I wasn’t going to write anything today, but I’m just so annoyed that I can’t help myself. Over the weekend I recorded “My Big Fat Gypsy Fortune”. I know we’ve had “MBFG Wedding” and “MBFG Valentine”, but I’ve managed to avoid all but the clips of those. I’m not being snooty – it’s just that I’m not sure that ginormous dresses bear a whole hour’s examination, let alone a multi-part series. But this latest offering, now, that was tempting. “See how gypsies make their money, and why they keep it so secret,” promised the voice-over. I was hooked. They’re bound to ask about cash payments, and the difficulties of banking without being able to prove your address, and tax – oh yes, please let them ask about tax.
Now I’m not daft: I realise that these shows have to concentrate on extremes to provide the entertainment. And so it was: we had the super-wealthy Best family, living in a 23-room mansion (“but that doesn’t include all the bathrooms”) and commuting by helicopter, and then we had George, hawking compost door-to-door and making a tenner a day. The Bests own retirement communities, property and that helicopter, so what are their financial secrets? 15-year old son Archie buys and sells vans for stacks of cash – which he is shown counting. But as for his millionaire dad, he’d rather not say. “That’s not nice to talk about”, apparently. Hard-hitting investigative journalism, this. They do ask George about tax. “If there’s a duty to pay it, I pay it – sometimes. But what’s tax for anyway?” “Firemen, police, ambulances, defence, roads…” suggests the journalist. “I thought all that was volunteers,” replies George. “And all the army does is make wars, so I don’t want to pay tax for that.” Quite.
So not quite the exposé we were promised – but you did get to see those amazing dresses again, and a dustbin decorated with diamanté and Chanel stickers (Coco must be spinning in her grave). If you fancy it, it’s on 4OD for a while longer.