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BGT: Amanda Holden comes under fire from viewers as she sizzles in ANOTHER complaint-garnering gown

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bgt amanda holden comes under fire from viewers as she sizzles in another complaint garnering gown

Britain’s Got Talent fans were left in shock after Amanda Holden stepped out in another daring ensemble during Saturday’s show.  

The TV judge, 49, ensured all eyes were on her once again as she taped the fifth semi-final in a head-turning gown with a daring sheer black lace bustier. 

Amanda’s racy gown on last week’s show sparked 235 Ofcom complaints and led viewers to question whether she had suffered a wardrobe malfunction.  

'Not again Amanda Holden!' Britain's Got Talent judge came under fire from viewers with ANOTHER Ofcom complaint-garnering lingerie gown for semi final on Saturday

‘Not again Amanda Holden!’ Britain’s Got Talent judge came under fire from viewers with ANOTHER Ofcom complaint-garnering lingerie gown for semi final on Saturday

The garment on this week’s show featured a perilously high leg split that showcased Amanda’s sensational figure while it also came with a burgundy velvet sleeve.

The dress had a sweetheart neckline while Amanda added height to her frame with a pair of black, open-toed heels.

Wearing a light pallet of makeup, the former Wild At Heart actress looked sensational as she let her blonde locks fall loose down her shoulders for the event. 

Putting the recent controversy over her sartorial choices behind her, Amanda was all smiles as she took to the stage and waved to the crowd ahead of the show.

Outfit: The TV judge ensured all eyes were on her once again as she taped the fifth semi-final in a head-turning gown with a daring sheer black lace bustier

Outfit: The TV judge ensured all eyes were on her once again as she taped the fifth semi-final in a head-turning gown with a daring sheer black lace bustier

Shocked by Amanda’s outfit of choice for the show, some viewers took to Twitter to complain about how inappropriate they thought it was.

One fan said: ‘When has it become acceptable to show your underwear on a family show Amanda Holden?’

While another complained: ‘Does anyone else think a large portion of Amanda’s dress has gone missing..? Don’t they realise kids watch this show.’ 

Another fan quipped: ‘Amanda Holden still thinking she’s a teenager.’ 

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Complaints: Shocked by Amanda's outfit of choice for the show, some viewers took to Twitter to complain about how inappropriate they thought it was

Complaints: Shocked by Amanda’s outfit of choice for the show, some viewers took to Twitter to complain about how inappropriate they thought it was

While Amanda opted for a daring look for the main show, she wore a more demure outfit as she performed on stage in scenes set to air on Saturday. 

The judge looked sensational as she posed in a chic white turtleneck gown that had long sleeves and a billowing skirt. 

Amanda is set to give a stunning performance of Sweeney Todd’s Not While I’m Around from her new album Songs From My Heart, which has already sold out on Amazon following its release on Friday. 

The singer’s ensemble featured pointed shoulders and fit snugly on her frame up until the waist, where the ivory skirt then fell in a fishtail design.  

On Friday, Amanda laughed off the drama about last week’s dress as she spoke exclusively to MailOnline, and joked her breasts need their ‘own representation’.

Elegant: While Amanda opted for a daring look for the main show, she wore a more demure outfit as she performed on stage in scenes set to air on Saturday's show

Elegant: While Amanda opted for a daring look for the main show, she wore a more demure outfit as she performed on stage in scenes set to air on Saturday’s show 

Teasing her outfit for Saturday’s show, the talented star quipped: ‘I’m wearing a dress that goes down to the end of my arms and up to the top of my neck!’

Amanda added that she wants the attention to be on her performance and jokingly added: ‘Not on my breasts!’

Although the star cheekily teased: ‘Although you very clearly see them as obviously it’s a tight-fitting dress!’

Discussing the recent furore over her outfit on last Saturday’s show and the 235 Ofcom complaints it has received, Amanda said she has used her ‘sense of humour’ to deal with the backlash.

Following Saturday’s show, some fans claimed on Twitter that Amanda had suffered a nip slip in the look and she took to Instagram at the time to shut down speculation. 

Beauty: The judge looked sensational as she posed in a chic white turtleneck gown that had long sleeves and a billowing skirt

Beauty: The judge looked sensational as she posed in a chic white turtleneck gown that had long sleeves and a billowing skirt

In her typically tongue-in-cheek humour, the singer joked to MailOnline that she was more insulted that people thought she had ‘huge saucepan nipples’.

The star explained that she has her own ‘committee’ of people that come down to check on her outfits before a show and she said that her racy gown had passed. 

