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Why should Christine Bleakley get more cash? Because she's worth it

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Christine Bleakley

Christine Bleakley

Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley presenting Daybreak

Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley presenting Daybreak

Christine Bleakley tries on the massive wedding dress  featured in the documentary My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Christine Bleakley tries on the massive wedding dress featured in the documentary My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Christine Bleakley and Frank Lampard attend the National Television Awards 2011 held at Indigo at The O2 Arena on January 26, 2011 in London

Christine Bleakley and Frank Lampard attend the National Television Awards 2011 held at Indigo at The O2 Arena on January 26, 2011 in London

Dave Hogan

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Christine Bleakley

So, papers disclosed for the forthcoming High Court case between Christine Bleakley and her ex-agent John Noel reveal that, despite protestations to the contrary, money was a key factor in her defection from BBC to ITV last year. How's that for a bit of non-news for you?

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of that case, the reaction of some of the media seems to suggest Christine's guilty of an heinous crime.

True, she always denied that money was the key to her decision to jump ship from the The One Show to Daybreak, saying last year: "I can honestly put my hand on my heart and tell you it was nothing to do with money. I come from a very modest background ... I worked a long time without getting paid and money never came into it."

But so what? "Celeb spouts load of old hokem". Stop the presses.

After all do we - the public - not force stars to utter cliches and balderdash? They can do it for "the art", for "the challenge", even because "they fancied a change".

But they can never ever do it for the cash. Hence, noble thespians explain they're making Lethal Intensity 7 because the previous six films didn't explore the full complexity of their character Rock Brockham.

Money's such a vulgar motivation - except, of course, when it comes to our own lives.

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But throw into the mix the fact that Christine is a high-profile woman and it's a whole different level of public distaste.

If it had been a man looking after number one, then he'd be lauded for his savvy, acumen and drive. A man knows his own value; a woman gets ideas above her station. A man is ambitious; a woman is cold, calculating and greedy.

By civilian standards, TV presenters are paid extraordinary money for reading an autocue and being personable. But, truth be told, it's not that common a gift to be able to wing it on live TV.

Besides unlike her male colleagues, the clock is ticking on Christine's years to earn. If there's a chance of more money, more prestige, just more everything, she needs to grab it. Even in his 50s, her co-presenter Chiles could still be on primetime, but Christine has little prospect of that.

Watching someone negotiate the highest possible fee isn't particularly edifying but it hardly calls for this sort of public indignation.

If you'd the chance of earning 10 times what you're earning now, wouldn't you be tempted? Or would you stay 'loyal' to the firm that may give you the heave-ho anyway when your usefulness is up?

Footballers do it, bankers do it, businessmen do it. True, they get criticised, but only in general terms. No one really expects any better and, after fleeting eruptions of bile, things settle down.

Who - barring the odd fanatic - gives a hoot about Wayne Rooney leaving Everton for Manchester United? Who will care in a few weeks' time about Fernando's £50m deal? Who, really, seethed at the very thought of Des Lynam, Morcambe and Wise or Michael Parkinson jumping channels?

Yet, for women like Christine, the bar is set that wee bit higher. Any perceived failure to meet the expected standards of demureness means they're portrayed as a cross between Lady Macbeth and Lola Goldigger.

But, then, we've been round these houses before with Christine - and much of it is because she's from Northern Ireland. Like her accent, that fact just grates with a certain type of English viewer. No matter that she's a genuinely decent, kind and talented woman, she's always attracted a raft of nasty criticism.

Even though he's a goon from West Brom, Chiles's accent has never been savaged like Christine's has.

Even her relationship with rich footballer Frank Lampard - clearly the real deal - was initially dismissed as a Wag-ish plot for publicity to better her career. The reality is that Frank's punching well above his weight - Christine gives him class.

And now that she is earning big money all by herself? She's still scheming, manipulative and greedy.

The moral is, of course, make it with or without a man - you still guilty of something or other.


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