A new Channel 4 show, in which a mysterious stranger joins a disadvantaged community and is revealed as a secret benefactor, has sparked unexpected anger from its subjects. Indeed, many reported they felt "disappointed", "Let down" and "mortified" with the good samaritan's kind offers at the end of the programme.
In one unforgettable scene, factory worker Karen Davies clearly shocks freshly unveiled milliner-philanthropist Tom Buxton, using foul language. "Oh, fuck right off," she tells her benefactor, when he offers her a gift. "And take your ridiculous bloody hats with you." Buxton is taking advice on whether to sue.
Now some of the programme's participants are claiming that Channel 4's researchers had misled them. Programme maker Zeitgeist Productions denies this. "We were quite clear. We phoned all the wannabees, and asked them - in an unequivocably strong northern irish accent - if they wanted to be in a programme called Secret Milliner. And without going into details, we clearly explained they could expect a life-changing surprise at the end of the programme," explained Neil Midgely, CEO of Zeitgeist.
Co-owner of Zeitgesit Productions, Janet Street-Porter, said the ungrateful Wigan based handicapped factory workers need a few lessons in life. "Oh per-lease! These provincial nobodies make me sick. There isn't a man in Soho who wouldn't die for one of Tom Buxton's creations. We pulled out all the stops for this programme, even venturing outside London to visit their factory, aftr they'd got awkward and refused to bring to our offices. Now they've come up with this cobblers. It makes you wonder what their thought processes are."
Street-Porter admits the churlish reaction of the ungrateful nobodies has forced her to go into therapy. Now she is thinking of sending her tormentors the bill. "Except, wouldn't you know it, they'd probably just plead poverty," she says, "yeah, you know the fucking type. These people don't know they're born."