Kathy Burke’s All Woman, Channel 4

A veteran comedian and award-winning actress, Kathy Burke is well on her way to National Treasure status. Two more episodes of this wonderfully earthy voyage of discovery should see her finally ascend the Pantheon – or wherever it is National Treasures congregate (ask Sir Ian McKellen if you see him wandering the streets of Edinburgh this week).

Burke’s task over three episodes is to get to grips with what it means to be a woman today. In the coming weeks she’ll tackle sex and family but she started with beauty and appearance, and how hard you have to work on the second to try to attain the first. Very hard was the answer – and you’ll still get pelters on social media.

It’s probably an inappropriate body part to invoke under the circumstances, but Burke is certainly ballsy. “Has anyone come to you with a photograph of me?” she asked a celebrity plastic surgeon when she dropped in on him in his disturbingly minimalist Harley Street offices. The answer was a polite no, though he did show her a digitally altered photograph of what she could look like if she let him loose on her face. This he referred to as “freshening up”. Most of us make do with a splash of water – what he had in mind was a £20,000 surgical procedure.

She gave his proposal a metaphorical two fingers but she was far more explicit and far less metaphorical in her filmed asides between interviews. She even managed to refer to Boris Johnson as a c*** at one point – impressive in a programme about perspectives on female beauty – and peppered her other observations with the F-word. Her reaction to learning about something called “a vagacial” (it’s even harder to comprehend than it is to pronounce) was absolutely priceless.

She interviewed celebrity photographer Rankin, who has photographed her often over the years, and talked to him about “heroin chic”, a look he was partly responsible for promoting. She also had her portrait taken by him. “A little bit of turd polishing, but don’t roll it in glitter” was her instruction.

Visiting former Love Island contestant Megan Barton-Hanson, who has had plastic surgery, she heard about the abuse she has received for looking “fake” and “plastic”. Tellingly, she said that improving the “outer shell”, as she put it, didn’t solve the inner problems of insecurity and self-esteem. “It didn’t fix a thing”. Even more heart-breaking was 20-year-old Laura, who Burke mes at a plastic surgery clinic and who admitted that her upcoming breast augmentation operation was inspired partly by the pressure of wanting to look good on social media.

But Burke wouldn’t let things end on a downer. Women, she said, are meant to be “quiet and humble and modest – well f*** that.”

A powerful, moving and blisteringly funny documentary, and a genuine must-see in an otherwise humdrum summer TV schedule.