We all need a televisual happy place and for more than a decade now MasterChef has been meeting the brief: people enjoying themselves, supporting each other, and cooking amazing food.What’s not to love? This year’s batch of contestants includes some extraordinary culinary talent but this show always works hard not to become too high-falutin’, and the behind-the-scenes folk know to a nicety how to modulate the pitch to keep things interesting. So last week was all about the big names – Legends’Week. This week everything’s dialled down a notch for SecretsWeek.
Neither voyeuristic nor simplistic, this sober look at hoarding – the psychological condition, not simply the materialistic accumulation of stuff – makes compelling viewing. There are title cards but no narration. There are to-camera pieces but no interviewer. Instead the hoarders and their loved ones tell their own stories, accompanied by fly-on-the-wall footage. There are two case studies in this episode: a middle-aged mother whose house became so full of stuff she bought another house. Then filled that with stuff too. And a young woman who has not only stuffed her apartment with random junk, she called the police when her mother tried to clean it up. In the former case, a professional organiser and declutterer is called in to help; in the latter, a clinical psychologist. But an extreme hoarder’s problems are as broad as they are deep.