Main Claim: Mother of the more famous Paula. Helene Thornton is vaguely famous for being the mother of someone who is very famous purely for being famous. Namely, the woman who currently holds the national record for a problem life, Miss Paula Yates. Thornton has been much in the public eye for her humming, ha-ing, admitting and denying approach to the ticklish question of her daughter's paternity (DNA tests have revealed that her father is in fact Hughie Green. We can but wait for the teenage Fifi Trixibelle's first brush with a tabloid.

APPEARANCE: Barbara Cartland's younger brother in drag. Paula Yates in 20 years. Sadistic and inventive oven murderer in maximum security women's gaol. The Baby Jane of bathing belles.

NAME CALL: Our heroine seems to be a little uncertain of what her name is. Usually referred to as "Heller Torren", she was born Elaine Smith, is sometimes named Heller Thornton, and this week appears to be called Helene Thornton. Aged 59, she lives with her second husband, the equally interestingly named Jacquelin, in La Cadiere d'Azur, south of France. And we haven't even got on to Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom, Little Pixie or Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily...

SINS OF THE MOTHERS: Like mother, like daughter, Paula's only hate springs from her only love. Note the remarkable similarities between Helene and her estranged daughter: the metamorphosis of life drama into tabloid inches, exposure of bodily parts, revolving careers, image reinvention and a remarkable talent for making extremely little go a long way. Helene Thornton, or whatever she's called, has been variously described as an artist, showgirl, writer of steamy novels, dancer, Bluebell Girl and actress. Does this remind us of any journalist-model-author-photographer-presenter, by any chance?

SINS OF THE MOTHERS 2: When Helene was around the same age as Paula is now, she discovered that one of her "parents" was not in fact related to her. Helene has been asking Paula to contact her via that well-known messenger service, the tabloid press. Spookily familiar.

MODEL PAST: Helene Thornton married Stars on Sunday's Jess Yates in 1958 and met Opportunity Knocks's Hughie Green soon after, in the family hotel in Llandudno, no less. Says it all, really. "When I met Hughie, Jess and I were violently trying to have a baby," Thornton explains.

FAME PROSPECTS: Not very good. Could have a tit job, marry a rock star, or lob a rock through her ex's window. Just an idea.

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