Mary Portas: Secret Shopper, Channel 4 | TV reviews, news & interviews
Mary Portas: Secret Shopper, Channel 4
The Queen of Retail still reigns
She’s back: the retail guru and style icon, with her sharp red bob, sharper tongue and enviable sense of style. In two series of Mary, Queen of Shops on BBC Two, she whipped ailing businesses into shape and established herself as one of television’s most striking and engaging personalities. If online message boards are to be believed, she also – thanks to her much-discussed mid-life divorce, relationship with Grazia fashion editor Melanie Rickey and sexy combination of attitude, intelligence and eye-catching elegance – inspired happily married women up and down the land to fantasise about enjoying a sapphic interlude with her.
Now she’s moved to Channel 4, and in her new show she’s setting out to skewer the high-street perpetrators of Britain’s notoriously bad service. Aptly attired in military chic, she’s ready for battle. “The revolution starts here,” she proclaims with characteristic chutzpah.
The first programme in the series focused on disposable fashion, and in truth Portas’s revolution started small. She tackled relative chain-store newcomers Pilot; and while she hoped that what she achieved with the company would have a knock-on effect on the “fatter cats”, it would have been nice to have seen her take on one of the real Big Boys. Still, as a preliminary, she did ditch her designer gear for the "secret shopper" part of the mission, donning an unflattering brown wig and a school-run mum outfit for a spot of undercover filming in some well-known stores.
theartsdesk is changing
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. In September we reached our fourth birthday and feel that the time is now right, in line with other media outlets, to start asking our regular readers for a contribution to help us develop the site further. Theartsdesk has therefore moved to a partial subscription model. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
Take an annual subscription now simply click here.
Has the Victorian emporium drama flogged its final flounce?
An entertaining if unsatisfactory trawl through folk music's recent history and current popularity
Strange secrets from the invisible underwater struggle waged by three navies
The maverick musicals-maker, warts and all
Old Nick's The Prince is still a self-help book for our scheming rulers
Poignant Swedish drama depicts the early days of AIDS
Doctor Who isn't the only senior citizen on TV. We doff a cap to the other shows with staying power
Brisk account of the development of America’s music lacks atmosphere
Tight spy drama set in bleak mid-Seventies Britain
New Royal Court artistic director deserves better than a puff piece
The mood of contemporary Russia revealed in outstanding documentary on punk protesters
Actor for all seasons delves into Cold War spookery in 'Legacy'