Although being mindful of viewers’ opinions, Amanda admitted that she ‘can see what people think’.

Amanda had worn a plunging navy gown with a daring thigh-high slit which had a built in underwire on the bust.

The Heart radio presenter said: ‘I can see what people think, it had a like an underwire, you know when you have an underwire bikini or bra, the end of it it’s like an upside down U isn’t it. The end of it dug in. 

Humour: Discussing the backlash to her recent gown and 235 Ofcom complaints in a new exclusive interview with MailOnline, Amanda laughed off the drama and joked her breasts need their 'own representation' (pictured on Saturday in the dress)

Humour: Discussing the backlash to her recent gown and 235 Ofcom complaints in a new exclusive interview with MailOnline, Amanda laughed off the drama and joked her breasts need their ‘own representation’ (pictured on Saturday in the dress)

‘I was more insulted that people thought I had either huge saucepan nipples or nipples over my cleavage.’

Joking about how much attention her breasts and racy ensembles get, Amanda quipped that they need their own representation and will be going on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.

She said: ‘I am seriously thinking my girls need separate representation to me, because they are known on their own. They don’t need me, they’re going to go off and do Piers Morgan’s Life Stories on their own next year!

‘They’re going to do their own album, they’re bringing out their own autobiography – The Truth Behind The Bra!’

Racy? Amanda had worn a plunging navy gown with a daring thigh-high which had a built in underwire on the bust which sparked complaints from some viewers

Racy? Amanda had worn a plunging navy gown with a daring thigh-high which had a built in underwire on the bust which sparked complaints from some viewers

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Why I’m going topless on TV: Despite two metal hips and a mastectomy Jennie Murray bares all

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why im going topless on tv despite two metal hips and a mastectomy jennie murray bares all

This week I found myself in a strangely assorted group of six well-known women, talking about how we plan to bare our breasts on national television.

We will do so while performing a striptease routine — on ice, no less. Gathered together for filming in a dance studio in Leicestershire were: me, a feminist who has long campaigned against women going topless in lads’ mags and on Page 3; Linda Lusardi, now an actor, formerly voted the best ever Page 3 girl; the singer, author and presenter Coleen Nolan; Hayley Tamaddon of Emmerdale; Dr Zoe Williams, the GP on This Morning; and Shaughna Phillips, best known for appearing on reality show Love Island.

What on earth has possessed us? Well, we’ve all signed up to an ITV series called The Real Full Monty On Ice. It is inspired by the original Full Monty film in which a group of unemployed men in Sheffield do a Chippendales act to earn some money.

Jenni Murray, pictured, is set to join six other famous faces who will be baring all on ITV's The Real Full Monty on Ice but reveals she was initially sceptical

Jenni Murray, pictured, is set to join six other famous faces who will be baring all on ITV’s The Real Full Monty on Ice but reveals she was initially sceptical

The TV version has the noble aim of promoting the importance of examining yourself for signs of breast cancer. It is a subject dear to my own heart, and to each of the others. Coleen lost her sister, Bernie, to the wretched disease and her siblings, Anne and Linda, are both dealing with advanced cancers.

Still, for all of us — even Linda Lusardi, who has done it lots of times before — the thought of baring our breasts makes us worried.

(You might, by the way, expect Linda and me to butt heads, given our very different views. In fact, we got on like a house on fire and she even told me she has come round to my way of thinking about lads’ mags. Win!)

Over and over I heard Coleen, who is leading a team of women in the series for the third time, saying how much she dreads that moment at the end of the show when she has to ‘get them out!’.

I know exactly how she feels.

You might also wonder how I was persuaded to sign up, given my well-known views on the exploitation of women.

It started when my agent, rather embarrassed, asked if I would be interested in taking part about a month ago.

Did I, in other words, want to bare my breasts (well, I’ve just the one, actually) to a huge live audience, together with millions more who would watch it all on telly over the Christmas period?

My initial reaction was perhaps predictable. No way! Not a chance! How dare she?

Joining her in the strip tease are actress Linda Lusardi, (pictured together) singer, author and presenter Coleen Nolan; Hayley Tamaddon of Emmerdale; Dr Zoe Williams, the GP on This Morning; and Shaughna Phillips, best known for appearing on reality show Love Island

Joining her in the strip tease are actress Linda Lusardi, (pictured together) singer, author and presenter Coleen Nolan; Hayley Tamaddon of Emmerdale; Dr Zoe Williams, the GP on This Morning; and Shaughna Phillips, best known for appearing on reality show Love Island

How, I demanded, could she assume I’d fall into such a clear patriarchal trap? I’ve always held there’s nothing empowering about women baring their bodies. Why did she assume I would abandon my principles?

