Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

I’ll take Linda’s advice on make-up, but not children

I suppose we should be wary of any project about sexuality commissioned by our former Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith.

If she didn't know that X-rated stuff was showing on the television at her second home while hubby was babysitting, I'm not sure she had the right credentials to spend a big wad of our money on a year-long review into the sexualisation of young people.

Of course, it is of great concern that children seem to have ready access to highly unsuitable material on the internet. It's also depressing that little girls adore groups fronted by young women who prance about in their knickers and bras.

And lyrics are too sexually explicit — David Cameron admitted the other week he wasn't very happy about his little girl's fixation on Lily Allen.

The stark fact is, a rising number of young people are self-harming and feel deeply unhappy with their body image.

But asking a glamourous television psychologist to come up with recommendations about preventing the sexualisation of youngsters is a bit like asking Jordan to run an Oxford College.

Dr Linda Papadopoulos wants explicit pop videos banned before the watershed, sexy magazines to be unavailable to boys under 16, and a website set up where parents can report shops that sell inappropriate merchandise for children, all of which are completely unworkable.

More importantly, why should we take any notice of pie-in-the-sky proposals dreamt up by a cleverly made-up blonde Cypriot-Canadian psychologist who earns a crust as an adviser on shows like Big Brother, Loose Women and GMTV — not to mention Julian Clary's Showbiz Hissy Fits and The Greatest Disaster Movies Ever?

It might be cruel, but I am sure that Dr Linda would not be sitting spouting banalities on telly sofas with such regularity if she looked like Einstein or Germaine Greer. Be honest, she's eye-candy, pure and simple.

Over the past few years, Dr Linda has been paid by a wide range of commercial organisations — among them the drinks manufacturer Diageo, the National Lottery, Boots and Vitabiotics, which makes the Wellman health supplements. She developed an online quiz for Camelot about luck and wrote in the introduction: “In recent years we have realised that being in the right place at the right time can determine our success in life.”

I don't know how much she pocketed for that piffle, but it's impressive.

She was an adviser to Bailey's when they conducted a survey which claimed to prove that 92% of us don't allow ourselves a daily treat. Dr Linda coined something called the “pleasure deficiency syndrome”. Nice work if you can get it.

For Boots she was employed as an adviser on their ‘know your figure’ campaign, which saw BMI machines installed in some stores.

Her television credits also include the BBC's My Big Breasts and Me. Her website claims “many celebrities in the US and UK turn to Linda when they are in need of counselling”.

Another review states she charged £125-an-hour for counselling a couple of years ago. Dr Linda is very busy on all fronts.

Much is made of the fact that Dr Linda specialises in “body issues”, which is why I find it strange she was photographed heavily made-up for the Daily Mail, promoting her own cosmetics range, Psy-Derma.

This claims to use “smart ingredients” and costs around £32-a-pot. Dr Linda tells us that happiness is “a pair of python Louboutins”. I'd rather have the £500.

There are more than 30,000 therapists in the UK. I can't imagine a woman who flogs pricey cosmetics, endorses exceedingly sweet alcoholic drinks and who wears disgustingly expensive shoes is the best choice as a Government expert on child rearing.

But maybe I'm being mean.

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