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John Boland's week in TV: Gwyneth gets lesson in anatomy as she flogs wellness wares



The Goop Lab: Gwyneth Paltrow has a new six-part series on Netflix

The Goop Lab: Gwyneth Paltrow has a new six-part series on Netflix

The Goop Lab: Gwyneth Paltrow has a new six-part series on Netflix

'We're here one time, one life," Gwyneth Paltrow told her adoring assistants at the outset of The Goop Lab (Netflix), "so how can we really, like, milk the shit out of this?"

Well, her latest wheeze is a candle that sells for $75 and that declares in bold capitals 'THIS SMELLS LIKE MY VAGINA', though, as this six-part series reveals, the actress-turned-wellness guru seemed confused about that particular part of her body.

"It's our favourite subject", she enthused to 90-year-old sex therapist Betty Dodson, only to be told that the vagina is actually a woman's inner canal and that what she was really enthusing about was the vulva. "Oh!" she replied sheepishly, "See, I'm getting an anatomy lesson. I thought the vagina was the whole," making a circular gesture with her hands.

Even for paid-up disciples of the beatific Gwyneth's new-age tosh, this confession can't have inspired much confidence, though at least the viewer then got to see close-ups of various vulvas, just so that everyone, including Gwyneth, could tell the difference.

Mind you, she wasn't alone in her misnaming of this intimate area, as I learned from Bring Back the Bush: Where Did All the Pubic Hair Go? (Channel 4), in which presenter and "body positivity activist" Chidera Eggerue declared that "vaginas are now normally bare and hairless". Wrong, surely, Chidera, as Gwyneth could now tell you.

Anyway, in this latest sex show from the channel that boldly goes where no one has ever bothered going before, Chidera assembled four female volunteers, all of them willing to grow back their pubic hair just to see what it looked and felt like.

Chidera herself was particularly concerned about those who follow her on social media: "Will they still have the same level of awe for me if I have bushy pubes?", she wondered. Actually, she was a good deal more likeable than that makes her sound and she raised serious issues about how women see themselves and their fears about how others see them.

At the end, though, there was some beating about the bush, with shots of the semi-naked volunteers that were notable for their coyness, as if everyone involved had suddenly got an attack of nerves. How unlike Channel 4. Still, the film was more engaging than the six hours of entirely uncritical puffery provided by Netflix for Gwyneth, her empire and her acolytes.

In the second episode of Dr Eva's Great Escape (RTÉ1), celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin took a jaundiced look at weight-loss guru Eva Orsmond's ramshackle hotel site in the Algarve and muttered: "If I were them, I'd sell up and just come on holiday here."

Making matters worse, Eva ruptured a tendon in her arm when lifting a heavy object, thus requiring surgery, while hubby Wyatt discovered that the hotel's dimensions weren't in accordance with the officially-approved plans. And Eva was in conflict with local interior designer Anna, who unfortunately had distinct ideas of her own, causing Eva to bridle: "I don't want her to tell me what to do. I will be taking the credit for the interior." Oh dear.

Meanwhile, the bickering with Wyatt continued, a godsend to shows like this (Room to Improve, At Your Service, Escape to the Chateau), which normally just thrive on conflicts, snags, pitfalls, obstacles and cock-ups. And as Eva warned us at the end of this week's instalment, "the journey is not over yet".

The Trial of Christine Keeler (BBC1), which was outstanding, came to an end, followed the same night by Keeler, Profumo, Ward and Me (BBC2), in which veteran journalist Tom Mangold vividly recalled his coverage of the tumultuous events for the Daily Express.

A spry 85-year-old, Mangold has always known how to tell a story and he told this one with great verve, aided by access to secret government papers and by newly-discovered tapes of interviews with Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies.

Mangold was in his late twenties when he reported on the Stephen Ward trial and in the process he became friendly with the doomed osteopath - indeed, urging Ward on the night of his suicide not to do "anything silly".

In Mangold's persuasive telling, the hapless Ward was stitched up by MI5 and Scotland Yard, egged on by the then Home Secretary, and by an establishment that, in the words of one observer, "closed ranks to protect their own". It was, as lawyer Geoffrey Robertson told Mangold, "the worst case of wrongful conviction I can remember in our history".

Ward was no saint, Mangold admitted, "but if ever there was a case against him, it was one of lifestyle only". But he paid the ultimate price while a corrupt old boys' club got on with their privileged lives.

In a week of Holocaust remembrance, Belsen: Our Story (BBC2) had unbearable recollections from six people who had been children in the camp. Auschwitz Untold in Colour (More 4) was just as distressing, indeed almost unwatchable, and so The Windermere Children (BBC2) came almost as relief.

Based on historical facts, this 90-minute drama told of the 300 Polish children and teenagers who, in 1945, were taken in as camp survivors by the British government and offered rehabilitation in a barracks on the shores of Lake Widermere.

Tim McInnerny, Romola Garai and Iain Glen played their main saviours, but most of the cast were young Poles, and they movingly caught the plight and the fear of the youngsters they portrayed. At the very end, the film spoke to the real survivors, all of them now very elderly, and it made for a moving coda.

Indo Review