Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Women Love Their Car-Crash Sisters

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Women Love Their Car-Crash Sisters

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM GUTTERIDGE

A SYMPOSIUM on train-wreck female celebrities is due to take place at the University of East Anglia this week.

Academics from all over the world will consider such learned papers as Britney's tears: the abject female celebrity in post-emotional society; From queen of the jungle to tabloid folk devil: Kerry Katona as white trash mother; and Lindsay Lohan and the culture of celebrity notoriety.

Britain is fascinated by selfdestructive female celebrities. But then we do seem to have more than our fair share of them. Naomi Campbell's sentence of 200 hours of community service is probably less than she deserves.

I just hope none of those hours are spent in my community. The woman is, quite clearly, a nightmare. But why is it that women seem to be more prone to spontaneous selfcombustion than men?

For years I produced Russell Harty's chat shows on the BBC. As a result I came across quite a few celebrities, eight a week to be precise. We met out of mutual need: I wanted the biggest names for my shows, and they wanted to plug books and movies.

Over hundreds of episodes, two women stood out. One was Shirley MacLaine. She was the ultimate Hollywood star, surrounded by lackeys and publicists. She was also one of the most unpleasant women I have ever met.

When she stalked off into the London night - I believe her driver had turned up at the front of the studio rather than the stage door - we were glad to see the back of her.

Then there was Diana Dors. Her life was chaotic, her career in a tailspin, yet the audience adored her and so did we. She would have won I'm a Celebrity hands down.

One day she rang me at home: "Tom darling, it's Diana. You've got to come and see my new addition." I duly went round to her house in Sunningdale and there she revealed an indoor swimming pool with chandeliers, Grecian pillars and black marble panthers guarding the shallow end; it was the most outrageous lido I'd ever seen. …

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