There’s a debate to be had over what’s been the 21st century’s grubbiest TV show, but Naked Attraction would take many people’s top spot. Channel 4, who broadcast the nude dating show in which contestants look for love by staring at genitals, has always seemed slightly embarrassed at that exercise in barrel scraping, and the similar title of Naked Education, a new series that looks for self-acceptance by staring at genitals, does suggest a form of atonement.
While Naked Education doesn’t erase the sullied memory of Naked Attraction (where, remember, people were dismissed on the basis of their wonky weiners before their suitor had even seen their faces), it does go some way to making amends.
Presented, like Naked Attraction, by Anna Richardson, the premise for copious on-screen nudity is here a sound one. Swathes of us are unhappy with how we look, but if they could only see what most people really look like – as opposed to what TV, movies, fashion magazines and Instagram would have you believe – then that body negativity might blossom in to body confidence.
It is undoubtedly a noble aim. The only reservation is whether a magazine-type show like Naked Education is the best way to go about it. The programme was divided into three segments. In one, two women in bathrobes sat opposite one another and talked frankly about childbirth, before taking their clothes off. In the second, a group of teenagers talked about body hair before some people came into the room in bathrobes and took their clothes off. In the third, Richardson’s “Naked Brigade” of body positivists were bussed in for a photoshoot with a girl called Hannah who’d been bullied at school. The Naked Brigade arrived in bathrobes and then took their clothes off.