Thursday, 28 January 2010

Red-Top vs Tip-Top

Today's post will be an exercise in how different types of publication have different styles of writing, and even researching their stories. The story I am using is real and Richard is a friend of mine (and all credit to him, this was his idea). See if you can spot the difference.

Masterchef's Gregg Meets Love on Twitter - but is Former Schoolteacher "Heidipopps" being Led Astray?

Gregg Wallace and Heidi Brown began their whirlwind love affair last year, after a message on Twitter from biology teacher Heidi asking if Gregg had ever been told he was a "weird crush". He offered to take her out to dinner, and the rest is history. Who says romance is dead?

The former greengrocer who is now better known for presenting prime time cooking show Masterchef lives with Heidi (27) and his two children from previous marriages in Kent, while splitting his time in London to look after his cafe business in Putney.

Since moving from Ullswater, Heidi says she is delighted with her new life, posting regularly on Twitter to her friends and family and describing herself as "Living in Kent with my wonderful new family". Divorced once herself, is this a couple who have finally found love? Or is this yet another recipe for disaster?

Richard Braddock (22), an IT Consultant from Leeds remembers meeting Heidi back in his university days.

"A few friends and I were given the opportunity to go on Soccer AM (Sky Sports) a few years ago," he recalls. "Heidi was also a guest on that show - as the 'soccerette'. There's this bit where she chooses someone out of the guest fans, and that person does a 'catwalk' with her. Despite me needing a haircut she picked me."

Attractive Heidi was well on her way to graduating from university, and was using modelling as a way to earn some extra cash. "I remember the lads and I were somewhat in awe because I certainly don't remember any of our teachers looking like her", he adds.

Masterchef Gregg seems to have a way with the ladies, but by the looks of it he has trouble keeping hold of them. His first wife left him after only 6 weeks of marriage, while his second shot at love left him divorced after his wife Denise sent him packing six years ago after finding out he'd been cheating and alledgedly sleeping with prostitutes.

So, has unwitting Heidi walked into a love-rat trap?

"I certainly wouldn't have expected her to quit her job that she has obviously worked so hard to get", says Richard. "She seemed intelligent and well adjusted but I think as we all know, intelligence and common sense are completely different skills."

Heidi's ex-husband, hotel owner Dave Pinkney seemed shocked by the news of their relationship beginning. "I'm a bit cynical" he said to the Daily Mail last year. "I'm sure he's a cracking bloke with a great personality, but if he was a grocer in Carlisle, I don't think there'd be much of an attraction."

Leaving a career to follow an online romance seems like a rash decision to make, but after nearly a year the couple are still sending loved-up tweets (twitter messages) to each other. Gregg's previous admitions to having "loads and loads" of affairs while married have been rebutted by him, as he claimed last year; "I'm a different person now - a phoenix from the ashes".

All Heidi can do now is keep her head screwed on and hope that his sleazy ways are far behind him. "She's a cracking woman and he's a very lucky man...I hope he looks after her" added a solemn Dave. Let's hope that since Gregg is a greengrocer by trade, there's no chef-like fiery temper and quick changes of heart to contend with.

[Gregg Wallace and Heidi Brown at last year's Bafta Awards - pic courtesy of Getty Images and the Daily Mail]

Masterchef's Gregg Wallace finds Love on Everybody's Favourite Social Networking Site

It's no secret amongst the gossips that Gregg Wallace, the former greengrocer turned BBC's Masterchef presenter and cafe business owner, has had more than his fair share of tempestuous love turmoils. With two ex wives claiming adultery and a penchant for smutty magazines as his major vices, and he himself claiming to have had "loads and loads" of affairs while married, will he ever want to settle down?

One woman definitely hopes so, as biology teacher Heidi Brown (27) moved to Kent from her home in Ullswater near Penrith to be with him and his two children from previous marriages. But how did the unlikely pair meet? Where else in these technological times but on Twitter, following a flirty message from Heidi to Gregg early last year. It's a story made in medialand paradise.

But who is this Cumbrian schoolteacher, and how will she tame old "puddingface" as he calls himself on Twitter? Richard Braddock, an IT consultant from Leeds has his own hilariously tenuous link with her following their short appearances on Soccer AM (Sky ports) while she worked as a model.

Richard explains; "A few friends and I were given the opportunity to go on Soccer AM. Heidi was also a guest on that show - as the 'soccerette'. There's this bit, where she chooses someone out of the guest fans, and that person does a 'catwalk' with her. Despite me needing a haircut she picked me and I duly fulfilled my obligation, corny as it was."

Perhaps she liked her men with a little more hair back in those days?

In all seriousness though, Richard was surprised to see her give up her teaching career. "I don't recall her being particularly driven, regarding her modelling. I think she was quite grounded - specifically professionally. I certainly wouldn't have expected her to quit her [teaching] job that she has obviously worked so hard to get."

But as a career-driven woman, she seems ultimately happy in her new position as a loving housewife, if her constant chirping twitter updates are to be believed. And to think this all began thanks to a short message where Heidi asked Gregg if he had ever been considered a "weird crush" before.

"I think we're all aware that Twitter now seems to be a gateway between members of the public and celebrities. Whether that is a bad think or not really depends on each person. I mean, I've sent at least two tweets to Ben Goldacre, but that doesn't necessarily mean I intend to shack up with him." says a cynical Richard. So are the newspapers getting their knickers in a twist over this story simply because of the New Media connotations?

"The [story] certainly did come out of leftfield though, and I do wonder if it would be in the national news if it a) hadn't involved twitter, b) She has only been 7 years his senior, and c) She wasn't quite so attractive. Whichever one best fits the agenda of the tabloids is up to you I guess. Perhaps it's the unspoken holy trinity."

So there you go, as spoken by somebody who knows computers and the internet probably a little better than you do (whoops, speculation).

The question is, does anybody really and truly care?

[A lot of this article's information was sourced from the Daily Mail 22/06/09. Take it with a pinch of salt please, I'm only trying to prove a point. Transcription of Richard's interview is available on request for any comparing you may want to do]


Mike said...

As much as i obviously don't REALLY care about who the Masterchef guy is, or isn't, living, or not living, with, it's one of those things one might inadvertantly read against their better judgement.. i get the impression the writer of the first article doen't like the situation one bit, like they're assuming Heidi is reading it and dropping hints that Greg, the incorrigible rake, is no good for her and she should probably leave him.. I prefer the second article, partly because it seems less leading, the writer seems able to accept the idea of Greg and Heidi having a relationship, deal with it, and move on with his/her life. Also, the second article is very slightly shorter, in this case that alone would swing it for me.
My favourite bit though is the notion that being called a "weird crush"(!) is a reason to ask someone out to dinner.
Great blog btw!

Katie said...

Thanks a lot :) Can I ask how you came across my little splat of scribblings?

Yeah, the first one is my attempt at being a Sun/Mirror/Daily Mail type nosy scandal story, and the second is more of a "who cares?" type jokey feature. Glad you liked it!

Mike said...

Oh - i didn't realise you wrote both of them! I can't remember exactly how i found this blog, i remember i watched a video of you making an Oreo cake on Youtube(!), it must have been somewhere from there, i found your page again when i was clearing out all my mysterious bookmarks that i'd forgotten to write a description for

Katie said...

Haha oh yes, the cake videos. Something a little bit different to current affairs.

Yeah, I wrote both of them and interviewed the Richard fella and then took his quotes and placed them in different contexts. I was trying to show how easy it is for a newspaper to insinuate sleaze or make a celebrity look bad if they aren't in their favour that week.

Glad you liked it :)

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