Claire Richards – My Big Fat Wedding Review: 5, 6, 7, Ate (and ate and ate and…)

May 5, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

3CLAIRE RICHARDS: MY BIG FAT WEDDING, Tues 5th May, BBC3, 9.00pm Alert Me

I hate you BBC3.

I hate you for tugging at my heartstrings and reducing this journalist to a weepy, snivelling girl. Damn you and your cheap tricks: your poxy montages and fat camp footage will not break me!

If you are female and prone to severe emotional reactions, My Big Fat Wedding will make you cry.

I’m not being sexist, it’s just that those evil geniuses at the BBC do their jobs far too well. The constant battle to balance a love of food and the occasional tipple with a desire to look like Sienna Miller’s rexy twin causes most women to regularly break out in a sweaty panic.  Panic ultimately leads to a lack of sleep, resulting in bags under the eyes, nail biting and low self esteem. Before  you know it, you’ve eaten a whole tub of Haagen Dazs Cookies and Cream, washed it down with a bottle of red and therein the weight worry cycle is repeated ad infinitum.

Ladies, Claire from Steps feels your pain and is living proof that dieting is arduous, painful and makes great car-crash TV.

After Steps “success” in the 1990’s, Claire gave up the life of a jet-setting celebrity to sit on her sofa and fill the gap in her life (and her face) with food (the documentary fails to mention the awful H & Claire reunion which probably started her spiraling burger binge in the first place). Now that Claire is marrying the man of her dreams, Reece Hill, she finally has a reason to bin the buns and chuck the chips: not her hubby, but the dreaded, eternal wedding photos.

As Richards confronts her food demons with strict dieting and punishing exercise (including a last minute, weight-loss boot camp), initially the weight falls off, but as she gets closer to her goal the pounds become that much harder to shift. At the end of an agonising week in Scotland, comprising eight hours of exercise per day, followed by bland meals and green tea, Claire only manages to lose four pounds. Four measly pounds; I’d be blooming furious! All the money in the world couldn’t get me jumping in a Scottish river unless I was guaranteed to lose at least a stone, grow bigger breasts and bag an internet millionaire.

Yet, as the wedding draws closer, obviously the hard work pays off. Claire exceeds her goal and squeezes into the perfect size 10 dress – cue shots of weepy Mum in the wedding shop as Claire announces a six and a half stone slimming in just eight months. I had to bite my lip to stop the tears, then I bit too hard and ended up crying anyway. Those pesky producers know that the final scenes of Claire burning her “fat wardrobe” (complete with a gratuitous close up of flames licking at the ‘Size 18’ label) will have ladies up and down the country feeling inspired to follow suit (even if just for a few hours after the programme ends).

For all intellectual intents and purposes My Big Fat Wedding is rubbish, but it’s very British  “back the underdog” Richard Curtis-style rubbish and therefore, I’m sure it’ll be a winner. Surely it’ll only be a few weeks before a My Swine Flu Hell special narrated by Max Clifford.


Sally McIlhone