Former BBC Chairman attacks Jewish Mum of the Year show

By Sandy Rashty, October 11, 2012
Not happy: Lord Grade

Not happy: Lord Grade

Michael Grade, the former chairman of the BBC, has attacked Channel 4’s new Jewish Mum of the Year series.

Lord Grade, a previous chief executive of Channel 4, said: “I don’t know what it was supposed to be. They seemed to cram in every cliché in the book.”

The programme, which began on Tuesday, is being investigated by Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, after a complaint. To date the station itself has also received 13 other complaints.

Made in conjunction with the London free-sheet, the Jewish News, the reality show has provoked a storm of criticism on social media for its caricatured portrayal of eight dramatically different Jewish women performing a variety of tasks in a bid to be the paper’s agony aunt.

One tweet read: “Jews everywhere are praying that colleagues aren’t watching and are planning their ‘you know we’re not all like that’ speech.”

Yvonne Brent, vice-president of the League of Jewish Women, said: “We were approached by Channel 4, [to take part in the programme] but most of our members felt it was not something they wanted to get involved in.”

Sharon Eskenazy, who completed three audition rounds for the programme before being eliminated, said: “What I saw last night made it a little embarrassing to be Jewish. The idea that Jewish women bake cakes for a barmitzvah does not make them Jewish Mum of the Year.”

The show features “yummy mummy Emma from Radlett”, a mother of five who previously attracted thousands of hits on YouTube for a batmitzvah video in which her husband rapped to Usher’s OMG.

A Channel 4 spokesperson, rejecting the criticism, insisted: “The series is entertaining and warm-hearted, and provides insights into one of the most successful and engaging communities in Britain. The programme above all celebrates great Jewish mothers and all they stand for.”

The opening episode saw the eight women throw a barmitzvah. Next week’s matchmaking episode will see the six remaining contestants set up a 29-year-old singleton with a partner.

Some TV reviewers liked the show. The Mirror said: “Like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, it offers an insight into a culture alien to most of us (less than one per cent of the UK is Jewish).”

But the Independent said the programme was “barely credible”.

Last updated: 1:08pm, October 12 2012