I read some of the Daily Mail online today.
I felt dirty just doing it, but admitting to it is even worse. People who read this will now be judging me. I won’t be able to show my face in public without suffering the shame of people knowing that I have taken in some words from one of the worst newspapers this country has to offer.
The reason I read it was because there was an article about Charlie Dimmock, carrying the headline “You won’t believe how much Charlie Dimmock has changed since Ground Force” or something similar.
Now, Ground Force finished, what, ten years ago. So already there’s a reasonable chance something will have changed in the past decade. Essentially, what it boils down to is that she’s put on weight. That’s the gist of the story.
Now I read this because, back in the day, I had a soft spot for Ms Dimmock. To the extent that I wrote her a letter, care of the Beeb, which resulted in me getting a signed photo which I used to have up on the wall. I don’t actually know where that picture is, anymore. have a vague idea where it may be, but if it isn’t there then it has, alas, gone the way of the signed picture of the lovely Sarah Sutton (Nyssa from Doctor Who in the 80s) which has also vanished.
My letter to Charlie was written after an episode aired in which the dynamic trio and Willy made-over a garden in bitterly cold weather. In the letter I said I was worried about them working in the cold and, in what I thought was a very generous offer, said that if that situation arose again my letter could be burnt to provide heat. And for that I got a signed photo of Charlie, complimenting me on my hilarious letter.
So I was interested to see how much she had changed since Ground Force. And, as I say, essentially she’d just put on weight. But, you know what, fuck it – she still looked as happy and fun as she always used to look. Sometimes I don’t think I look at these things in the right way – it’s like those adverts for gum disease where an attractive woman stands in front of a mirror and takes off her make-up before popping out her false tooth/teeth and lifting up her lips to reveal the – obviously hideous – gap in her teeth. All I see is a woman who is still attractive but just doesn’t have all her teeth.
But it was the way the Daily Mail went about the piece that annoyed me. Look how much she’s changed, they roared at the top of the page. Before doing what they normally do when you read articles online with the Mail, filling it with hundreds of photos and about four lines of text. The text centred on the exploits of Ground Force back in the day, and how Alan, Tommy and Charlie were all at this launch of something that I have forgotten about because I was too busy waiting for all the pictures to load.
Now, most of the pictures were Ground Force-era Dimmock. And then, at the bottom were a couple of present day-Dimmock. No mention was made, in the body of the article (if you can even call the drivel there an article) of any change in weight or physical appearance, apart from the headline. But the pictures carried variations of the caption “Dimmock has not appeared on television since” which, when you looked at them in the article came across as a little bit catty. Like they almost may as well have said “Who’d want to see her on TV now?”
Like I say, she still looked like she’d be a good laugh. Maybe I’ll write to her again, but this time print off the Daily Mail article and suggest she burns that for heat…