But the truth is there was another reason for my protestations. Like so many women, I’ve never been truly comfortable in my own body.

Living as a teenager through the Twiggy era, I wanted so much to look like her but had the words of my slender mother ringing in my ears: ‘What a pity you inherited Dad’s bone structure rather than mine.’

I wasn’t fat in those days but I was a big girl. My legs were once described as ‘gladiatorial’. Not the best shape for a miniskirt.

My battles with my weight throughout the rest of my life are well known — I even wrote a book about it called Fat Cow, Fat Chance. Yes, I’ve been called a fat cow in the street on numerous occasions, and that was fully dressed.

So I have never dreamt of displaying the undressed evidence to anyone but my nearest and dearest, and even then I could never feel any pride in the way I looked.

I have spent half my adult life on some sort of diet — Atkins, Dukan, WeightWatchers, 5:2 —and, in the way these things tend to go for so many of us, I’ve lost a bit, relaxed a bit and put it all back on and more.

She reveals at first she protested greatly to being asked to join the show due to her views on the exploitation of women but admits another part of her was uncomfortable revealing her body to the world. Pictured, The Real Full Monty cast of 2018,left to right, backrow. Victoria Derbyshire, Sally Dexter,Ruth Madoc, Sarah-Jane Crawford and Megan McKenna and left to right front row Colleen Nolan, Michelle Heaton and Helen Ledere

She reveals at first she protested greatly to being asked to join the show due to her views on the exploitation of women but admits another part of her was uncomfortable revealing her body to the world. Pictured, The Real Full Monty cast of 2018,left to right, backrow. Victoria Derbyshire, Sally Dexter,Ruth Madoc, Sarah-Jane Crawford and Megan McKenna and left to right front row Colleen Nolan, Michelle Heaton and Helen Ledere

I finally succumbed to surgery in 2015 when I reached 24 stone, and lost 11 of them, but I did it strictly to improve my health and my mobility.

I didn’t expect to get that Twiggy look and, of course, I still have saggy arms and won’t be planning any further surgery to tighten the skin on my tummy or bingo wings. I still loathe the changing rooms at the swimming pool or the clothes shop, just as I hated being naked in the showers at school.

If it weren’t for a physiotherapist’s advice that swimming is good for my replaced hips, I doubt I’d even try to swim. I still don’t like the look of myself in a cossie and genuinely have no desire to flaunt my mutilated breast.

And yet in the days after my emphatic, principled refusal to do The Real Full Monty, I began to feel guilty.

Hadn’t I always spoken openly about my own mastectomy after breast cancer, and done my best on Woman’s Hour to encourage women to check for symptoms and do something about them quickly?

Was I not a patron of the charity Breast Cancer Now, and had I not insisted, in a book I wrote a good 20 years ago called The Woman’s Hour, that we included a photograph of a woman, naked from the waist up, who’d had a radical mastectomy and no reconstruction?

The publishers were reluctant. It was a pretty radical act in the days when it was considered unacceptable to so much as say the word ‘breast’ in polite company.

The TV version has the noble aim of promoting the importance of examining yourself for signs of breast cancer - something Jenni (pictured) dealt with first hand, and even had a mastectomy

The TV version has the noble aim of promoting the importance of examining yourself for signs of breast cancer – something Jenni (pictured) dealt with first hand, and even had a mastectomy

If it had been important to show women then that being flat on one side was nothing to fear or be ashamed of, why, now, was I too scared to put my money where my mouth is?

Sadly, I have become convinced that the pressure on women’s looks is greater now than ever. The perfect body is a rare and beautiful thing but generally unattainable unless you are born that way. Yet we seem determined to ignore that simple fact.

I worry a lot about the impact the internet is having on young women, who suffer more pressure than I have ever endured to get the right look.

Globally, the number of cosmetic surgery procedures has increased from 14 million to 23 million annually since 2010. Men make up 14 per cent of patients and women the rest.

It’s a costly business so, as was reported on Channel 4 News this week, a significant number are seeking cheaper deals abroad.

One young woman had had her nose and other parts of her face done but wanted more to become an effective Instagram influencer. The results were disastrous. She showed an enormous bleeding hole in her left breast and said her nipple had ‘just fallen off’.

Jenni (pictured after losing her hair due to chemotherapy) claims there is no better way to show young girls what real women's bodies look like than by stripping off on TV

Jenni (pictured after losing her hair due to chemotherapy) claims there is no better way to show young girls what real women’s bodies look like than by stripping off on TV

I wanted to weep for her — and beg her and others like her to learn to live comfortably with what they had been given. Surgery is all very well for your health, in my case for cancer and dangerous obesity, but please, not just for vanity.

