Thursday 21 September 2017

Grumbles in the jungle are a real feast

Watching Gillian McKeith squirm into a meltdown on 'I'm a Celebrity' is sweet revenge for her victims, writes Andrea Smith

WITH her Oscar-winning histrionics and cowardly task-shirking antics, it would be safe to assume that fatties like me all over the country are finding Gillian McKeith's meltdown on I'm a Celebrity, Get Out of Here to be more deliciously enjoyable than a moist chocolate brownie with hot fudge sauce.

Away from the jungle, this wizened little shrew, 51, is normally observed in her natural habitat -- the TV programme, You Are What You Eat -- where she specialises in humiliating her victims by telling them how reprehensible and disgusting they are, simply because they are overweight and don't relish the prospect of bean tofu bake for tea.

On behalf of chubsters everywhere who shrink in horror -- if not in size -- every time she heaps disgrace on one of our brethren, it was astoundingly enjoyable to see this vile, cowardly woman acting as mad as a bag of frogs on national TV.

McKeith lectures, hectors, scorns and berates the unfortunate people who are "volunteered" by concerned family and friends for her diet programme before donning a face mask to examine a sample of their poo. She then proffers the offending specimen to the camera, sneering at everything from its consistency to its odour, which, of course, is always denounced as being rank. Because as we all know, the rest of you skinny minnies only produce offerings that are vanilla and camomile-scented!

Back at the jungle, I have greatly enjoyed watching McKeith dramatically "faint" three times so far, usually conveniently when the cameras are on her and the presenters are standing beside her.

That she throws an arm out for support as she goes down -- as you do when you've just blacked out unconscious -- only adds to the gaiety of the occasion.

The reason for this bout of theatrical swooning is because she keeps being chosen to do the bush-tucker trials by the the British public, who love to make the same people suffer these challenges every year. Last year their chosen target was Katie Price, but she actually won many people over by embracing the tasks and tucking into the kangaroo testicles without complaint. That is, until she got the hump and walked off the show altogether!

Ms McKeith, however, is another kettle of witchetty grubs altogether as she apparently has a whole array of phobias about insects, water, and anything that moves -- a revelation that prompted her exasperated campmate Britt Ekland to declare that "Gillian is a better actress than me!"

On her TV show, McKeith lays a week's worth of her red-faced victim's food intake on a table, while pointing out how disgusting it all is. Meanwhile, the sneery voice-over man runs through the list while injecting as many gluttony-related phrases as possible into the mix. Hence, the unfortunate person will be denounced as having "gorged" themselves on a Chinese takeaway, while "swilling" the whole lot down with six pints of beer, etc.

On camp last week, the spineless one's shrieking refusals to complete or even begin tasks has meant that the rest of the camp has been left starving and existing on basic rations. What they have received to eat so far would barely fill a section of one of her tables of shame which must be a great consolation to the tubby TV presenter Alison Hammond, the type of person that Gillian would normally jump at the chance of scorning and berating.

The presenter of yet another charming TV series, Three Fat Brides, One Thin Dress, also broke the rules by smuggling contraband seasonings and condiments in specially sewn-in pockets in her knickers. This, I'm quite sure, guaranteed that none of her companions were overly keen on enhancing their rations of rice and beans with her, ahem, special flavours.

It's not the first time that McKeith has been embroiled in controversy in relation to bending the rules to suit herself. In 2007, she agreed to stop using the title of 'doctor', following complaints that she was not a medical doctor and her PhD was from a college not accredited by any recognised educational authority.

As a fatty myself, I really feel that it's high time we stopped taking crap from deranged do-gooders like McKeith. I am neither proud nor ashamed of the fact that I am fat because as Rizzo once sang in Grease, 'there are worse things I could do'. I have always believed that if we concentrated on what's going on in our heads rather than what we looked like, we'd all be much happier.

Of course, I would choose to be slim if the opportunity presented itself, and of course there are times when my size is difficult and embarrassing. One such occasion was when an inebriated leading Irish nutritionist roared across the green room of The Late Late Show about how fat I was, and how she could "fix" me.

I am quite happy to talk openly on the subject. God knows, we have few enough champions. But what usually happens is that some radio show will invite me along to present my perspective on air and I arrive hoping that we will have a meaningful discussion. However, as soon as I arrive -- as happened over the summer on Kathryn Thomas's show when she was filling in for Ryan Tubridy -- I find a woman from Weightwatchers on one side of me and a doctor talking about the effects of obesity on health care on the other. In other words, I become almost immediately responsible for bringing down the entire health care system.

This despite the fact that I am healthier than anyone I know, and am so rarely ill that I haven't needed to see a doctor in eight years. Well apart from the bizarre case of the sewing needle found inexplicably embedded in the back of my knee last month, but I digress.

It's a hard battle to win, though, because so many people are fixated on various aspects of their appearance that they can never really understand how I view it. They think I'm in denial, which I'm not -- I just simply believe that it would be a travesty to waste a second of my precious and too-short life longing to be thinner. I'm just happy in general, and am grateful for the lovely life I have. I refuse to squander it by agonising over my double chin or flabby stomach.

Just look at how McKeith has proven herself to be riddled with an astonishing array of fears and insecurities and issues on screen, and you will see that a healthy body does not always equal a healthy mind.

She may pass the perfect bowel movement every morning, but I'd hazard a guess that her mental state isn't in quite such a pristine condition as her digestive one.

Sunday Independent

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