Hoping for £50,000 . . . Rebecca, aka Beckii Cruel, with her parents. Photograph: BBC/Hey Buddy TV/Paul King/Hey Buddy TV
Beckii is 15 and famous in Japan for dancing on the web. Isn't that a little bit odd?
Rebecca Flint, or Beckii Cruel as she renamed herself, has big eyes, a sharp chin, fluffy hair and slender limbs. It's a look that, in the cartoon worlds of anime and manga, is about as cute as it gets. So when Beckii posted a video of herself dancing to a Japanese pop song in her bedroom at home on the Isle of Man, she became an instant internet sensation 6,000 miles away in Japan. She's the subject of Beckii: Schoolgirl Superstar at 14 (BBC3), a fascinating but worrying documentary.
Beckii's parents' first thought was: "Hang on, what's going on here then?" But then a couple of things persuaded them that it was all actually OK. First of all, there's the fact that in Japan it's perfectly acceptable for pretty young girls to be worshipped in a way that is a bit creepy anywhere else. Cultural differences: you've got to accept them, haven't you? And when you factor in Beckii's earning potential, suddenly it all becomes absolutely fine.
So she goes over there, gets a manager, does a photo book, dances on TV, does a shoot with a sumo wrestler. And the YouTube hits stack up. We don't find out who exactly is watching Beckii's dancing videos, but another British girl trying to make it over there, 16-year-old Gemma, has done some research into her own YouTube demographic. Of her male fans, which make up 53% of her audience, a tiny proportion are in the 13-to-17 age range; the biggest are in the 45-to-54 group. That's a bit alarming, isn't it?
Apparently not. "Any mother of teenage daughters knows they're going to get a bit of extra attention, so what can you do about it?" giggles Gemma's mum.
Beckii, meanwhile, receives gifts from her fans; one in particular sends her boxes of noodles and a Fender bass guitar for her 15th birthday. They've met him on their trips to Japan. "He's very quiet," says Beckii's mum. "Very nice, very shy, as most Japanese men are." She doesn't say how old he is, but admits there's a massive gap.
Beckii's dad, policeman Derek, has thought seriously about how much he'd like his daughter to earn to make up for her school work suffering. "The GCSE year has to be worth £50,000 to compensate for the deterioration in grades," he says. "It would be a tragedy to miss that 15 minutes of fame. And not maximise it to the extent that she could set herself up very comfortably."
Quite right. What are children for, if not for cashing in on? No, it's her money, he says. "If she wants to buy me a nice car, I'm not going to turn it down. Or pay my mortgage off, that'd be great – thanks Rebecca."
They don't say how much they've made so far, but it's clearly not enough, because Derek's now getting involved, bringing in new people to help her record singles, stuff that might appeal beyond Japan. I'm not convinced it's going to work. Because while she may look like a character in a Japanese cartoon, she doesn't have the greatest singing voice in the world, and isn't even the greatest dancer. Why should she be? She's just 14. OK, 15 now.
Beckii seems remarkably level-headed, and doesn't seem to need advice from anyone. But I'm going to offer mine anyway. Maybe don't give up on the old GCSEs, just in case the noodles stop coming through the letterbox (as the ancient Japanese saying goes). And dad can take care of his own mortgage. Well, at least until you're 16.
There's something of teen drama The OC about Natural World: California Sea Otters (BBC2). A troubled otter – or "arder", because this film has a syrupy narration from Bonnie Greer – from the rocky coast of central California takes up residence among the gleaming yachts of a luxury marina in Monterey Bay. There are problems and misunderstandings. She (the otter, not Bonnie) doesn't know that, in polite society, it's not on to crack open your shellfish against millionaires' boats. There are problems with the other posh marina otters, too – fights and jealousies, love across the tracks. Somehow, she struggles on, against the odds.
The ones who stay put in the wild seem to have it easier, now that they're no longer hunted for fur. They lie in the kelp, sunning their bellies; it looks lovely. A sea otter floating around on its back is a very cute thing. Some of them have posted themselves on YouTube. Check them out. Unless you're a dirty old man.
FINALLY. Thank you Guardian, ilu again. I actually wrote a criticism section on wikipedia but it got deleted for having invalid sources. Oh well, I tried.
Congratulations/comisserations to arama members who took their GCSEs and got their results, on that note.