Tuesday February 13th 2001
Sky One (BSkyB)
Donna presented this run-down of sex tips for girls.
'50 Ways...' was not exactly a clever production, but it could hardly be accused of jumping on the 'top 50' bandwagon. It differed from that kind of chart format in that, firstly, nobody had voted for the tips which made it on to the show and, secondly, they were in no particular order - the very first tip might be just as good as the very last one, and all that really mattered, it seemed, was what worked for you, the viewer. The result was something akin to a full-colour motion-picture version of one of Dear Deirdre's helplines - 'The thinking-girl image won't turn him on, what else can I try??'
Never fear, Donna's here, with a group of strippers and a group of celebrities all poised and ready to show you how to act like a slut. Except, again, 50 Ways surpassed itself, going beyond the usual bimbo prattle about scented candles. Instead, viewers were given not just the 50 promised tips, but six separate strip routines to practise at home as well as a series of celebrity featurettes - Tara Palmer-Tomkinson discussing her personal favourite sex toys (taken, naturally, from her own 'Box of Tricks'), Denise van Outen joining Donna to try out food-related aphrodisiacs at Zilli Fish, and so on. And of course, the greatest tease of all - Donna spent the whole show in a buttoned-to-the-neck business suit. Classy and sexy, all at once. That's our girl!
The show was arguably a trade-in on Valentine's Day the following day, but if so it was effective. It's been repeated since, although as time goes on it seems increasingly unlikely that we'll see it again. We can only hope plenty of couples had fun in 2001 off the back of it. It seems worth saying that, having watched the thing in full, 50 Ways was truly a marathon effort, never getting boring and never really dipping in watchability, perhaps thanks to the cohesion offered by those strip routines, punctuating the main tips as a reminder that no, you can't channel-hop, you're in this for the duration. By the end there was that strange sense of elation you get at the end of Children in Need or Comic Relief - the achievement of having stuck with a piece of trash telly, and loving every second of it!
Cast and Crew
Donna's interviewees, and other notable mentions from the show:
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson is the original It Girl, professional ligger, and all-round head-case (in the nicest possible way). Nobody's really sure what she does, although from time to time she shows up moonlighting as a TV presenter. Like most people, she's also been a panellist on Shooting Stars, as has Donna. She is, however, most definitely on the DACU List of People We Like. As is:
Denise van Outen. What is there to say? She's made it the hard way, selling herself first as a ladette with shows like Something for the Weekend (see Andy Clifford's entry below), slogging it out alongside Donna on Channel 4's The Big Breakfast, before finally realising a dream as she took to the stage. Now a well-respected thesp among theatre-goers, not to mention one of the most beautiful women in the world, it seems the ladette finally became a lady.
Jemma Kidd, Jodie's sister, began her career as a model. While Jodie stuck to the catwalk, Jemma stepped delicately off it and into a contract with Max Factor, not as the face of their product, but as a make-up artist. And she's good, too. In the meantime, back in 2001 when 50 Ways was aired, Jemma was named Best Dressed Woman of the Year. Admittedly, that was in a time when Donna was still going out in hot pants and moon boots. Oh well.
Lady Victoria Hervey is no stranger to the It Girl lifestyle herself. Her career has perhaps not been the greatest success - Wikipedia chooses to focus on her Hollywood career ('Waitress in Diner' opposite Tom Hanks' son), her boutique career (Akademi, which went bankrupt) and her, erm, 'ligging' career (turning up uninvited to a Bond film premiere, being turned away, and being booed by photographers as she walked back down the red carpet). Even her reality TV career has been checquered - her appearance on 2004's The Farm understandably overshadowed by Rebecca Loos' pig-pleasuring performance, whilst on Celebrity Love Island she paused only to pour a bottle of wine over Sophie Anderton before voluntarily leaving Fiji.
Aldo Zilli, the chef for whom Zilli Fish is named, owns a string of restaurants in London. He is no stranger to the camera; he had a small role in 2003's Dog, a British film, as well as appearing on Celebrity Fit Club, presenting restaurant review show Dinner Dates on ITV, and various slots on satellite/cable food channels.
