Would you let a friend pick your tattoo?

‘Just Tattoo of Us’ is a nightmarish lad’s prank of a show where willing players design tattoos for each other and choose where on their bodies the offending artwork should go

There are moments in the history of reality television that are beyond horrific, ones that manage to haunt the mind forever. As a viewer, you are united in this unique misery, the shared trauma of witnessing incidents such as Rebecca Loos stimulating a pig on The Farm or Kinga Karolczack and her unique way with a wine bottle on Big Brother. We can now add to this dubious list the time when Hughie Maughan and Ryan Rucklidge (Big Brother alumni) desecrated each other's bodies for an MTV show.

Just Tattoo of Us is a nightmarish lad's prank of a show where willing couples (friends, lovers, family members – sometimes all three combined) design tattoos for each other and get to choose where on their bodies the offending artwork should go. Neither person is aware of what the tattoo will be until the grand finale reveal, like a makeover show but conducted by Buffalo Bill.

It is a programme so staggeringly idiotic and completely craven it could only be presented by Stephen Bear – ably assisted by Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore. The duos' presenting style oscillates between acting like smirking schoolkids or happy-slapping halfwits, screaming down the lens as if it's last orders at Wetherspoon's. They half bully contestants into participating and then feign surprise when Daz from Stevenage bursts into tears after seeing that his "mate" made him get a naked Mr Bean tattooed on his chest. None of the couple's tattoos are remotely sweet or have a touching backstory (there is no humanity here). They are all wanton acts of revenge played out by unfortunate whey-faced fame-hungry fools itching to appear on Jeremy Kyle or next week's Tattoo Fixers at the very least.

This week, a weepy young girl Sophie thankfully pulls out of the show before her cousin Lauren can get a giant set of handlebars scribbled onto her back, “coz she’s a bike innit”, Bear helpfully explains grinning into the camera. Unlucky Lauren, however, has gone through with her fate and leaves with Sophie’s choice of an ape chewing on a banana stuck on her thigh. It should have been a mug and it should have been on her forehead.


This is but a simple starter before the delightful main course of Maughan and Rucklidge, a Bovril-coloured couple of shrieking attention seekers.

Both obviously decide to have images placed on each other’s behinds and both are as disgusting as expected. Maughan ends up with Rucklidge’s grimacing face on his posterior and Rucklidge receives an image so grossly offensive he could be forgiven for attempted murder in reprisal. As they crash about the studio threatening violence, Bear shakes with suppressed laughter at all this “banter”.

Just Tattoo of Us is reality TV at its most desperate. And its gullible telly hopefuls don't seem to realise that it is only the crude doodlings that will last beyond their allotted 15 minutes of fame.