BBC3's "makeunder" show Snog, Marry, Avoid? has been doing its best to teach Britain's slap-happy, artificially-enhanced young people the value of the natural look for almost half a decade. The main weapon in its arsenal? POD – the computerised Personal Overhaul Device – who transforms shameless exhibitionists in to demure beauties (while showering them with a constant stream of sarcastic putdowns).
Ahead of the new sixth season (starting Monday 18 March), POD took time out from her important work to honour RadioTimes.com with a rare interview, in which she warned us of some of the extreme fakery we can expect this time around, as well as sharing her views on politics, possible alternative careers and why she'd love to get Nicki Minaj in her sights...
What's the worst example of fakery you've seen on the show?
Oh my POD, the sights my sensors have detected... On this tour I've seen a pink dog get a fur-jazzle, a boy wear 25 layers of fake tan, fakers who have cut their tongue in half and a couple of bright blue chickens. Just when you think you've seen it all, POD's door will slide open and in comes a look that sends an electric shock through my hard drive.
Who's your biggest success story?
I've updated my fashion data banks and my make-unders are just getting better and better. One particularly scantily clad, covered-in-slap girl said “POD has changed my life” so over the coming months you are about to see the biggest success stories in the history of Snog Marry Avoid? If POD had any feelings at all POD would be feeling very proud.
Snog Marry Avoid is now in its sixth series, how do you account for its continued success?
I am POD, the world’s ONLY personal overhaul device. I am on a mission to restore natural beauty and the nation are behind me on my mission. Without POD the streets of Great Britain would be paved with bling, and fake tan would run through our rivers. I'm a modern day superhero – saving the world from fakery. I'm looking after the children of Britain, working toward a bright future (not an orange one). There was never a doubt that my mission would be a success.
What can we expect from the new series – any highlights (or lowlights)?
Highlights AND lowlights – and on the same head! POD just can't understand why people would dip the ends of their hair in bleach! For the first time, the fiercest fake fanatics will walk into POD and be made-under on the road. Once I've taken off their make-up and covered them up with clothes, our natural beauties will strut their stuff on The Podwalk. I will also be challenging [presenter] Ellie [Taylor] to get to the bottom of the local looks and Ellie being Ellie will always go too far. From bottom enhancers to bling, camouflage to glasses without lenses, Ellie will find a way to make herself look as ridiculous as possible.
Which celebrities would you most like to treat to a makeunder?
Over the years I've wiped the fake face off Jodie Marsh, Chantelle and Goldie looking chain – they all admitted that they were wrong and POD was right. There is now a new generation of fakers and it seems that this Nicky Minaj is the culprit. If you're reading this, Minaj monstrosity – I challenge you to come into POD and I will prove to you that natural beauty is the key to happiness and success.
And who would you snog, marry and avoid?
POD is a computer and computers don't have hearts and if POD did have a heart I certainly wouldn't be snogging people – the saliva would play havoc with my circuits.
There's something of a resemblance between POD and HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey? Is there a chance you could ever go haywire and embark on a forced makeunder spree?
There were moments this year when I was faced with such extreme fakery that my hard drive went into overdrive. But POD's programme is extremely sophisticated and all the fake tan in the world wouldn't make me lose focus.
If makeunders hadn't been your calling how else might you have employed your talents?
POD could be programmed to take on any mission big or small. I'd make an excellent metal detector, or a machine that detects false banknotes or perhaps a Fashion Editor of a glossy magazine.
You are honest, intelligent and charismatic – just the opposite of most politicians, and just what this country needs. Would you ever consider going into politics?
POD computes that your observations are correct. I am indeed charismatic, intelligent and honest. People often say how much they would like it if I were in charge but I need to be on the ground, face to overly-made-up face with the nation's fakers. I’m in it for the long game. Little by little I will scrape away the layers of fake tan and restore a state of natural beauty.
If you were involved in politics, what would be your key policies?
Should the Prime Minister be shrewd enough to ask for my advice, I would suggest he put a heavy duty tax on make-up. Commission make under machines to be positioned outside every nightclub in Essex, Liverpool and Bromley. And long pointy claw-like nails should be added to the list of dangerous and illegal weapons.
Do androids dream of electric sheep?
When I go into sleep mode at night I have a reccurring nightmare... fakery is taking over the world and my makeunder button isn’t working. Instead of counting electric sheep I process all the good that we're doing and that sends me into a deep, energy saving sleep.
The new series of Snog, Marry, Avoid? starts on BBC3 at 10pm on Monday 18 March