“It was hard to shake the feeling that everyone was simply playing dress-up.”

Bring Back Borstal

“The absence of any real penalties is matched by an absence of any real incentives. They’re not escaping jail by taking part, they’re not earning cash or competing for jobs, only chasing the vague promise of “turning their lives around”. It’s not really about them and their lives at all. It’s more a kind of televised scapegoating, by which we, the viewers, get to see some obnoxious young men being given a pretend hard time”
Matt Baylis, The Daily Express

“Proctor left after a few days and posh stoner Rule went home around the same time. Will there be anyone left to film at the end of four weeks? Fingers crossed. Can the borstal regime succeed where the modern criminal justice system has failed? That’s a better question, but not one that an entertainment programme like this is ideally suited to answer. Can you really blame the bad lads if they prefer not to be part of ITV’s ratings experiment?”
Ellen E Jones, The Independent

“There was, as with all in this genre, a broader message. Three-quarters of all young criminals, we learned, reoffend within three months of their release; while in borstal days, seven in 10 never committed a crime again. And, yet, before the episode was out, four had quit. The serious message was undermined by the jolly music played; and it was hard to shake the feeling that everyone was simply playing dress-up.”
Sarah Rainey, The Telegraph

“Anyone old enough to have worn short trousers during their own schooldays will have guessed what these lads had coming, but they were oblivious to it. Proper discipline was literally inconceivable, until it hit them like a bucket of cold water. To see these insolent louts dumped out of their beds at 6am and forced through a five-mile run was satisfying. Some of them were staggered to be shouted at: they had been cosseted by a timid society all their lives.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“There have been a few documentaries lately inviting us to envy the opulent lifestyles of the obscenely wealthy, but Peretti took a different tack. Judging by the amount of multi-millionaires who were willing to appear on the programme and patiently explain why being loaded makes them more valuable members of society, trickle down is still alive and well today. Interesting and enraging in equal measure”
Ellen E Jones, The Independent

“A century of wealth redistribution in which Britain moved from renting to ownership was in reverse. Never mind trickle down or through, this is the era of trickle up, where millions pay increasing chunks of their stagnating wages to the rich in rent. I am sure (or am I?) that there is a coherent right-wing response to this argument. Since Peretti is not going to present it, may I ask for volunteers?”
Andrew Billen, The Times

“Loads of people, all shagging each other, all over the place. Oh my effing G, it’s making me feel quite queasy. I worry about stains and the furniture, also that I must be extremely boring.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“James Newton’s film featured people rich enough to have sex indoors – in mansion houses, stately homes and an Ibiza villa with roof space for a “very noisy human jigsaw” as the buxom party host put it. Beautifully filmed, it followed Dogging Tales in asking its participants to wear masks, not animal masks this time but disguises from Venetian masked balls. Obviously, this conceit lacked the impact of its first use.”
Andrew Billen, The Times