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How to be a Lady: An Elegant History

Tue Mar 26, 9-10pm, BBC4

The lady – says Rachel ‘sister of Boris’ Johnson, who edits the magazine of the same name – is back. And with it comes this guide, with essential tips such as how to ride side-saddle, how to open a door correctly, and how to conduct oneself gracefully (bicycles strictly prohibited). All useful stuff. But is there any more to being a lady than poise and manners, and can this ‘lady’ exist in a modern age of female empowerment?

While much time is spent on outdated protocols and silliness – with an alarming number of real-life ’Enry ’Igginses trying to mould a Stepford-like army of English ladies – thankfully the baffled, tongue-in-cheek responses from our self-confessed unladylike presenter makes it all rather fun. Stick around for some interesting era-relevant discussion from the likes of Debrett’s, with a modern, feminist viewpoint adding a nice counterbalance to the book-balancing of the first half. We might not need those side-saddles after all. Claire Winter