Adebayor's started so well for Man City
Fed up with fat abuse
We're talking to two members of the Chawner family this morning - they've been the subject of ridicule in the national newspapers over the past couple of weeks because the four of them together weigh over 80 stone, none of them works and they claim tens of thousands of pounds in benefits. In their home town of Blackburn when they go out they are subject to abuse. They're on the programme today to put their side of the story. You can watch a video of them here:
We spoke to the family this morning. You can hear the interview here:
5live's Rowan Bridge went to meet the family.
"Emma Chawner is responsible for one of the most famous (or infamous) renditions of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. The nineteen year old from Blackburn first came to the nation's attention two years ago when she first applied for The X Factor. In a memorable audition she was roundly condemned for both her dress sense and singing abilities by Simon Cowell. He described the dress she was wearing as "like a wedding dress, and then you sang the song out of tune and a bit like a baby". But Emma and her family say the criticism dished out by the judges was nothing compared to the abuse that they have suffered since. Sitting at her laptop, Emma shows me a Facebook group set up about the family. The tone is set by the title: "Get off your fat ass Emma Chawner and your fat family and get a job". It's got over three and a half thousand members, and contains a string of comments describing the family as fat, lazy and sponging off the state.
"It's disgusting, they need to get a life, " Emma told me. "They just hate me because I was on The X Factor. They believe the papers which isn't true. There was a comment on there which said 'Iif I see Emma Chawner I'll kill her' and that upset me and I ran upstairs crying." The family say they have become so concerned about the abuse they're facing that they've contacted the police.
Emma's father Phillip pulls out a stack of newspapers to show me what they've had written about them. Flicking through the pages, the headlines all talk about their size and the fact that they're on benefits. "Introducing the lardbuckets....all that is wrong with Britain", "83st family's too fat to work and too busy watching TV to diet", "The real Tellytubbies".
But Mr Chawner insists that what's been in the papers is inaccurate. He says they have never asked for more money, and the four of them get between £10,000-£12,000 a year in benefits, not the £22,000 quoted in the press. When we were at their house filming they didn't want to pour milk on a bowl of cereal for the cameras. They were trying to make the packet last a bit longer and didn't want to throw any away.
What is beyond doubt is that the four members of the family are morbidly obese, with a combined weight of over eighty stone. But Mr Chawner insists that's down to medical problems, and not their diet. "It's not what I have been eating. I was 27 stone and I am down to 22. I have actually lost weight. They (the family) don't eat a rubbish diet. Emma doesn't eat in the morning, she doesn't eat nothing. We just eat healthy foods, salads, and that's it really. I don't eat that much at all."
Emma's mum Audrey takes me into the kitchen to look through the cupboards. There are packets of crisps and biscuits, alongside packets of soup, tins of steak and kidney pie, ketchup and crispbread. The fridge has a whole chicken, carrots, lettuce and semi-skimmed milk in it. "We have all tried dieting, even they girls. They don't gorge themselves on bars of chocolate...People look at me, they stare at you. It does still hurt deep down inside, and I am sorry, it is just making me feel really hurt and upset. Sometimes I sit there feeling quite hurt that they can't leave my daughters or any of my family alone. I hope people are going to listen to this. As I say, we do not scoff ourselves with chocolate or any fattening foods, we just eat what we enjoy and we only have one big meal a day."
The family say they are still pleased with their appearance on The X Factor and felt proud when Emma was invited back for the finale of the fourth season. But while they may have enjoyed the fleeting fame of the show, the fallout from the publicity they have had since is proving much harder to handle."