This is a documentary released last year about agony aunt columns and the documentary traces the early years of the agony aunt column from the coffee house newspapers of the 17th century through to the Sun Photo Casebook layout which people are familiar with today. Presented by agony aunt Phillipa Perry.
I had watched this last year but for some reason never reviewed it. When it popped up on BBCi Player recently I eagerly sat down to watch it.
I found Perry’s presenting style to be fresh and witty. She didn’t talk down to audiences and the entire documentary itself was engaging. It shows that while times change, people still face the same problems whether its the 1700s or the 1970s. What seems to change is how people react to the problems rather than the problems themselves.
I really enjoyed this documentary and I wish Perry would present more documentaries of a similar style because on TV there seems to be so many instances of the same presenters being churned out over and over again. There were many times throughout the documentary where I would sit there chuckling. When the documentary mentioned the Cathy and Clare advice column it made me chuckle more because my mum was a teenager at the time of the advice column’s popularity and was an avid consumer of the advice column as well as of Jackie magazine where the advice column was contained.
The documentary also traces the societal change which unfolded at the same time that this movement of advice columns was unfolding too. It must have been frustrating in the postwar years where a woman was forced by circumstance to ignore it if her husband’s eye wandered to another woman, or when a woman was in turmoil whether or not to continue working after she married.
If you haven’t watched this documentary already I heartily recommend that you do.
MY RATING: ***** / *****