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Kathy Burke's All Woman, Channel 4 review - warts and all | reviews, news & interviews

Kathy Burke's All Woman, Channel 4 review - warts and all

Kathy Burke's All Woman, Channel 4 review - warts and all

Comedy legend asks what is beauty, and why is there so much pressure to achieve it?

Kathy Burke questioned photographer Rankin during her promo shoot

What’s the next level above national treasure? We’ll need a name for it by the end of All Woman, Kathy Burke’s new Channel 4 documentary. With a big heart and a foul mouth, she’s travelled the country trying to define 21st century womanhood – an incredibly tall order for three hour-long shows, but episode one proved she’s more than up for the task.

The first concept under Burke’s watchful eye was beauty, and where better to start than former Love Island contestant Megan Barton-Hanson? The two shared a sympathetic conversation about the pressures young girls face to conform to beauty standards. Barton-Hanson has spent over £40,000 on plastic surgery, but is refreshingly frank about the limits of the knife – it still takes her team hours to get her ready, and it hasn’t solved any insecurity problems.

Burke’s concerns became all the more real when she met Laura, a 20-year-old about to have breast implants. She says social media played a big role in why she wants to alter her body, and admits that if the surgery doesn’t help her confidence then she won’t know what to do. Thankfully, she appeared happy with the results, but her Instagram showed how common image altering is.

What stands Burke apart from other hosts is her openness. Though she has serious concerns about surgery and social media, she is never accusatory. The only time she sharpened her scepticism was for the plastic surgeon, pointing out that the philosophers that defined beauty throughout the centuries were all male.

But this wasn’t a tirade against the patriarchy – as Burke so eloquently put it, as long as men have “their penis tickled”, they’re happy. Instead she wanted to promote positivity, and stop women criticising each other for either following or forgoing beauty standards. There was a wonderful mix of voices in the episode, including rapper Nadia Rose and life model Big Sue, who sat for the world’s most expensive portrait, Lucian Freud's “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping”. But the real highlight was Burke herself, impossibly funny one moment and quietly insightful the next. Once this series is done, she can rightfully take her place alongside the crown jewels in the Tower of London.



Refreshing to see a national treasure say it how it is. Amazing!! Well done kathy xx

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