Help Me Rhonda! is a television polyglot of that feel-good judgmental hue, where bland and broken people are invigorated and reborn for our nasty little pleasure. This program has no idea of its own, only a shell format that can absorb any of its kin from Faking It to House Doctor, and whose only common point amongst the episodes is the anchor and hands-on pseudo sociologist Rhonda. She styles herself as a ‘life coach’, and I’m sure to some she is. But to me she’s a bully.

This week’s program borrowed from Life Laundry to the point of plunder, charging a bingo caller to banish her hoarding ways and clear her brimming house of junk mail and marker pens. An early brief inspection showed that something was very wrong, even for this sort of show, and the narrator thought so too, stating several times that the marriage was at stake.

Rhonda, however, only gave token time to the causes, taking her subject on a sample shopping trip and throwing out top-of-her-head cod psychology titbits. She decided that the shopping had become an addiction: no further analysis was needed of this fascinating obsession and the complicated relationship it was threatening, no open questions and revealing emotional discussions ‘ not even the skating but succinct assessments that Alvin Hall gives us in Your Money or Your Life. Rhonda took her victim’s acceptance with a smug nod ‘ I’ve got your number, she was thinking.

I don’t know whether Life Laundry has hidden teams of handymen who put in the real donkey work, but even in the most hopeless cases they manage close each edition with a montage of pristine rooms and happy dwellers. Besides this, our pair’s half-hearted results looked all the more tragic. Rhonda’s advice seemed more like admonishments over laziness and ineptitude. Her only practical help was to use an alarm clock to cajole faster work, which prompted a fit of despair and rebellion. This wasn’t training ‘ it smacked of hard-edged pre-war techniques for bringing the feckless to heel.

Their conversations often became Rhonda’s lectures, like a scolding parent demanding to know why a child hadn’t tidied their room. Which may sound appropriate, only the child was a mature woman with a depressing and sometimes tearful problem, and the adult was there, specifically, to help her. Instead both of them were impotent to find a solution, and throwing their anger at one another ‘ the bully with sanctimonious disdain, the victim with frustration and self-loathing.

At the end of thirty days, all that seemed to have been achieved ‘ on camera, at least ‘ was that she had simply been left feeling worthless. It would be easy to slip into the ‘but it makes good television’ argument if it hadn’t been so clear that the program makers had found a desperate person and failed them badly.

Near the end, Rhonda pushed the blame onto her charge and commented reproachfully ‘I can’t change anybody.’ I’m inclined to agree.