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Channel 4 show helps people lose virginity

  • Channel 4

Channel 4, proud purveyor of Embarrassing Bodies, has taken things a step further with a new documentary. This time the channel has appointed itself procurer to the nation as it attempts to get some virgins laid.

The show, baldly called 40 Year Old Virgins, although the participants are actually aged 45 and 29, seems almost calculated to sent the Daily Mail into a fulminating froth of outrage. The protagonists, Clive and Rosie, experience sex therapy in the USA (where else?) before losing their virginity to "sex surrogates" (which seems to be the 21st century terminology for the oldest profession).

Announcing the show, Channel 4’s chief creative officer (another imaginative job title) Jay Hunt must have been aware that she was basically lighting a blue touch paper and waiting for the media explosion.

"It’s an incredibly heart-warming piece,” she said. "I have never seen anything quite like it. It's incredibly exposing for the two key characters in it. They talk in quite a lot of detail about what it's been like getting to a point in their lives where they have never had sexual contact with anybody."

Exploitative and voyeuristic then? "It feels like a sort of coming-of-age film and quite a responsible piece of broadcasting," Hunt claims. "But it's also got a real heart, it's quite an amazing film." Yeah, yeah, let’s cut to the chase. "Do we show them having sex? Not really, no. It's clear what's going on."

Heart-warming or not, it seems a continuation of Channel 4’s determination to pull in a prurient audience and dwell on intimate details that should probably be kept private. That’s not to say the people involved are not fascinating. Rosie tells the camera: "Guys have this weird smell, kind of like a mix between aftershave and ham". Well that’s the ad break products sorted then.

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