Mummies don’t need a TV ad to make them feel bad

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, #whatkatydid

Finding our own way – no thanks to Dove

“75 per cent say breastfeeding in public is fine. 25 per cent say put them away. What’s your way?”

Honestly, what WAS Dove thinking with its newest ad campaign?

The skincare brand – which in the past wonderfully celebrated women’s bodies in all their shapes, sizes, ages and nationalities – seems to have had something of a crisis.

Its new adverts, the premise of which is showing support for parents whatever their choices, couldn’t be any more misguided if it tried.

I didn’t breastfeed Sonny Jim. I planned to, wanted to, tried to, but he couldn’t. So we didn’t.

But I am vehemently supportive of the mamas who breastfeed. And mamas who choose to bottle feed. Fed is always best.

So Dove, here are a few things I think you need to know.

The equality act of 2010 means it is now discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. It’s ILLEGAL for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place. So that 25 per cent you mention? Who CARES what they think.

Being a mum can be hard. Being a new mummy can be overwhelming. What a mama who is just getting to grips with motherhood, who has seen her body change beyond all recognition, who is just getting to know the baby they’ve spent months growing, absolutely doesn’t need is any more anxiety.

And that is what your advert has done, Dove. You’ve given credence to the cretines out there who like to judge mummies. You’ve given a voice to the narrow-minded numpties who with a thoughtless “put it away” comment can destroy a mum’s confidence. Can make her think twice about going out. Can make her question her mothering ability (even more than she already is. None of us think we’re doing “mummying” right anyway.)

Dove, go back to selling soap. Leave the actually parenting to us, hey?

This post was first published in the Echo newspaper on Friday, July 7, 2017:

My chat with Andrea Lowe

The latest series of DCI Banks concluded last night. Here Andrea Lowe reveals how she got to grips with motherhood – on screen and off.

Andrea Lowe has one of those faces. One which instantaneously you just know you know. Which is rather unsurprising considering both the sheer amount of television work she has under her belt – and her ageless English rose look. Andrea Banks

Andrea was back on ITV this month reprising her role as DS Annie Cabbot. When she left the series in 2012, both her and her character were heavily pregnant. They both took maternity leave. Now they both have little ones. Has the parallel between fiction and reality been, well, a little odd?

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My chat with The Musketeers’ Maimie McCoy

‘You can’t think too much about people getting on the tube and calling you a b****!’

Maimie McCoy’s dark presence as Milady in The Musketeers has rather bewitched our screens on Sunday evenings. Here she tells me why she took the role – and about her back-up business…

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Behind the scenes… on Mr Selfridge

It’s one of the most glamorous series on television – so what’s it like to star in Mr Selfridge? I signed up as an extra to find out…

Katy pearson on Mr Selfridge

Me with Mr Selfridge (Jeremy Piven) on set

It’s 6am and I’m bound in a corset and wrapped in a furtrimmed velvet coat, which possibly weighs more than I do, in a very cold warehouse in London’s Willesden district; not quite how one imagines the set of ITV’s glamorous costume drama Mr Selfridge to be.

The new series of the colourful dramatisation of the life of Harry Selfridge (founder of Selfridges department store in London) is set to attract millions of viewers every week. Filming for the 10-episode series began in April 2013 and continued until October, and I was fortunate enough to work as one of the (on average) 50 extras used daily.

My primetime appearance (blink and you’ll miss it) airs on Sunday in the first episode of the new series. I play a bit of a, ahem, floozy, in Delphine’s Club – a new set created for this series – which has a distinctive bohemian feel to it. The two main sets – Delphine’s Club and the Selfridges store – are hidden inside a veritable maze of an industrial unit. Continue reading

My chat with Helen George

She plays blonde bombshell Trixie in Call The Midwife. So what has the hit programme taught Helen George about babies and motherhood?

It is, I soon realised on speaking to her, almost impossible not to warm to Miss George. Just like her on-screen character Trixie, she is bubbly, beautiful and comfortingly down to earth.

Call the Midwife

Helen George and one of her charges on the set of Call The Midwife

‘Sometimes I feel as though Trixie is just a more extreme version of me,’ she says. ‘I suppose we have similar traits – I love clothes and spending time with my girlfriends. I love a good gossip and I enjoy working. I admire her tenacity, and her unfaltering con dence.’

But just how do you prepare for playing the role of a midwife? ‘We have a wonderful midwife on set at all times (Terri Coates) who really keeps an eye on all of the medical and historical details,’ explains Helen. ‘And I’m very proud to say that I can now make a bed properly, with folded corners, like my grandma used to.’

Helen married fellow actor Oliver Boot in 2011 – after she filmed the first series of Call The Midwife. They met in 2008 while playing a bickering couple in Hotel Babylon. But has playing a midwife and spending so much time with babies made her broody? ‘It’s made me more prepared for giving birth and caring for children,’ she says. ‘I didn’t even know how to hold a baby before I started this job.’ Continue reading