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Gok does it again

Gok's championing of the disabled is surely to be applauded, not derided

GokGokking is one of a girl's private pleasures and sadly for my husband, the times when he is banished to the office with his earplugs in are becoming more frequent. In addition to Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings, the poor man now has to retire on Tuesday nights as well, for How to look good naked... with a difference.

I've long thought that many of the women on Naked are suffering from a terrible body dysmorphia. Sure, many of them aren't exactly oil paintings, but who is? Many of these women can't SEE themselves as they are at all. They need help, and they get it - and despite my general squeamishness about parts of the format of this show, the transformation of confidence is often uplifting to behold.

However, the last series began to take a more serious turn when Gok styled Kelly, a young woman who had lost a breast to cancer. Suddenly here was a person with a real and serious problem of disfigurement who needed a careful and loving touch to get her confidence back. 

Gok, as everyone knows, was once the fat kid on the block, and being fat, gay and an ethnic minority probably means you know a thing or two about exclusion. Seeing Kelly blossom under his tutelage was curiously moving for a programme that is meant to be about the most shallow of issues - our appearance ('funny how poignant cheap music is...'). 

And so it is with this new series, which is taking a look at the practicalities faced by disabled people in simply getting something the rest of us take for granted - clothes to wear. Tops that don't ride up in a wheelchair, jeans that will accommodate a prosthetic leg, a colour-co-ordinated outfit when you're blind. 

Tracey, a young mum in a wheelchair was first up. She couldn't see past her crinkly stomach (something we all have when we sit down) and the chair itself, which she loathed. Her striking blue eyes and fabulous coathanger shoulders - legacy, no doubt of hauling herself around on crutches - had become invisible to her. 

Until this series I had never wondered how you get on a pair of skinny jeans when you can't point your toe, until this problem was mentioned (the answer, bless his little Gok heart, was ankle zips). Nor had I realised that most people don't get a decent prosthetic leg that matches the other one. If these things are available, why the hell can't everyone have one? Perhaps Mr Bolland could give up some of the £15 million salary he's just landed for being a frock salesman....

I assume I'm also not alone in being gobsmacked by blind lady Di's little speaking gizmo that tells her what colour her clothes are (it identified Gok's skintone - to his chagrin - as 'dark orange'), but it still took him as an expert stylist to find clothes that were both sensual to the touch and looked right for her body shape. Di is a magistrate, for God's sake - someone who has an important function in public life. The last thing she wants is to look like a little old lady. 

There will, of couse, be people who carp about this programme - why a special series just for the disabled, for instance - but it strikes me as a good start for its simple acknowledgement that there are shedloads of disabled people in our society and they have a right to be accommodated.

Fashion so often seems aimed at solely the young, thin and alien-faced but everybody buys clothes and 99 per cent of us don't look like fashion models. Nor I am, personally, too young to remember a time when some idiots protested against buildings even having wheelchair access because it would 'inconvenience the able-bodied' - an attitude that would now strike most people as contemptible.

Let's hope that following on from this series there will be others, incorporating disabled people in among the other protagonists where they properly belong.



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