WHEN a horrifying moment in time becomes symbolic in the call for change there is a danger you lose sight of the actual person who was the catalyst for that fight.
That’s why, in all of the on-air discussions about the appalling murder of Sarah Everard this week, I have been very careful to bring it back to the unimaginable loss suffered by her family and friends.
She was clearly a much-loved and thoroughly kind, funny and decent young woman but her family have been distressed at the way their daughter has been politicised.
One of Sarah’s best friends wrote a heartbreaking article that reduced me to tears.
Helen Edwards mentions the vigil on Clapham Common for Sarah and says initially she was looking forward to attending, as it was a way to express her love for her and sorrow about what had happened.
She subsequently changed her mind about going, along with many other of Sarah’s friends, because they believed her death was being “hijacked” and were dismayed that it didn’t feel it was a tribute to Sarah any more.
Helen is also at pains to stress that all men should not be demonised after Sarah’s alleged abduction and murder, and doesn’t think what happened to her friend is a symptom of a sexist and dangerous society.
She wants to make it clear that Sarah had “many wonderful men in her life” and wouldn’t have wanted them to be “smeared with the same brush as her attacker”.
Helen is also incensed over the idea of a curfew for men after dark, calling it “one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard”, and firmly believes Sarah would have agreed. I respect Helen’s point of view, but the stories from so many women of being groped, verbally and physically abused and sexually harassed and assaulted that emerged in the wake of Sarah’s murder have made us all realise this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue.
Sarah’s death opened the floodgates to anger, frustration and a desire for change among women who don’t want to put up with this crap any more.
And of course, the scenes at Clapham Common, when police were shamefully heavy handed, made feelings run even higher.
I totally understand that Sarah’s family want to mourn quietly and with dignity.
I agree with Helen that most men are decent, loving and caring and would be appalled at the casual sexism demonstrated by Neanderthals and morons, as well as those who prey on young girls and women.
None of us wants to make this any harder for Sarah’s family and friends, and what we need now are cool heads and a coherent plan to educate those men who sadly need to be told what is and what is not acceptable behaviour.
KATE Garraway, my incredibly brave friend and colleague, has made a heartbreaking documentary about her husband Derek’s year-long ordeal in hospital after being struck down with Covid.
I’m in awe of her resilience, courage and strength. Kate somehow manages to keep her family together, she still comes into work and all the while she carries the burden of not knowing what will happen to the man she loves so dearly.
It will be a raw and powerful watch. I am so proud of Kate and I know you will want to join me in sending all of your love and support.
- Finding Derek, Tuesday, 9pm, ITV.
The power of drag
HUGE congratulations to Lawrence Chaney, pictured, crowned the winner of the second series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.
Full disclosure – I am a superfan and one of the proudest moments of my career was sitting on the judges’ panel beside the glorious RuPaul, who happens to be even more drop-dead gorgeous in real life. Along with Michelle Visage and Alan Carr, we all had the best fun we’ve ever had while keeping our clothes on.
And can we just talk about the contestants’ outfits, make-up, accessories, singing, dancing, acting and of course, their heart-rending stories of being bullied and misunderstood but ultimately triumphing? This show has it all. It’s funny, sassy and hugely entertaining but has such a big heart. It shows how the power of drag can change lives and bring us joy.
I can’t wait to see what all of the queens will do next and I thank every single one of them for making me sob in sympathy and howl with laughter.
All I have to say to them is good luck and don’t f*** it up – and roll on series three.
Haz & Meg Oprah is ongoing
I AM honestly baffled by Harry and Meghan.
Not content with having their say on Oprah, the “fiercely private” couple gave details of a personal phone call between Harry and his brother and father.
If they really want to build bridges it just doesn’t make sense to let the world know that the talks were “unproductive”.
It seems highly unlikely this juicy gossip would have been spilled by Gayle King, a hugely influential TV presenter and Oprah’s best friend, without Harry and Meghan’s say-so.
Once again the story made global headlines as they must surely have known it would.
The couple were well aware that the Queen wanted all of the furore and fallout over issues raised in the interview to be dealt with privately, and for the family to hopefully arrive at some sort of solution, and then to show the world a united front.
Instead, William and Charles will be feeling extremely uneasy about picking up the phone to Harry again in case their words are leaked to the US media.
If Harry and Meghan genuinely still want to be part of his family and have some sort of relationship with them, this just doesn’t add up.
It reeks of point scoring, and I think they are better than that.
Just as well Prince Philip is a very old man and still recuperating from a heart operation.
He would no doubt have given grandson Harry the kind of hairdryer b*****king that would put Fergie to shame (obviously I mean the legendary Manchester United manager, not Harry’s boisterous aunty).
They all need to get a grip and keep things in the family while they still have a royal dynasty to hang on to.
Allen story must be heard
I WOULD urge you to watch Allen V Farrow, a recently released and extremely harrowing four-part documentary.
I do not believe you will ever want to watch a Woody Allen movie ever again.
I’ve always found this director/actor/writer intensely irritating and extremely creepy, but he has a deeply devoted following, especially among the self-proclaimed New York intelligentsia, who hail him as a genius.
When I watched his film Manhattan, released in 1979, I was 20 years old and found it really unsettling. To me, he was just a dirty old man having far too much of a good time playing the middle-aged lover of a 17-year-old, a part he had written for himself.
What made it all even queasier was that with Allen directing, it was the teenager, played by Mariel Hemingway, who would instigate the sex, and 42-year-old Allen was all awkward and reluctant.
Allen famously had a 12-year relationship with movie star Mia Farrow, who was previously married to Frank Sinatra and the conductor Andre Previn.
Mia had three biological sons with Previn and the couple adopted three daughters, including Soon-Yi from South Korea. Mia then went on to adopt a son, Moses, and a daughter, Dylan, and gave birth to a biological son, Ronan, with Allen.
Ronan is now a campaigning investigative journalist, largely responsible for bringing down Harvey Weinstein. And this is important, because in 1992 Dylan told her mum that Allen had sexually assaulted her. She was seven years old.
The case was never brought to trial because the authorities did not want to put Dylan on the stand to testify, as they believed it would have been too much of an ordeal for such a young child.
Mia’s reputation was trashed by Allen, who labelled her a “woman scorned” who was out for revenge because he had an affair with her daughter.
Yes, you heard me right.
This gruesome gargoyle began sleeping with Mia’s daughter Soon-Yi, who is 35 years younger than him.
He was still in a relationship with Mia at the time and Soon-Yi was at college.
Mia discovered the affair when she found what she claims were “pornographic” Polaroid photos of her daughter taken by Allen.
Some months later seven-year-old Dylan told her mother about the abuse she says she had suffered.
I have no doubts at all that Dylan was telling the truth, and have always believed her, but for a long time she was a voice in the wilderness.
She has since managed to rebuild her life, get married and they have a little girl of their own. Meanwhile, Allen was still basking in the praise of the Hollywood elite.
There’s one particularly nauseating scene in the documentary that shows the great and the good at the Oscars giving him a standing ovation. After that, Dylan wrote a searing article about being abused which was only really taken into account after #MeToo – and that’s when Hollywood A-listers began to turn on Allen.
It’s a story that Hollywood producers would probably dismiss as too outlandish – but Dylan deserves to be heard.
- Allen V Farrow is on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV.
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