What better way to show young girls what real women’s bodies look like than by stripping off on TV?

It was also, I told myself, a chance to put more pressure on the NHS to reverse its ageist new policy, introduced in the wake of Covid-19, of denying women aged over 70 routine mammograms for the foreseeable future for their own ‘protection’. A policy, of course, which leaves many at risk of breast cancer going undetected. And so — with great trepidation — I said I would do the show.

She says she spent half of her adult life on some sort of diet and eventually had surgery in 2015 to help her lose weight

She says she spent half of her adult life on some sort of diet and eventually had surgery in 2015 to help her lose weight

That’s when they dropped the next big shock: that it was to be an ice spectacular, filmed in Blackpool.

Strong words were communicated to the producers at this stage. I haven’t donned a pair of ice skates since my kids were small. Skating was out of the question. I had even been worried about a dance routine, what with my two metal hips and the left arm that hasn’t risen above my shoulder since I broke my humerus six years ago.

I was promised that the choreographer, Ashley Banjo of Diversity fame, would find a way of including me without risking more breaks in my old bones. And the filming would be, as they say, ‘in the best possible taste’.

I was somewhat reassured, made a commitment — and have barely had an anxiety-free day since then.

I first met my co-stars at a freezing cold ice rink in Bayswater, West London (no thermals). Given the subject matter, our first meeting could have been miserable. Far from it. We were soon gossiping away. No skates were required, either, thank goodness, which I intend will remain the case for me. I’ve suggested being brought on in a sledge! Queen of the ice!

Instead, we put non-slip attachments on to our shoes, stepped nervously on to the ice and found what I can only describe as large plastic doughnuts with which we were to play human curling. I got to sit inside one while Zoe and Linda pushed me across the ice.

We laughed a lot and, yes, despite our differences we bonded.

Giggling and gossiping are often derided in women as frivolous occupations. They’re not. It’s how we manage to connect and trust each other in a way men rarely achieve with such ease.

The next training session took place at a cabaret club where we learned burlesque with a delightful dance teacher and three of her pupils.

As result of the surgery in 2015, when she weighed 24 stone, she was able to lose 11 stone but says she only did it to improve her health and her mobility. Pictured, Jenni with her DBE in 2011

As result of the surgery in 2015, when she weighed 24 stone, she was able to lose 11 stone but says she only did it to improve her health and her mobility. Pictured, Jenni with her DBE in 2011

They’d all had mastectomies, showed them to us quite without fear or embarrassment, and gave us lessons in how to be confident about our bodies. It must have worked to some degree because there is now film of me tottering down a staircase, flirtatiously, covered with a huge red feather fan.

Watch this space. Will the fan come off?

The choice, I’m assured, is mine — but I hope, as the oldest and least mobile of the group, I won’t be the one to bottle out.

I’ll hate it but I shall do my best to be confident about it.

Still, I intend to insist that the costume I have to wear has sleeves to hide my arms and doesn’t show my middle, whatever else it reveals. Not all that confident then!

The performance promises to be a spectacle but not a salacious strip show.

I only hope that, after all this work, the breast cancer message will be heard loud and clear and that, by the time the show airs near Christmas, the NHS will have sorted out the mammogram and treatment question so that they are available for any woman who needs them, of whatever age.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Queen of the bonkbuster JILLY COOPER confesses ‘I feel so sorry for men today, even Dominic West’

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queen of the bonkbuster jilly cooper confesses i feel so sorry for men today even dominic west

Old age? It frees us to be flirtatious, fun, outrageous, insists novelist Jilly Cooper. She even has a word for the special sort of liberties the passing years confer on the elderly. Larks. Enjoyable silliness.

The queen of the bonkbuster, now 83, has, it seems, become even more gloriously unrestrained and politically incorrect as she frolics through her ninth decade, propelled by a conviction that — bereft of the compulsion to be sexual — you can fall in love with both men and women.

‘Oh, the Tesco man came yesterday and we had a lovely chat,’ she rhapsodises in her thrillingly rich contralto. ‘I’m so used to patting [my greyhound] Bluebell and telling her I love her, I find myself stroking delivery men and telling them how gorgeous they are, too.

Author Jilly Cooper (pictured) shared her un-PC confession that she feels sorry for men at the moment and believes 'people are so horrible to men'

Author Jilly Cooper (pictured) shared her un-PC confession that she feels sorry for men at the moment and believes ‘people are so horrible to men’

‘And the postman is very, very handsome and so sweet, but I worry terribly about his legs in those shorts. Isn’t he cold?

