Last night, BBC Northern Ireland exceeded its usual banal standards and served up a programme entitled 'NI WAGs'.
Narrated by a worryingly over-enthusiastic Christine Bleakley, we were presented with Northern Ireland’s WAGs. WAG is shorthand for Wives And Girlfriends and is a term normally attributed to the android-like empty-heads wedded to premier league footballers. In the Northern Irish sphere, I wasn’t quite sure who these WAGs were associated with, although a couple of lump-faced dopes in fashionable clothes were paraded across the screen to stamp these twittering fools with some sort of questionable credibility.
This peek at the aristocracy of emptiness was delivered without irony and with the apparent aim of showing just how transformed, glam and cosmopolitan the Wee Province has become. I found myself wishing the war would come back as one vapid empty vessel after another squeaked about the importance of hair or style as they shopped on the Lisburn Road, which was laughably described as both “Millionaire’s Mile,” and “Northern Ireland’s Bond Street.” Who were they trying to kid?
“I’ve got shoes in Hollywood and shoes in Dublin,” gushed one of the WAGs in a chiding mill voice.
“A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do,” cheeped another rather ordinary-looking twit. Referring to an associate, she continued, “Lisa has everything. She’s totally high maintenance!”
The camera crew, obviously burdened with more money than sense, followed the faux creatures on a shopping trip to Las Vegas and back to a dull looking awards ceremony at Belfast’s Café Vaudeville. Here was the pinnacle of local WAG life.
“Anyone who’s anyone in Northern Ireland is here tonight,” gasped the breathless Christine Bleakley as the camera roved over a parade of dressed-up nobodies.
I was reminded of Kafka’s In the Penal Colony where criminals are assaulted by a horrendous torture machine that carves the names of their crimes and sentences onto their backs. I feel that such a device should be permanently installed in Café Vaudeville, with the WAGs the first to be thrown onto it, followed by the production team at Waddell Media, who birthed this vile programme, and the shallow dolts at BBC Northern Ireland, who think this kind of nonsense passes for good TV.