Andy Clifford of Blue Fin TV did some of the camera work on 50 Ways - we like to give some of the crew a mention here! Andy's worth at least a few rays of the limelight, having worked on some of our favourite shows including Denise van Outen's ill-fated Something for the Weekend, and StreetMate with Donna's good friend Davina McCall. He also worked on the rather strange murder mystery 'The Murder Game' in the early days of BBC3 when they were working hard to establish a more offbeat identity for the channel - a kind of Big Brother spin-off, with just one ongoing task, to solve the 'murder' of Catherine Prior by interviewing residents of the fictitious village of Blackwater, all played by actors of course. Alongside camera work on 'interactive' betting show Banzai ("Place your bets NOW!!!") Andy's credits read like a roll-call of televisual thinking-outside-the-box.
So, just what were those 50 tips? No doubt you're gagging to know. So we at DACU dutifully sat through 50 Ways once more and made a note of each one in the countdown, for your perusal below.
50. Pole dancing
49. Suggestive notes - leave them for him to find - from the lovely Beverley Turner (we like her)
48. Home movies - film yourself for him to enjoy later - from model Rebekah
47. Getting wet - canoodling in the bath can be very sensual, apparently
Then along comes Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, whose box of tricks forms the next four entries as 50 Ways takes an accessories interlude:
42. Bodily contact - normal service is resumed as Jordan espouses the benefits of actual physical contact
41. Just a coat and shoes - going out to meet your man wearing basically nothing is apparently a great tease
40. Lap dancing - along with a demonstration (and remember - no touching!)
39. Stripping with fans/feathers - with another demonstration, naturally
38. Ignore him! - make him wait for your attention, and then give it to him
37. Strip poker - an old favourite
Next up is the aphrodisiacs interlude, this time with Denise van Outen, who helps Donna to taste-test:
36. Snake's blood (Donna sits this one out but Denise downs it like a good 'un)
32. Crab Ravioli
31. Eye contact - normal service is resumed for just one entry in the list before a trio of massage techniques:
27. Naughty photos - leave them for him to find, preferably when he's alone
26. Phone him at work - he might not be able to talk, but you can (unless you're on speakerphone)
Long-distance teases come next with:
25. Fax Machine - go all business-like as you fax him something naughty
24. E-mail - the 21st-century tease
23. SMS - if he's not near a computer, text him to say you care
22. Webcam - well, you probably know what to do there...
21. Take off your knickers - pop to the loo, whip 'em off, give them to him and see the reaction
On the subject of undergarments, there then follows a lingerie interlude featuring:
17. Food on the body - something a little different to wear
16. Feng Shui - remove clutter, banish family photos and get rid of mirrors in the bedroom (they reflect badly on your relationship). If you're really going for it, roses or rose quartz in the south-west corner of the room is good for the flow of energy.
15. 'Less is more' - a striptease where the woman dominates, taking her time to make the most of the strip
14. Girls with girls - a classic
13. Make-up - Jemma Kidd and Lady Victoria Hervey go all smokey-eyed as they discuss the importance of blending eyeshadow properly
12. Atomic Kitten stress their love of R Kelly in the bedroom
11. Al Green is another favourite among contributors to the show
10. Donna Summer - I Feel Love is the suggestion from Edith Bowman
9. Aerosmith are another suggestion, for those looking to inject some passion and energy
8. Argument - Davinia Taylor suggests staging a fight, just so you get to make it up to him
She also hangs around for the dressing-up interlude, sporting outfits such as:
4. Lara Croft
2. Princess Leia
1. A slow, sensual striptease naturally rounds off the list, ending with a rear view of a completely naked woman who struts off to reveal Donna stood with what must have been the best view in the house...
A varied and well considered selection of tips, artfully executed without descending into smut, 50 Ways to Tease Your Lover is definitely worth looking out for on a late-night repeat.