Belfast Telegraph

Balding firm on costume choices

TV presenter Clare Balding has admitted she will always wear the trousers when it comes to choosing outfits for her on-screen appearances.

The no-nonsense BBC broadcaster says she takes exception to seeing women on TV being pressured into dressing "as though they are going to a cocktail party", and she will always choose trousers over skirts.

"Women being judged on appearance: it stultifies talent," Balding told the Mail on Sunday's Event magazine.

Although she now works with two stylists, she says she will not be talked into donning a party frock on-screen, adding: "I want to feel like nothing is going to distract from the job I'm doing."

Balding, a former jockey from a thoroughbred family, also revealed how she lost 20 pounds in under three months after making a £100 bet with her mother to see who could shift the most weight.

There was no crash diet or extreme exercise regime, she said, just a combination of sensible calorie-counting and walking.

"No-one in television told me to lose weight, it was the bet with my mother," Balding said.

The 43-year-old has no desire to have children - "never have done, just puppies" - but says getting married is important to her.

She and Radio 4 newsreader Alice Arnold have already flagged plans to convert their civil partnership to a marriage.

"It is not an all-singing, all-dancing event but it is terribly important," Balding said.

"Alice rang up about car insurance yesterday and they asked about marital status and she said civil partnership - it's all very straightforward.

"Most companies and businesses don't bat an eyelid but ten years ago it wasn't like that, there was no box to tick.

"The next thing is to be able to say 'married' and have people, businesses, ask what your husband or wife does without assuming you are straight or gay."

She said she and Arnold are "conscious of the responsibility" they bear as a high-profile gay couple: "If you can do anything, all you want is to make it easier for other people."

Balding has also owned up to being something of a fan of the ITV reality hit I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

She will not totally rule out following in the footsteps of fellow BBC alumnus turned Celeb jungle contestant Michael Buerk.

"Would I ever appear? No. Then again, I am sure Michael Buerk would have said, 'No, never,' so one never knows," Balding said.

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