Tax the Fat (BBC One, Monday 8.30pm) sounded like a sadistic gameshow rather than a Panorama documentary. But the programme has been going that way for years.

Host Jeremy Vine wore his best 'sincere' face instead of a sparkly jacket, the poor man's Bruce Forsyth bookending the usual half-heartedly alarmist reportage.

Rousing the rabble was Shelley Jofre. The vaudeville jaunt to her name belied a gratingly puritanical bent. So fierce was her flab-aghast you'd think she'd been mugged by a Kit Kat as a kid.

"Nudges are important," health politico Andrew Lansley told her. It was hard to disagree.

But tax was "not a nudge but a shove". In fact, he'd have needed a forklift truck to break the habits of some contestants: the usual parade of disconsolate binge-eaters, whose diet of fatty delights only made them unhappy.

Or did they gorge because they were unhappy already? Give them a chicken-and-egg situation and you'd end up with a poultry omelette.

We swooped on the US, where a state-level soda tax looms. Coca-Cola's chief scientist, a crabby Joan Rivers minus the jokes, claimed surprisingly weakly that fizzy drinks are not cigarettes. As the show's makers surely knew, the best way to make an idea seem sensible is to show Americans disagreeing with it.

Denmark's national dish is chocolate wrapped in bacon yet the populace of Viking six-footers all live to a hundred. It's just brought in an HFSS tax and the kids are getting slimmer.

You expected Shelley to make more of this, seeing as that was the entire point of the show. Instead she went back to lampooning a chocolate maker with excerpts of the Oompa Loompa song.

Other music came from dance legends Underworld, the Beeb slyly deploying a tune called Jumbo. You could probably count the number of Panorama viewers who got the joke on a Twix. But it went well with the highlight reel of portly wheezers on Shopmobility trikes. Their slow-mo wobbles had the hypnotic quality of a lava lamp.

Vine closed on a suitably baleful note. Let's see what you could have won, he didn't say.

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