The extremely angry Dotun Adebayo reckons he's been the victim of a terrible crime - 20 years ago, he had no-strings sex on a ferry with a Swedish woman who said she was on the Pill. She later rang him up, saying she was pregnant with his child but she didn't want him to have anything to do with it. He has been plagued ever since with a terrible case of the "what ifs?". For all he knows, there could be - gadzooks! - a living, breathing 19-year-old walking about, bold as brass, sharing his genes but speaking only Swedish.
This we found out in the first two minutes of Sperm Bandits (26 April, 7.30pm, Channel 4), and already a number of things didn't stack up. If the sex was no-strings, why did she have his phone number? If she wanted him to have nothing to do with the tot, why did she phone him up? If no demands are being made of him, what on earth is he whining about?
That in mind, why did the woman settle for his genes? If it's just one solitary shag you're after, you could easily snag a tennis ace or a nuclear physicist. Even if you're not prepared to venture off the ferry, you could still do better than this maundering gimp. So I was left with the unshakeable feeling that this was actually a made-up Swedish lady, which left me well equipped to answer Adebayo's central question: "What kind of a woman maliciously exploits a young boy?" Well, Dotun, the made-up kind.
Thus poised between fact-based confessional and lie-based moonshine, the programme lacked the conviction to decide on a format. One minute, it was a serious documentary, with a legal expert and everything (our hero's attempts to look as if he was listening while she talked were so hilarious as to make the entire watching experience worthwhile). Then Adebayo journeyed on to a radio show to make his case, upon which a listener named Alison called up and said, "I just want to say how irritated I am by the guy you've got on your programme" - with which sentiment I agreed so unequivocally that I almost turned off and went and did something else, on the basis that the show had in effect just reviewed itself.
But suddenly, we were no longer in docuworld, but in a kind of futuristic Crimewatch UK, where the fantasy child of Adebayo is a toothsome teen, magicked on to his doorstep and saying: "Da-a-a-d?" (The imagined teen didn't seem to have a Swedish accent, from which we could infer that she was brought up with no small amount of care by the made-up Swedish lady.) In a flash, Adebayo was at Speakers' Corner, spouting parlous idiocy to a bunch of extras who - by looking interested, as opposed to incredulous and derisive - were in fact acting a good deal more vigorously than anyone in Brookside, and all deserve a prize of some sort.
"I am not here to bury women, but to praise them," he said. (Well, dur! If you wanted to bury a woman, you wouldn't do it in Hyde Park, you'd do it in your garden.) Contrary to his intention, he went on not to praise women, but to say: "All the time, you hear feminists saying the same thing - 'A woman's right to choose'. What about a man's right?" He said roughly the same thing to the representative from the Child Support Agency, and you could practically see the thought-bubble coming out of her head. (It said: "Whoever would sleep with this fool of a man?") Despite the endless repetitions, Adebayo never voiced his main complaint, which is that women have wombs, and that they are unfairly using them to grow babies in, without recourse to any kind of committee or higher authority. He's right, it is unfair. I suggest dressing us all up in shapeless garments that leave only our tiny fingers showing, and stoning us to death when we transgress. That'll teach us.
The most amazing thing about Sperm Bandits was that everything about it, including even the incidental music, managed to mirror its specious, repetitive, annoying core. How did so many people ever come to share the same utterly mistaken purpose? Has the world gone mad?
Well, not the whole world - more than one talking head came straight out and asked Adebayo why he hadn't just used a condom, if he was going to get so worked up about it. He never answered this question to my satisfaction, but then, I had taken against him so thoroughly by the end that I can't be satisfied now until I find out he's got some excruciatingly embarrassing sexual problem. That'll give him something to complain about.