‘Everyone has a tattoo these days, don’t they?’ she continues. Her words gush out in a flood, a stream-of-consciousness effusion that rushes off in different directions.

‘The man who came to sort out the moss had a tattoo. Would I have one? No! I don’t like pain. But he said to me: “It’s worth the pain. They’re beautiful.”

‘Flirtation is wonderful, isn’t it? It’s neither sexual nor asexual. I have lots of friends, male and female. Friendship is incredibly important. I sent 30 — maybe 40 — Valentines this year to my very favourite men and women just saying: “Hello and I love you.” People get quite sulky if they don’t arrive on time.

‘I fell in love last week with Lady Glenconner. Oh she’s gorgeous! We talked for about two hours and I just thought “Ooh!” She’s hysterical. Her book is so interesting.’

Anne Glenconner, 88, was lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret and her extraordinary memoir was a sensation last year. Having interviewed them both — Jilly several times — and enjoyed their gossipy indiscretions, I can easily see why they would get on so famously.

The 83 year old admitted she still sends 40 Valentine's Day cards out ever year and she still flirts with the postman when he comes to her door. Pictured: Jilly Cooper enjoying a drink

The 83 year old admitted she still sends 40 Valentine’s Day cards out ever year and she still flirts with the postman when he comes to her door. Pictured: Jilly Cooper enjoying a drink

‘Lady Glenconner is lovely, lovely. She’s so tolerant and just fun — such a lark. And do you know her book has been translated into Russian? Imagine Putin reading it!’

Jilly is, of course, most celebrated for her fictional Rutshire Chronicles, which have sold in their millions. Set in a bucolic England — not unlike the lush Gloucestershire valley in which she lives — where everyone, it seems, is in a permanent state of arousal, they are liberally spiced with her trademark puns, as well as allusions to Shakespeare and the classics.

Jilly is best known for her funny and often racy novels. Pictured, Jilly while signing copies of her book Appassionate in 1996

Jilly is best known for her funny and often racy novels. Pictured, Jilly while signing copies of her book Appassionata in 1996

They are also funny, racy and underpinned by a deeply held moral belief that caddishness and bad behaviour do not prevail in the end.

But before the prodigious success of the first of the series — Riders — published in 1985, she was a journalist writing columns for a Sunday paper. They charted her chaotic life as working wife to a publisher of military books, Leo, and mother of two.

A collection of them are being released as an anthology, Between The Covers, later this month. She acknowledges that times have changed since she was a subservient newlywed, racing round doing the washing, cleaning and cooking before readying herself for nights of unbridled sex. Why, there were even suggestions of orgies!

‘Oh it was the 1960s, we had fun,’ is all she says on the matter, although she has admitted keeping diaries since the early 1970s which she hopes her children will burn because they are ‘pretty racy’.

‘I say to my children, “You know darlings, I don’t want to embarrass you, and I think they ought to be burnt,” she added.

But she’s clearly not losing sleep over her colourful past. ‘What fascinates me is how obsessed I was with sex and boozing,’ she tells me merrily. ‘At 38 I was thinking about how much longer I’d be able to attract men. I was worrying about it at 28!’

The mother of two touches upon her marriage to Leo, who she adopted two children with - Felix, now 52, and Emily, 49. Pictured, Jilly and Leo together at their home in 1991

The mother of two touches upon her marriage to Leo, who she adopted two children with – Felix, now 52, and Emily, 49. Pictured, Jilly and Leo together at their home in 1991

She quite deliberately resists getting too serious about issues of ageing, preferring a stiff upper lip and a stiff drink.

Anyway, she adds: ‘At my age one wants people to like you. If you’re fun and have a history, people are quite fascinated. And young men probably enjoy having a chat to a granny like me because they’re a bit frightened of younger women.’

Recently she went further, commenting that married men are having gay affairs because they’re ‘terrified’ of women.

She has never subscribed to the tenets of feminism and counters the #MeToo movement with her own no-nonsense prescription for repelling unwanted advances.

‘If a man wants to jump on you and you don’t want him to, just say “No” and walk out,’ she says crisply.

‘People are so horrible to men at the moment. They can’t put a foot right. They can’t wolf whistle or flirt. If you put your arm round someone 60 years ago, you’re suddenly sued for rape. It seems a shame.’

She is resolutely on the side of the beleaguered male: ‘Men have to get it up, but women can fake orgasms. The onus is on men [to perform in bed] and every other advert on TV these days is about erectile dysfunction.

