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He's the king of Wonderland, but nothing's weird about Tim

Jonathan Ross did his cheeky best last week to unsettle film director Tim Burton and his favourite leading man, the drop-dead-gorgeous Johnny Depp. Jonathan called both men "weird" and invited the audience to have a good old giggle at them.

The audience decided to applaud politely, thank goodness. They were clearly better brought up than Mr Ross.

I'm sorry, Jonathan, but your best days in TV land may be behind you. You and the rest of the sniggering, snickering 'celebrities' in dumbed-down Britain: Russell Brand, Chris Moyles, Chris Evans, Ant and Dec, Davina McCall and Jimmy Carr. For all some presenters seem to do nowadays is poke fun at the people with real, genuine talent.

Tim Burton is an artist, an illustrator, a film director and a true bohemian. He was a shy and creative child who stayed at home drawing and painting and watching TV instead of playing outdoors in the LA sunshine.

His tastes are definitely gothic, surreal and romantic, but I wouldn't say he was weird in any way.

His rich imagination has given us lavishly realised and stylish films like Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland.

Tim Burton works damned hard at his craft, I daresay, and that's why we don't see him traipsing round to every party and product launch in London and LA, like so many other limelight-addicts.

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Tim and his beautiful partner, the fellow bohemian and acclaimed actor Helena Bonham Carter, are two of the few famous faces left in this country that haven't resorted to plastic surgery, faddy diets or attention-seeking gimmicks.

They've still got the looks nature intended, they wear whatever clothes they feel comfortable in and they don't lie about their ages or flaunt their wealth or celebrity - and I so admire them for it.

Some of the more snippy newspapers occasionally print pictures of the couple strolling round London and pass remarks at their uncombed hair. I think these commentators are just terribly, spitefully, hopelessly jealous.

In an age where so many young people want to 'be famous' without having done or achieved anything much to be famous for, it's such a comfort to see these two super-talented people just getting on with it.

Tim Burton's dark, yet tender-hearted films are works of art, no less; and possibly the last refuge for any sensitive person out there that really, really doesn't want to see one more minute of gratuitous onscreen nudity or violence.

We ought to be grateful that Tim and Helena have never decamped to Hollywood and forgotten us completely (except during the promo slog) like so many other stars have done before them. I hope they never split up, never leave the UK, never change their style and never stop making such wonderful films together.

And no, this isn't a desperate bid on my behalf to network with the great man and his muse; to my knowledge Tim doesn't make films set in Belfast, anyway.

I'm just saying how refreshing it is to have a day off from all the speculation about Cheryl and Ashley Cole's marriage. For heaven's sake, I've got T-shirts that are older than Cheryl and Ashley, never mind their wedding album.

No, I'm just bored with the various antics, excesses and breakdowns of our tabloid staples and I'm thoroughly looking forward to seeing Alice in Wonderland when it hits the cinemas in a day or two.

If only Tim Burton could work his whimsical magic in real life, too: he could temporarily turn all the WAGs and wannabes into pretty butterflies so 'the lads' can get on with the World Cup in peace.

Tim could transform Katie Price, Peter Andre and Alex Reid into three not-for-profit scientists who'd give up showbiz to look for a cure for tanorexia.

He could turn all the politicians in the country into lobsters, move the Houses of Parliament to the bottom of the ocean and then we wouldn't have to listen to them arguing any more.

Tim could make it so that every time a bomb goes off, there's pink cotton candy instead of shrapnel. He could arrange for all those skinny size-zero models to suddenly pop up to a nice healthy size 14. And the vast majority of fashion designers could be shipped off to work in a steel plant in Siberia; just for a year or two, just to remind them what real life is like. So, anyway, here's to you, Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter (and Johnny Depp): may you continue to be 'weird' and wonderful for many more years to come.


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