The holiday season is best represented by the Loose Women stripping for an enthusiastic audience in “The Real Full Monty: Jingle Balls.”
During Christmas, television becomes incredibly absurd and no one minds. Personally, I enjoy this time of year for that very reason. If someone were to show me a celebrity-led charity event in May 2024, I would not be interested. I would demand high-quality, hour-long dramas with big budgets, or nothing at all. I would say this while glaring down at the person crying on the ground. “If it’s not produced by HBO and analyzed frame by frame on Reddit, I don’t want it!” And honestly, I would be justified in saying so.
With the holiday season upon us, I am eagerly anticipating the airing of The Real Full Monty: Jingle Balls on Monday, December 11 and Tuesday, December 12 at 9pm on ITV1. I must say, the titles of television shows have become quite excessive in recent years, and this particular show is a prime example of that. The Real Full Monty: Jingle Balls is the festive successor to 2017’s The Real Full Monty and its specials, The Real Full Monty: Ladies’ Night, The All New Monty: Who Bares Wins, The Real Full Monty on Ice (!), and my personal favorite, Strictly the Real Full Monty.
The underlying idea remains consistent: Ashley Banjo compels one of the Loose Women to remove their clothes in front of an enthusiastic crowd, and if their schedules permit, eight or nine other celebrities may also take part. This spectacle is intended to raise awareness and funds for cancer charities, and the show effectively balances the comical aspects, such as Gemma Collins creating a plaster mold of her chest, with the heartfelt personal stories of how cancer has impacted the participants’ lives. The tone is skillfully maintained throughout, avoiding excessive sentimentality – with a peculiar inclusion of Harry Styles in the soundtrack, perhaps to maintain a lighthearted atmosphere – but still capable of evoking some emotional moments.
This year’s lineup includes Ashley Cain, Paul Burrell, Ben Cohen, Pete Wicks, Gemma Collins, Julia Bradbury, Sherrie Hewson, Vanessa Bauer, Victoria Ekanoye, and drag queen Ella Vaday (also known as Nick Collier). Coleen Nolan returns as a “nudity mentor”. They partake in various activities to confront their fear of nudity and dancing in front of a live audience. These activities include swimming in a lake, stripping in a department store window, creating body casts, and attending a barbecue at Gemma Collins’s garden (but not her house). The show’s British humor and the looming possibility of public nudity and dancing adds a touch of nervousness that leads to surprisingly raw and honest moments of fun.
It could be argued that this show is responsible for the best dialogue on TV this year. Some notable examples from the first episode include Ashley Cain’s description of the upcoming show as “not necessarily ideal, but when you think about all the people you can help”; Sherrie Hewson’s introduction as “an actress for 104 years, having been on stage since the age of four”; and Ben Cohen’s quiet self-description as “a gay icon.” Pete Wicks is a talented actor who shines in almost any role (except for podcasts), and he delivers some great lines here: “You’re the only person in Essex who hasn’t seen my balls”; “In for a penny, in for a pound. Well, in for a penis, in for a pound”; and “It’s quite difficult to take a nice picture while jumping, naked, and pulling apart an elf’s legs. It’s quite an experience.”
The visuals in this content are quite impressive. One standout moment is Gemma Collins jumping into a cold lake with a full face of makeup and emerging without a single smudge. Another memorable scene is Paul Burrell, wearing only an apron, struggling to grill a hotdog in a comical manner. With Christmas approaching and the cold weather setting in, it’s the perfect time to indulge in some silly and typically British television. Don’t try to act too sophisticated for it – deep down, we both know you enjoy it. So let’s sit back and watch Gemma Collins share the random fact that her breasts weigh 7lbs each, even though nobody asked.