'We won't wear it' - pagans furious with Trinny and Susannah

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The Independent Online

They are masters of the humdrum television makeover, but Trinny and Susannah's latest target has exposed them to the wrath of pagan campaigners. The stylists, who were recording the latest series of Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation, decided to conduct an unorthodox sex change on the East Sussex pagan symbol, the Long Man of Wilmington.

Twenty-two pagans gathered in protest at the historical site where ITV was filming. The show had invited 100 women to decorate the "sacred" site by giving the man temporary pigtails, breasts and hips.

Arthur Pendragon, a Druid battle chieftain, said: "We are very angry because this is so disrespectful." The nomadic 53-year-old continued: "We, the pagans, would not in our wildest dreams consider putting female breasts and clothing on effigies of any Holy Prophets, be it Jesus Christ, Buddha or any other revered figure of another faith. Why then, does ITV commission Trinny and Susannah to do so at the Long Man of Wilmington?"

One of the protest organisers, Druid Greg Draven, 31, from Eastbourne, told The Argus in Brighton they had staged their campaign at the site to make the programme aware of their views. The campaigners were given the opportunity to do this on the programme itself, which will feature interviews with the protesters.

Druid Draven told Trinny and Susannah that there were two reasons he did not approve of their project. "One is the offence to my spiritual belief, because this is a sacred site", he said. "The other is because it is an archaeological site which already suffers from soil erosion."

The concern that the work might damage the historical site was shared by many activists. Their anger at the treatment of the historical relic was further fuelled when it emerged that the crew and volunteers had to be told not to sit on the site's cinder blocks that experts believe date back to the 16th century. But an ITV spokesperson said they were given permission to go ahead with the project by the Sussex Archaeological society, adding that "wardens were present to ensure ITV adhered to the guidelines set by the society. Care was taken to protect this historical site and the figure itself was not permanently changed or affected".

Sussex Past backed up the assertion that the site was left undamaged, saying: "As the site is a scheduled ancient monument, it is an offence to damage the Long Man. Our professional staff judged that the activities involved in filming this sequence, essentially walking and lying on the monument, will not damage the archaeology underneath."

The protest was peaceful, and an ITV spokesperson commented that the pagans were all "happy to be interviewed and just stood and watched".

The stunt was one of many in the series' campaign to "give the great British public a more stylish future". Others included kitting out every woman in an entire town with a properly fitted bra, going down the red carpet wearing a giant pair of fake breasts, and transforming Susannah into a 70-year-old woman.

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