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Dawn French’s astonishing weight-loss (100 pounds and counting)  has been one of the more remarkable things to happen this decade, and it has resulted in quite a bit of newspaper moralising. Not that anyone is criticising one of Britain’s favorite comediennes for changing shape, you understand, it’s just she always maintained that she was happy the way she was – even calling her autobiography Dear Fatty to underline the point – and of course there’s nothing a newspaper columnist likes more than to point out something that looks like hypocrisy, even if it isn’t.

Thankfully, Dawn has now stepped forward to clarify the matter. It seems that her only consideration was to be able to stay alive longer, to watch her daughter Billie grow up. Had it not been for this, she’d be mainlining chocolate and carbs to this very day.

She told the Mirror: “When you’re over 50 you have to pay attention to your health a bit. I want to be there for my kid.

“I have quite a lot of exciting adventures that I want to do, and I had just ballooned a bit more than I wanted to. I’ve never disliked myself, and my weight has had nothing to do with my self-esteem. I still refuse to dislike my old body.”

And she has nothing but scorn for the way the modern media appears to persecute young women if they dare to stray from unrealistic body-shapes, pointing out that expectations are far higher now than they’ve ever been: “it’s definitely worse for girls today – because size zero has happened. I can’t begin to understand that. Why would anyone want to be called a size zero or even aspire to being a zero?

“I don’t even understand the thinking behind it, let alone the practicalities. What is all that about?  But then I’ve never been in the world of ordinary dress sizes – and I’m still not. I’ve always been on the edges of that, since I was tiny. For me, whatever age or size I’ve been, I have rather liked myself. The shell is not the thing at all.”

Which is, coincidentally, what I’ve always said about peanut M&Ms.

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By Fraser McAlpine