Jilly said she fears embarrassing her children with her latest book and opened up about her colourful past and her obsession with 'sex and boozing' when she was younger. Pictured with Leo in 2001

Jilly said she fears embarrassing her children with her latest book and opened up about her colourful past and her obsession with ‘sex and boozing’ when she was younger. Pictured with Leo in 2001

‘Can you imagine taking too much Viagra? You’d be up forever like Salisbury Cathedral.’ (She hoots with laughter, and a pun occurs to her: ‘If someone has a leaky roof have they got tile dysfunction?’)

She is even indulgent of married actor Dominic West, 51, seen last week canoodling in Rome with co-star Lily James, 31, in a break from filming the Nancy Mitford novel The Pursuit Of Love. ‘Don’t you think he just got carried away?’ she asks. ‘His wife looks heavenly. You can’t really tell from the outside, but I’m sure they’ll be all right.’

Jilly’s own 52-year marriage to her adored Leo endured until his death in 2013 from Parkinson’s disease. Together they enjoyed and endured much — infidelity, infertility and the adoption of their two much-loved children Felix, now 52, and Emily, 49, after an ectopic pregnancy — but their shared commitment was inviolable.

The novelist also has controversial opinions about the #MeToo movement, claiming women should 'just say "no" and walk away'

The novelist also has controversial opinions about the #MeToo movement, claiming women should ‘just say “no” and walk away’

She wrote, in those confessional columns from the early years of her marriage, about her jealousy of Leo’s first wife — a siren in leather with black painted nails — and catalogued Leo’s undisguised yearning for sex with his ex.

I comment that Leo seemed emotionally cruel and she leaps to his defence: ‘He was never deliberately unkind. He was the love of my life; an absolutely marvellous husband.

‘Leo was terribly funny. He was once asked what I wore in bed and he said: “Dogs mostly. If you reach out for something furry, you get bitten.”’ She has a habit of deflecting painful memories with conversational sallies that end in torrents of giggles.

Perhaps it is another prerogative of old age to invest the past, whatever its vicissitudes, with a rosy glow. She swiftly quashes, too, the idea that she had an affair — hinted at in her articles — because she was insanely jealous of the former Mrs Cooper. ‘Oh it was just a terrific crush,’ she cries. ‘He was my boss; an incredibly glamorous man. It wasn’t an affair. But Leo was distraught about it and it made me realise how much he loved me.’

Age has freed her from the insecurities of her married years. She concedes now: ‘Leo’s first wife was absolutely gorgeous. Incredibly sexy,’ before adding, ‘She’s a friend of mine now. I love her.’

I wonder whether it is also a relief that the advancing years allow celibacy to go unchallenged, but she demurs.

Jilly and Leo were married for 52 years, which by the end saw Leo battling Parkinson's disease until his death in 2013. Pictured: Leo and Jilly and their son Felix and his wife Edwina in 2001

Jilly and Leo were married for 52 years, which by the end saw Leo battling Parkinson’s disease until his death in 2013. Pictured: Leo and Jilly and their son Felix and his wife Edwina in 2001

‘I didn’t go off sex. It’s just been such a long time I’ve forgotten how to do it. And a lot of men seem to keep jumping on women whatever their age,’ she says. ‘They used to be called dirty old men but we’re not allowed to call them that now.

‘I have girlfriends, too, who have splendid sex lives into their 80s, so I don’t want to be categorical about this.’

I ask if she’s had a lover since Leo’s death. She bats away the question with good humour but without a denial. ‘That is impertinent!’ she cries.

Jilly’s home of almost 40 years is an ancient chantry, reached through winding country lanes bright with autumnal vegetation.

On the heavy oak front door a notice proclaims: ‘Dogs welcome. People tolerated.’ Dozens of pairs of gumboots are lined up as if she is expecting a battalion of inadequately-shod visitors for an impromptu country ramble.

Guests are welcomed effusively, although she confesses: ‘If, like me, you’re allergic to droppers-in the lockdown has been a blessing. It’s been a great relief to be left alone to write.’

Speaking to FEMAIL, Jilly revealed the jealousy she felt about her husband's first wife, described as a 'siren in leather with black painted nails', and the fact Leo used to yearn for sex with his ex. Pictured, Jilly and Leo in 1990

Speaking to FEMAIL, Jilly revealed the jealousy she felt about her husband’s first wife, described as a ‘siren in leather with black painted nails’, and the fact Leo used to yearn for sex with his ex. Pictured, Jilly and Leo in 1990

Resolutely un-techy, she does so on an ancient typewriter called Monica. Her next novel is about the world of football and she has researched assiduously — of course she has! — by inviting lots of hunky young footballers from her local team, Forest Green Rovers, round for drinks and parties. (Pre-Covid, of course.)

