I was microphoned-up and backstage at ITV studios last week, waiting to go on Lorraine, when the morning TV show host “body shamed” Nigel Farage.
Speaking to Edwina Currie about the former Ukip leader’s first days in the Australian jungle for this year’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, Kelly declared his infamous “nude scene” in the jungle shower “traumatising” before letting out a gasp of astonishment when reminded of Farage’s age. “Is he only 59? I thought he was a hell of a lot older than that. That’s astonishing. Just shows you,” she went on, “you get the face you deserve.”
I stifled a yelp of laughter – the kind of yelp you give when you 100% agree with what someone has just said and are enormously relieved they’ve expressed what so many are thinking. Which is surely, among other things, that clowns like Farage exist to be laughed at, and that anybody who accepts a £1.5 million pay cheque to eat grubs on national TV has done so with the understanding that all dignity will be sacrificed.
Also, to be clear: as a whip-smart veteran journalist who is able to move seamlessly between morning TV and fronting powerful documentaries like the recent Return to Lockerbie, Kelly should be allowed both to joke and give her opinion on her own show. I don’t want to tune into some AI bot as I eat my breakfast.
Farage’s social media team don’t agree, however. Indeed, they’ve now called for the presenter to apologise for her remarks, which may have offended Nigel’s delicate sensibilities. “Has @lorraine apologised for body shaming Nigel Farage yet?” they tweeted on Friday. “Imagine if he made those comments about her on live TV... The media would cancel him!”
Would they though? This is the man who, back in 2019, told a 500-strong crowd at a Brexit party rally in Newport that “once Brexit is done, we will take the knife” to “overpaid pen-pushers in Whitehall”. A man who has “body shamed” Jon Bercow – “that ghastly little man” – Xavier Bettel – “that perfectly vile little pipsqueak of a prime minister in Luxembourg” – accused the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox of having links with extremist organisations (just months after her tragic death) and has habitually tried to vilify and abuse his opponents into silence. So I think he can probably take a bit of bottom – sorry – “body” shaming on live TV. Especially given he chose to make himself the butt of a national joke by appearing on the show.
Meanwhile, we’re all still waiting for an apology for being confronted with his naked posterior. Images like those can never be unseen, and will be seared on the British public’s consciousness for years to come.