Belfast Telegraph

Will Katie's TV experiment help people battling with obesity? Fat chance

By Jane Graham

It has caught their English neighbours by surprise, but in the last few weeks the notion of independence for Scotland has transformed from a fantasy-driven slogan, drifting dreamily in a tartan haze down from the candy-floss cloud atop Ben Nevis, into a highly possible reality.

The mood for change – the feeling of being on the cusp of something historic and globally significant – is seeping from the mountain falls into the water, the land, the streets, pubs and houses of Aberdeen, Fife, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dumfries.

When did this begin to happen, whisper the folk on the other side of Hadrian's Wall. What has moved so many to consider a seismic shift that, only a year ago, they appeared to discount?

Few outsiders are aware of the tantalising little morsel 'Yes' campaigners are promising voters as they take leave of their doorsteps. It's not an official guarantee, hence the low, husky tone it is usually delivered in; some cannot swear they heard it correctly at all, and it is seldom repeated on request.

But the idea is out there, sifting into thousands of new heads every day; there will be no Katie Hopkins in an independent Scotland.

If you remain sceptical that it's this tiny titbit, passed on via hearsay, hints and half-heard innuendo, which has convinced Scottish voters of the virtues of breaking away from the UK, consider Ms Hopkins' latest venture. She has made a documentary for the TLC channel entitled Katie Hopkins: Journey to Fat and Back.

The documentary sees Hopkins consume 6,500 calories a day for three months until she swells up like a beached whale. It then follows her as she returns to "normal".

Still only half-way through the process, Hopkins appeared on ITV's This Morning on Monday, looking like her old self in a blow-up fat suit – her face has yet to take on the jolly expression we know real fat people adopt fairly quickly upon gaining three stones. Hopkins declared that the object of her mission is to convince overweight folk to "stop blaming everyone else for problems they can control".

"This is a stupid project. I hate fat people for making me do this," she says in the documentary, though her righteous indignation is somewhat deflated by her husband's gentle reminder that the whole thing was her idea.

There's no point flagging up how offensive this project is to people with genuine weight problems, why it brings nothing to our understanding of the obesity problem, or even why it's dangerous.

Anyone with a brain – as well as the majority of pond-dwelling multi-cellular hydrozoa – can identify that this is a desperate grasp at audiences through controversy, in which only the least dignified of self-promoters could have been persuaded to take part.

The issue is that there is still a place – indeed many places, including, evidently, high-profile daytime ITV – for people like Hopkins, whose main schtick is woman-on-woman verbal abuse trading as "sharp-tongued wit", to bolster their tawdry careers. (Though I wonder if Hopkins would have been invited on to This Morning had Fern Britton, rather than supermodelly Holly Willoughby, still been in the chair).

As viewers with eyes and ears, we deserve better. It really is time mainstream media strove just a tad higher and purged itself of the toxic say-anything venom-spewers it still seems to covet.

By the way, I assume my request for the Editor to redact the name of the presenter I refer to in this piece has been granted and, thus, I cannot be accused of making things worse by offering him/her the oxygen of publicity.

Phew.

Where were police in Rotherham?

Common sense has finally won out in the shockingly misjudged and misplayed case of Ashya King, though it took almost 200,000 signatories demanding the release of King's parents before David Cameron stated his sympathetic position.

There are numerous worrying aspects about this story, but most notable for me was that the panicky, knee-jerk response from the police to chase the Kings down was clearly triggered by the media attention their movements had attracted.

Why else would an institution that looked the other way for 16 years while young girls were being raped by gangs in Rotherham suddenly have become so attentive to the needs of vulnerable children?

Liz’s love letter sadly touching

A love letter Elizabeth Taylor , wrote to Richard Burton on their 10th wedding anniversary in 1974, came to light via its auction this week. “How about that — 10 years!!” she writes bouncily.

But though she frets that she cannot adequately express “my love for you ... my delight”, there is a melancholy sense of loss in her words, which also speak of her “fear”, as she pleads that the couple don't take each other for granted again.

A few weeks later, she separated from the perpetually infidelitous Burton. Making her hopeful sign-off, “Your (still) wife”, and those brave, ostensibly jolly exclamation marks after “10 years!!” all the more touching.

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