Media Choice - Footballers' Wives

It’s back! The ludicrous, sassy ITV series Footballer’s Wives returned to our screens with a 90-minute special on Thursday 31 March.

With previous storylines including hermaphrodite babies, footballers pursued by the Chinese Mafia and orgies galore, expectations were high.

The question was, how outrageous would the show have to be this time to retain its 7m audience?

Cue close-up of a pregnant Tanya Turner, the female protagonist of the show. Manicured and preened to perfection it is apparent the stakes are high.

Pouring herself a large Bloody Mary she delivers a personal rundown of the last series, explaining her unborn baby could belong to her obese ex-husband (Frank) or the so-called love of her life (Conrad).

The story is set, and with a smirk on her tanned face, Tanya boldly asks, “Since when did I ever leave anything to chance?” 

Cheese on a stick it is, but disturbingly compulsive.

Parallel storylines ensue; following the boys relaxing golf holiday, which turns into a huge orgy, and two feuding pregnant women (Tanya and Amber Gates) who claim their unborn babies have the same father.

In a bid to prove Conrad is the father, Tanya exchanges her baby for Ambers. How? Skin-bleaching tablets and fake tan of course! As such, the first episode certainly encourages ‘talkability’ factor, which the writers obviously tried so hard to achieve.

The first episode pulled in 6.3 million viewers slightly less than the 6.7 million achieved in the first episode of series three. But, it held its audience and peaked at 6.7 million.

Its success was no surprise with ITV solidly trailing it and leaking early snippets. Moving from its original Wednesday night slot did little damage.

Its only real competition was BBC1’s Inspector Lynley Mysteries, which appealed to an older ABC1 female demographic.

ITV still won overall share taking nearly a third of all viewers on the night.

Absurdity aside, this is the perfect environment for female advertising - especially for young women.

A world of designer labels, flamboyant jewellery and highlighted hair, the women are superficial and the men egotistical.

Tongue-in-cheek, this is essentially Chav City and a perfect vehicle for this new fad.

The beauty products attracted to advertising in it are for the mass audience such as sponsor Softlips, UK’s fastest growing lip care brand, but not exactly high-end luxury products for instance, Chanel.

Reminiscent of Sunset Beach with its bad acting and ridiculous plots, the programme is completely over-the-top, but because of this, sustains its fan base.

Footballers Wives is pure escapism, ticking all the right boxes for a particular female. With ITV struggling for a young audience, let’s hope it maintains possession of that all-important 1634 viewer.

By Zoe Galvin, media manager at MediaCom


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