James Delingpole James Delingpole

No rude awakening

Banged Up (Channel 4, Monday)

My favourite part of Banged Up (Channel 4, Monday) — the new reality show in which juvenile delinquents get to spend ten days in fake prison so they’re never tempted to end up in a real one — was the bit where the other inmates discovered Barry was a nonce.

‘Oi, Bazza. Just dropped me soap. Pick it up for me, would you, mate?’ someone said in the showers. And you should have seen Barry’s face as, glancing between his legs, he suddenly noticed the queue of eager lads building up behind him, led by the official prison Daddy, John ‘Baseball Bat’ Holmes. Priceless!

No, not really. The scene didn’t happen because it would never have been allowed to happen. And I’m not saying that homosexual gang rape is what I’m yearning to see on television of a Monday evening. But if this was supposed to be an important social experiment, it was badly flawed from the start.

Take Biffa. I can’t remember what his real name was, but he reminded me of Biffa Bacon from Viz. (Sample phone conversation: ‘How’re yee finding prison, son?’ ‘S***e.’) Fatha had done time for manslaughter (as an angry young man he’d knocked some poor bloke over and he’d never got up) and Biffa was clearly a chip off the old block, forever getting drunk and involved in serious fights.

So, see if you can guess what happened when, on his first night in pretend nick, he decided that being locked in a narrow, Victorian 17ft cell with cream-painted walls and high, barred windows wasn’t to his tastes.

Did he a) tough it out, because after all it was only a playful exercise to which he’d freely signed up, there might be some useful lessons to be learnt, and, anyway, what kind of a milksop would you have to be to call it quits after just one night?

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