On 12 November 1916, people around the United States experienced an outbreak of mass hysteria as 800 simultaneous sightings of Charlie Chaplin, then the most recognisable person in the world, were reported across the country, from the Atlantic coast to Pacific.
And you could be forgiven for feeling that we’re all suffering from a similar psycho-pathological phenomenon again, only this time it’s not restricted to one day: it’s taken over our lives. For Holly Willoughby is everywhere at the moment.
If she’s not sitting idly by Phillip Schofield on the This Morning couch as he coldcocks DCam with his personal list of suspected paedophiles, she’s appearing in raunchy photograph shoots for Rankin that rather undermine her gravitas, and make it almost understandable that the PM would barely give her a second thought as she breathed, “But with the inquiry…” at him.
If she’s not further allowing herself to be implicated in the objectification of her gender on the execrable Celebrity Juice – on which she is relentlessly referred to as Holly Willoughboobie – she’s appearing in Christmas ads for the shopping portal Very.co.uk that perpetuate gender stereotyping by suggesting that men are useless at buying gifts.
And if she’s not helping turn the nation into TV zombies by presenting the really-rather-awful-though-kind-of-addictive Dancing on Ice and The Voice, she’s reanimating the corpse of Surprise, Surprise, even though it was rarely better than snooze-worthy even during Cilla’s reign.
Should it be a surprise? After all, Willoughby began her career modelling underwear before taking over from Cat Deeley as Saturday morning’s principal lust object. (She donned a very short French maid costume every week …) It’s just a shame that, as sweet and bubbly (for which read bland and giggly) as she is, she couldn’t do, well, just more with her new-found ubiquity.