Review: Emily Atack's brave documentary was a shocking illustration of behaviour that should make all men think
The most worrying programme of this week in TV turned out to be Emily Atack: Asking for It? (BBC2, Tues, 9pm).
The comedian and actress revealed the scarcely believable torrent of abusive, sexually explicit and often violent messages and pictures which arrived uninvited and on a daily basis into the inboxes of her various social media accounts.
"I’m more numb to it now,” said Emily, but as the documentary went on it became clear that she was far from ‘numb’, that actually these appalling messages and pictures have a much deeper effect – making her question her self-esteem, her psychological wellbeing, even her safety.
And it’s not just celebrities that are bombarded by these men – and yes it is always men.
Atack found any woman was vulnerable to it. As Jamie Klingler – who co-founded Reclaim These Streets in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder – put it: “It’s not about what we do, it’s about them trying to silence and control us. It’s about them trying to say they have a piece of you.”
That’s the real point of this documentary. It’s not about what women do, it’s about men’s response to it. As men, who all have a responsibility to educate our sons, our nephews, our friends that sending unsolicited, explicit messages and pictures is not okay, it’s not consequence free, it’s not going to make women feel good.
Perhaps the best thing about it was that I watched it with my 15-year-old son, and we had a long discussion about it.
Hopefully, the same thing was happening across the country, because everyone should see this film and realise that #NotAllMen is not good enough.
At the urging of my son – who wanted to watch Ted Lasso – I finally capitulated and signed up to a free trial of Apple TV+. And thank goodness I did, because it means I have now binged all of Slow Horses (AppleTV+, all episode streaming now), a frankly terrific spy drama with a deliciously seedy turn from Gary Oldman.
Happy Valley (BBC1, Sun, 9pm) is now heading pell-mell to its conclusion tomorrow, and the only thing that seems certain at the moment is that one of the ‘good guys’ will die – unless all the foreshadowing is merely a red herring. Whatever the case, it’s been thrilling ride and deserves all the accolades.