listening in and suddenly broke off to harangue her about how awful Perfect Housewife was. Just the sort of awkward moment that was always happening at 1970s dinner parties, we're sure.

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