Ever since their introduction in 1999, Anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) have been controversial tools used by the authorities in the fight to maintain law and order.
One of the key arguments against them was that, rather than serving as a deterrent or curbing the behaviour identified in the order, they would be worn as badges of pride by those who were given them.
Well, what do you know? Channel 5 has obliged by dredging up Asbo and Proud (Wednesday, 9pm). Really, the only surprise is it’s taken 15 years to get on TV.
Anna, from Oxford, was foul-mouthed perma-drunk pond life, unrepentant for the behaviour that finally got her an Asbo – she tied up a church door, trapping the congregation inside: ‘I stood outside, like, laughing, but they didn’t see the funny side.’ And then she induced a heart attack in a pensioner after throwing stones at her house for no reason.
But of course, Anna’s the true victim here, apparently: ‘It’s not my fault if people find me threatening.’
Yes, yes it is dear – it’s exactly your fault. And her reasoned response to the woman who had the heart attack: ‘Get over it.’
Or there’s the lovely woman who got an Asbo preventing her from associating with certain types of people: ‘I feel like I’m a bad person, and I’m not a bad person.’
Erm, except for the bits where you steal off vulnerable pensioners, but you know, apart from that.
Her son Wayne became one of the youngest people in Britain to get an Asbo of his own at a mere 12 back in 2004. It failed to straighten him out – by the end of the programme he was in jail for harassing his girlfriend. Nice fella.
Another criticism of Asbos has been their at times odd application – Caroline ended up in jail after breaching one that banned her from having noisy sex.
It may sound pretty funny, but having lived next to a couple with a similar lack of volume control, I can confirm that it’s not pleasant to be woken up by what at first appears to be the sound of a large farm animal in pain.
The weirdest case though was Jeremy the farmer, who got his Asbo for letting his flock of sheep roam freely around the village.
Perhaps the most pleasantly surprising thing about the Radford family though, and in defiance of the Daily Mail stereotype, is that none of them have ended up with Asbos.
‘Britain’s biggest family,’ the Radfords were the subject of 17 Kids and Counting (Channel 4, Tuesday, 9pm). By their own admission, parents Sue and Noel are ‘addicted’ to having children.
Sue has spent most of her adult life pregnant – you might think that she might want a break, but it seems not.
Obviously, the future of the human race depends on procreation, but perhaps the Radfords could take a break from trying to do it all on their own.