Belfast Telegraph

If Sky's Eamonn Holmes can’t see the funny side, he should lay off those pies

By Julie Burchill

I know that we were meant to don black armbands and fly the flags at half-mast when Dawn French and Lenny Henry went bang, but personally I was pleased.

I've had beef (and how fitting is that word, considering how fat we both are) with her since way back in the day when I refused to be in a 1994 South Bank Show.

This was some sort of celebration of morbid obesity — sorry, a “personal celebration of Big Women, drawing on art, photography, fashion, film and sculpture to ask why Big Women, who were revered and celebrated throughout the history of art, are now ignored by today's culture’’.

Surely, I pointed out, people should feel pride in personal qualities like talent or bravery or generosity or kindness; not in their BMI, be it high or low?

But Dawnie Dearest obviously wasn't used to having people disagree with her, as she reacted to my perfectly reasonable decision by making my humble handle every other name in the credits at the end of the show.

When last year she called for fat jokes to be made as unacceptable as gay gags, the jiggly was well and truly up.

And now Eamonn Holmes is the latest showbiz hunk of love to turn touchy after what appeared to be an easy-going attitude to his size.

Rather than suggest that fat jokes per se should be binned, he has had his lawyers instruct the brilliant impressionist John Culshaw to desist from making a series of what seem to me quite amusing gags about a parallel world in which Mr Holmes causes havoc in the studio by eating everything on set.

As with Dawn French's about-face, I just don't get this sort of sour grapes.

How can a fat person be in on the joke (which they themselves have set up) one minute, and then be stropping about with a face like thunder, issuing lawyers' letters the next?

When I look in the mirror, I see an ambulatory archive of all the fun I've had — all the lush liquid lunches with mates, and all the gorgeous evenings on the sofa with my husband guzzling lots of pizza and ice-cream.

I know I'm going to die anyway, and I know of so many people who have died young after following all the boring rules for an alleged healthy life.

You play the “early death” card? I'll play the “miserable old age” card.

You play the “poverty of aspiration of the junk-stuffing working class” card and I'll play the “poverty of aspiration of Jamie Oliver” card.

Remember, he was the half-witted do-gooder who once boasted that he's never actually finished reading a book.

Sometimes I actually believe that the refusal of the working class to be corralled into healthy eating and sensible lifestyle choices indicates a far deeper intelligence about the actual workings of society than the people who lecture them possess.

The sorry, retrogressive state of social mobility in this country being what it is, it is a total lie funded by public money to the tune of millions of pounds, that eating five portions of fruit and veg a day and walking to school will mean that a working-class kid will have half as good a life as the laziest, porkiest, thickest brat born to an affluent family.

And as for those of us — me, Dawn, Eamonn — who are lucky enough to be rich and greedy, let's pork out with a good grace, eh?

Historically, we lard-buckets have been known for being cheery coves.

If we can't have a laugh, we might as well be mopey old self-slashers and self-starvers.

Belfast Telegraph


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