Highgate teaches TVs ladettes to ladies the art of etiquette

Highgate has all the hallmarks of a traditional English village – a square where the community congregates, a park, there is even an old fashioned tea and scone shop.

So it may come as no surprise that it was chosen by producers of hit Ukrainian TV programme ‘From Ladettes to Ladies’ as the setting for its hotly anticipated final.

Three women from the show, which traces the transformation of drink-loving ‘ladettes’ to well mannered, refined ladies, visited Highgate to learn the quintessentially English art of tea drinking.

Appropriately attired in pretty summer dresses and matching patent heels, Lidiay Lunosheva, 29, Alla Lutsenko, 21, and Natalia Komarova, 22, practiced their tea sipping, hoping to score top marks in elegance, poise and confidence, before going on to a reception at the Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery.

Standing with her hands neatly folded in front of her, Lidiay Lunosheva says the show has seen her transform emotionally as well as physically.

“I didn’t really take care of myself before I joined the show. I didn’t care about the way I looked and the way I lived. I’d never really given it any proper thought,” she said.

“I’ve really changed. I have started thinking about things that before didn’t really matter to me. For example, I want something bigger and better in life, so I can finally become a woman and not remain a man.”

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But this journey wasn’t always an easy one.

“What really made me uncomfortable was a dress I had to wear which was quite revealing. But now, I feel confident in going about in an evening dress like that. I am not going to say that it would give me a lot of pleasure, but I would feel comfortable in it.”

The show, which first aired in the UK in 2005 provoking some controversy, seeks to rehabilitate the contestants’ lives by teaching them etiquette and other ‘ladylike’ skills.

Before arriving in Highgate, Lidiay and her fellow former ladettes learnt to cook, went clay pigeon shooting and were given a lesson in how to wear feminine clothes.

Tatiana Kosh, one of the show’s hosts and an expert in ‘cultural competence’, said: “Everyone knows about central London but London is a collection of small villages, and Hampstead and Highgate are the best.

“It is important for these girls to broaden their horizons.”