‘One gorgeous footballer — Aarran Racine — sent me a book, Football For Dummies. The next day he rang up, distraught. He said: “I didn’t mean you were a dummy.” Young men are lovely to talk to!’ she adds, thrilled.

We segue into the vexed issue of what is appropriate in terms of dress when you’re an octogenarian national treasure hosting a party for footballers and WAGs. She is far less prescriptive than she was half a century ago when she fretted about the age at which it would be proper to cut her long hair.

Today her signature mane is still luxuriant but now snow white; her milky skin remarkably unlined and her penchant for leopard-print and sequins unabated.

‘Now I’m too wrinkled to show a cleavage,’ she laments, ‘but when I was younger my son Felix used to say: “Do up your dress, mum. Everyone will be able to see your tits.”

She reconsiders. ‘In certain lights I may show off a little bit of it. But short skirts? No! Besides, your ankles swell up when you get older.’ Her weight has been a constant preoccupation, although she’s slender as a willow wand and sits ramrod straight.

Jilly’s home of almost 40 years is an ancient chantry and on the heavy oak front door a notice proclaims: ‘Dogs welcome. People tolerated.’. Pictured: Jilly at her home in Gloucestershire with several dogs, date unknown

Jilly’s home of almost 40 years is an ancient chantry and on the heavy oak front door a notice proclaims: ‘Dogs welcome. People tolerated.’. Pictured: Jilly at her home in Gloucestershire with several dogs, date unknown

Every inch of space in her home is occupied with the memorabilia of a life richly lived. The walls are crammed with paintings and photos, and on the vast acreage of bookshelves, sandwiched between Homer’s Odyssey and a tome by Greek tragedian Aeschylus, is EL James’s Fifty Shades Of Grey.

And is it any good? ‘No!’ she cries, before back-tracking: ‘I don’t want to attack anyone. They’re wonderful books because they keep my publishers going and they deserve all the help they can get.

‘But last night I watched the film — with one of the lovely ladies who stays with me — and I didn’t think it was very erotic. I thought, “Poor girl! She must be sore from all that whacking.”’

These days, aside from her ‘wonderfully kind’ PA, Amanda, Jilly has two women companions who stay overnight with her. ‘I’m so lucky!’ she says. ‘Felix lives a cricket ball’s throw away and Emily is 20 miles away.’ She has grandchildren, too, and is magnificently vague about their ages. ‘Oh, they’re quite old now,’ she breezes. ‘Acer is — wait a minute — nine. Or is he 12? I’m bad at sums. Lysander is 14. Jago 1….’ Naturally they are ‘lovely and gorgeous and we giggle a lot.’

But she has always been a resolutely ‘hands-off’ granny, deploring the trend for harassed parents to deposit their children on ‘exhausted’ grandparents.

‘I’ve got a dear friend who says: “I wish my sons were gay. Can you imagine? I’d have lovely men bringing me flowers and chocolates. Instead all I get is a very bossy daughter-in-law dumping the grandchildren on me for weeks on end.”

‘A couple of days is lovely, but grannies get terribly tired,’ she says. ‘Emily and Felix never did it. They knew I’d lose them. It’s a good deterrent.’ She chuckles.

These days, aside from her ‘wonderfully kind’ PA, Amanda, Jilly has two women companions who stay overnight with her. Pictured, Leo and Killy at a polo match, date unknown

These days, aside from her ‘wonderfully kind’ PA, Amanda, Jilly has two women companions who stay overnight with her. Pictured, Leo and Killy at a polo match, date unknown

These days her adored Bluebell (84 in dog years) is her constant companion. She used to sleep next to her on her bed. ‘But she suddenly got very bossy and started taking up nine-tenths of it, so now she sleeps by me on the floor in her own bed,’ says Jilly.

A bit like those long-married couples, perhaps, who opt for separate beds when the depredations of old age — snoring, nocturnal loo visits, insomnia — become too disruptive of peaceful sleep.

‘Marriage, I’ve always believed, is kept alive by bed-springs creaking as much from helpless laughter as from sex,’ Jilly is fond of saying. And her capacity to have a ‘terrific laugh’ with friends remains unassailable and undiminished by the passing years.

