A Word on the British Obsession With Ordinary Looking People


photo courtesy of

This morning, as I sat with my coffee in front of Daybreak (like Good Morning America, except British) while bucking up the courage to face the day, I had a dejavu moment worth sharing.  The male host of Daybreak is a bloke called John Stapleton, who, while I am sure is a very nice man, is a proper throwback to 60s TV in his pale blue suit, his hair a shocking brown against a waxy, yellow complexion.  At best, he looks like an aging playboy uncle, at worst, an extra from The Monkees.


I’m ready for my Vaseline closeup, Mr. DeMille…

I was reminded of when we first arrived here 21 years ago and I was simply dumbstruck at what I felt was the weird British obsession with putting unattractive and ordinary-looking people on the tele.  Having come from the Teflon slickness of American TV, where every blemish, spot, wrinkle and gray is either eliminated in the makeup room, shot through a Vaseline lens or airbrushed until everyone resembled a Cher Glamour Shot, I am sure you can understand my confusion.  Watching American TV, you could almost taste the peroxide in their teeth, and as far as I was concerned, in 1993, that was a GOOD thing.  Viewing life through my American lens, TV was about escapism, not reality.  If I was going to tune in, I better see something better on that screen than I saw in the mirror 5 minutes ago.

But you have only to tune into any UK TV series to realize that, unless you are Benedict Cumberbatch, if you are too attractive in England, you will probably be out of work.  How else can you explain Mick Jagger?  Seriously… the guy looks like beef jerky no matter how well he “moves.”

benedict cumberbatch

Benedict Yummybatch – who alone restores my faith in British television

But now, as I am neither as Teflon polished as once I was, I have realized that maybe the Brits have a point.  Mr. Stapleton engages in some easy banter with his co-host, Kate, and I laugh.  I drink my coffee through peroxide-free teeth and am thankful for the glory of caffeine on another rainy morning.  Who wants to look like Cher, anyway?

Have a happy day, all…

Mother Hen

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4 replies »

  1. I absolutely love the shows that have all the people in England with their imperfections. I watch every Sunday, “Call the Midwife,” which is fascinating history along with fun plots. There is a bigger, less attractive woman who is awkward and tries to bake, raise a child and has a husband. (I can never remember names!) I like the British movies that are on our public broadcasting, along with having always found British humor to be amazing and witty. Big fan of the Monty Python movies and shows, along with Hugh Grant, Rupert Everett and others. The man you featured is adorable. I am trying to picture which show I have seen with him in it. You got me started and I went way off course. Fun post! Hugs for the hunk! Smiles, Robin
    P.S. Thank you for saying you like to look over the fence and check out my adventures! Pretty tame these days…


    • Aaaaahhhh… “Call the Midwife” – I am so happy that has made it over there! This is one of the few series that I, my daughter, every friend I know – even my husband, bless him – await eagerly when each season returns! Oh, how we love, love, love Chummy – played with aplomb by the magnificent Miranda Hart. She also has her own comedy series called “Miranda” that, if you have not seen, you ABSOLUTELY MUST, particularly as you are an obvious TV Anglophile! She is easily the funniest woman on the planet. I am not even joking there. I adore her work. Seek it out and savor! Be prepared to laugh until you cry. Benedict Cumberbatch is the star of the series “Sherlock,” again, another rare series that hubby, myself and everybody on this rock we call England anticipates. It’s all, “When will it be back?” and “AAAAAA – Sherlock starts tonight – I can’t possibly go for complimentary dinner at the Ritz…” The series’ are always too short -maybe 4 or 5 episodes, but are shot with the high quality gloss and supreme wit of the big screen. Not to be missed. You MUST listen to the dialog to fully benefit, but our Benedict is worth watching on mute! 🙂 British TV is superb on many levels. I have no complaints these days. Continue to enjoy! There are many more works that will be trickling to the American markets soon!


    • Fascinating!! I did not know that – that is simply mad! As you will see from my previous reply to Robin (also known as a novelette), I have come to understand and appreciate showing the ordinary as opposed to the candy coated gloss of US tele. But then, I like a man who is – well – MANLY, not pretty. For example – Pride and Prejudice. Most gals like Colin Firth as Darcy… nope. Give me Matthew Macfadyen any day of the week. I like freckles. I love ginger hair. I like smile lines. I like a slightly crooked tooth now and again. Hubby, my own “Mr. Darcy” fits the bill perfectly! 🙂 Well, all except for the ginger hair, that is…


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