Barbara’s a fine looking woman, though. She was 67 when this DVD was made and looks fabulous. Although for some reason she seems to be channelling Ken Dodd on the front cover.
We’re invited to exercise with Babs in her lovely fake home - a tasteful looking chalet full of pine furniture, pot plants and walls full of Barbara Windsor memorabilia including old Radio Times covers and a faintly distracting portrait.
The DVD is divided into eight sections: Warm Up; Cardiovascular; Upper Body; Legs; Bum; Tummy; Cool Down and Fun Dance Routine. We’re promised this is the perfect workout for all over body conditioning.
It’s not really Windsor’s workout at all. It’s her trainer, Roy Gayle’s workout. Babs is playing the part of us, the trainee at home, following Roy’s instructions and more-or-less doing what’s she’s told. Is this the way things usually are in the world of celebrity workout DVDs? I think it’s a bit of a cheat. If I bought “Barbara’s Windsor’s Guide to Making Choux Pastry”, I’d be disappointed to find it was a professional chef doing all the baking and Babs’s only contribution was to eat it all.
Throughout the workout, Windsor literally never stops talking. She boasts about how many arm exercises she can manage in the morning. She tells us that she feels intimidated by attractive women in gyms. She sympathises with us girls about how we’re none of us as young as we used to be. Roy does his best to join in but he looks a bit baffled by most of it to be honest. The poor guy clearly has a script he’s trying to stick to and is unsure how to respond when Babs starts telling him how tiny her feet are or guffaws at something she’s just thought of. Generally he reacts by looking a bit scared and putting on a condescending voice. He sounds like someone being interviewed by a puppet on children’s television.
Barbara demonstrates her warm-up exercises while sitting in bed wearing a yellow negligee. After inviting us to imagine her having a wee, she waves her hands and arms around and tells us it’s “the most fun you can have in bed on your own”. Then Roy comes into her fake-bedroom in order to get in on the action. Unfortunately, Roy’s not in his pyjamas but there’s uncomfortable banter as Barbara feigns horror and shrieks “Ooh no, my tootsies. I forgot all about them!” and the pair focus on warming up her ankles.
This is my first celebrity exercise DVD so I have no basis for comparison. I will have to establish The Official Barbara Windsor Measure of Celebrity Workouts. I admit that currently I have the physique of Bob from Monsters vs Aliens and that running for the train leaves me gasping like a fish on a sunbed so I thought the Windsor Workout would be a good place to start.
It’s aimed at old ladies for goodness sake. This stuff’s not easy, though. The leg workout below was a struggle and I didn’t even have bottles of water strapped to my feet.
“I’m not going to be in one of those naughty movies, am I?”
“Don’t be silly. I’ve tied you up for a reason.”
The pair briefly discuss BDSM porn.
I’m going to award it 3 out of 5 and then compare all the subsequent workouts to it. If it turns out that it was the easiest workout in the world, then I may have to increase the highest score. We’ll see how it goes. I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s like a special journey we’re all going on together.
Would I do this workout again?
Christ no. As I mentioned before, this woman talks all the time. If you stuck this DVD on regularly enough to make any difference to your fitness levels, you would have to listen to the same relentless chatter in exactly the same places three times a week minimum. Do you need to hear repeatedly how Babs was advised 15 years by a physiotherapist strengthen her knees with exercise and didn’t take a blind bit of notice and is now suffering from the medical condition known as “gyppy knees” . How would feel if you went to the gym, and a fellow member told the same pointless anecdote every single session? Even if they were a lovable old eccentric with a filthy chortle like Babs Windsor, you’d have to tell them to shut up eventually.