Cherry Healey How to Get a Life: Review

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?

Cherry Healey’s BBC3’s lifestyle show: How to Get a Life series explores contrasting groups of the public that fit in with each topic and asks life’s fundamental questions. The latest episode on the topic of ‘Work and Play’ investigates work/life balance and the issues surrounding excess. Is it possible to maintain a healthy life combining the two? Or are we all heading for major disasters in our personal health and family lives.

Meeting people who are living extremes gives Cherry plenty of food for thought and makes her evaluate her own behaviour in her own busy life. She meets a stock broker who works 20 hour caffeine fuelled week with four hours sleep a night, a single mother who is endangering her health by working 4 jobs with no rest bite, clubbing party promo girls and blokes who squander all their wages on booze blow out once a week.

Her interviewing style and interactions with her subjects are always interesting to watch. The investigations are insightful and empathetic to the characters encountered to tell their story. It is really about the Vox Pops and Cherry isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty often pulling her trademark ‘cor blimey’ face when faced with a tricky offering, you can translate this face in two ways, the first as “Oh god, this is beyond obsession, what they hell was I thinking?” and the second as “You people are clearly off your rockers”.

Now married to Rory and mother to Coco, Cherry Healey seems to have become a little more cautious in her journalism. Her first documentary Drinking with the Girls was broadcast in 2009 and since then she has been popular with BBC3 commissioners,  she’s given us Cherry Has a Baby, Cherry Goes Dating, Cherry Gets Married, Is Breast Best? and Cherry’s Dilemma’s on Money, Body Image and Parenting and you get a strong sense from Cherry’s documentaries that she has a genuine interest in people. Exploring cultural trends is not always easy and engaging in situations that seem beyond the normal parameters of your life is challenging.

Cherry Healey is a personable, highly intelligent, funny and endearing individual. There is nothing startling or aggressive about Cherry’s approach and perhaps that is the key to her success in extracting highly private information from those she speaks to and her. Put simply, she is very nice and polite to people and appears non- judgmental.

Ending most epilogues with “I completely understand, but…” finding a conclusion to the questions raised is not at all straight forward.  For the simple reason that life isn’t black and white; and even the shades of grey have pigments of other hues peeping through them.

Adding her own reflective musings and glances to camera are the fabric of her personal experience documentaries; this is now truly Cherry Healey’s niche.

Watch the latest episode of Cherry Healey: How to Get a Life on the BBC iplayer