Doubtless it will sustain her into a champagne-fuelled tenth decade filled with merriment, ribald jokes and risque reminiscences.

n Between The Covers by Jilly Cooper is published by Bantam, £14.99, on October 29. © Jilly Cooper 2020. To order a copy for £12.74 go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free UK delivery on orders over £15. Offer price valid until November 5, 2020.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Police officer in charge of enforcing lockdown laws makes shocking confession to MPs 

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police officer in charge of enforcing lockdown laws makes shocking confession to mps

The officer leading the national police response to the pandemic yesterday admitted he did not know the lockdown rules.

Owen Weatherill told MPs the new three-tier system was too confusing and the public needed simpler messages.

The assistant chief constable proved his point by failing to clarify that households must not mix indoors in Tier Two areas. 

Questioned on the issue, he could only reply: ‘I have not got the regulations in front of me so I cannot give you a definitive answer on that.

‘There are so many different variations – I am not conversant with every set of regulations.’

Owen Weatherill, pictured, told MPs the new three-tier system was too confusing and the public needed simpler messages

Owen Weatherill, pictured, told MPs the new three-tier system was too confusing and the public needed simpler messages

Another police chief also slipped up during the farcical session of the Commons home affairs committee.

Lancashire Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: ‘The big one for me moving from Tier Two to Three is your household not mixing with others inside your household – not mixing or going out for a meal with people from another household.’

Yvette Cooper, the Labour chairman of the committee, pointed out this was wrong because household mixing indoors is banned in both tiers. 

Mr Rhodes told MPs he had been asked for advice on the regulations by his daughter. He said his officers were as confused as the public after having to grapple with five changes to Covid laws in seven months.

He added: ‘We have tried to tell them they don’t need to be an expert on all this sort of stuff within the first 24 hours. They can be as confused as other people.’

He said his force would issue fines only for clear offences such as organising an illegal rave to sell drugs or throwing a party with 70 guests.  

Lancashire Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, pictured, also slipped up during the farcical session of the Commons home affairs committee

Lancashire Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, pictured, also slipped up during the farcical session of the Commons home affairs committee

Boris Johnson was forced to make an embarrassing apology last month after getting mixed up over the details of his local lockdown measures.

In other Covid developments:

  • Rishi Sunak will today launch a rescue package to help firms hit by Covid restrictions retain their staff;
  • South Yorkshire agreed a deal to move into Tier Three from Saturday, meaning 7.3million in England will be living under the toughest Covid rules;
  • Talks to put Nottinghamshire into the ‘very high risk’ category were said to be close to completion;
  • Boris Johnson sought to bypass Andy Burnham by offering £60million of coronavirus help directly to local councils in Greater Manchester;
  • Economists warned that lockdowns were killing even more people than they ‘could possibly save’;
  • Labour’s Angela Rayner was forced to apologise after she called a Tory MP ‘scum’ during a Covid-19 debate;
  • 191 further deaths from coronavirus were reported yesterday, with daily cases at a record 26,688;
  • Hospitals stepped up the cancellation of routine surgery and non-Covid appointments amid a surge in virus admissions;
  • A Government adviser suggested a vaccine could be here by winter’s end;
  • Scotland Yard agreed to withdraw a letter urging pubs and restaurants to snoop on their customers;
  • Prince William spoke of the ‘unimaginable challenges’ faced by cancer patients as a result of coronavirus;
  • The ex-head of the civil service took a parting shot at Dominic Cummings over his lockdown trip to Durham;
  • National debt has soared to the highest level in 60 years;
  • A major report warned Covid-19 must not be used as an excuse to delay social care reform;
  • Four university students were fined £10,000 each and suspended from their courses for staging a house party.
Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP who chairs the committee, pictured, told the police chiefs they were wrong

Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP who chairs the committee, pictured, told the police chiefs they were wrong

At yesterday’s hearing Mr Weatherill said of the new tier system: ‘Introducing them in the way that we have done has introduced greater confusion. We are all struggling with that. Where there is confusion, there is an opportunity for people to become worn down and confused and less likely to comply.

‘I made strong representations that we should look for simplified, consistent tiers that would be the same wherever they were applied. That’s what I thought was going to happen ten days ago.

‘The reality now is already starting to drift, and as we are seeing with Tier Three, there are nuances creeping in.’

The Hertfordshire officer, who is strategic lead on Covid for the National Police Chiefs Council, was criticised for his response to the Extinction Rebellion protest that blockaded newspaper printworks last month.

He said his force was ‘committed to facilitating peaceful protest’.

Gwent Chief Constable Pam Kelly also raised concerns over the rising number of people refusing to pay fixed penalty notices who are now clogging up the court system.

Around half of the Covid fines issued in England and Wales have gone unpaid so far.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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