Matt Butler: Want to know the secrets of the stars? Just ask their children

View From The Sofa: Big Star’s Little Star ITV

In this age of social media and all-you-can-eat news sources, secrets never stay secret for long. Most of us knew a full five days before the plane towing the anti-David Moyes banner sputtered over Old Trafford on Saturday that there was a group of Manchester United fans determined to show they have a surplus of money and a skewed idea of the important things in life.

But every now and then, you pick up something new from that antiquated medium known as terrestrial television. Like the fact that a World Cup-winning rugby player has a habit of driving to the cinema just to buy popcorn.

The player in question was Ben Cohen (“I like cinema popcorn,” he protested) and the admittance was on Big Star’s Little Star – a new series of which started last week.

On the face of it, the programme, hosted by Stephen Mulhern, is a fluffy game show in the “kids say the darnedest things” vein, where celebrities guess which answers their offspring have given to potentially embarrassing questions.

Neil Ruddock, the former Liverpool, England and, er, Swindon player, was given the question of what he could never live without: bed and telly, beer and football or chicken and chips. The rotund former defender was genuinely flummoxed.

But beneath the chuckle-inducing revelations, such as Cohen’s affinity for wigs or Ruddock’s liking for Neil Diamond, the show is a mine of intel for muckrakers. Now that phone hacking is a no-no, all scurrilous reporters need to do to unearth celebrities’ darkest secrets is to watch a couple of episodes of Big Star’s Little Star.

Denise Lewis, the former heptathlete, hit the nail on the head halfway through the show – just after her son Ryan had revealed that mum “doesn’t really like Dad” – when she exclaimed: “This is an exposé – anything you didn’t want to come out...”

If only she had listened to herself, because immediately afterwards she admitted – on national TV – she regularly sneaks off to the toilet to play Candy Crush on her iPad. We’ll never look at those Sydney 2000 highlights in the same way.

Possibly the most shocking revelation came from Ruddock, the eventual winner of the £15,000 charity prize, which he gave to Pilgrims Hospice in Kent.

He was introduced with his six-year-old daughter... whose name is Pebbles. “So, Razor,” Mulhern ventured gingerly, “how did the name come about?” We inwardly hoped the Millwall-loving reality TV veteran had a cherished relative with the odd moniker, or that he would tell a heart-warming story about how the moment he found he was to be blessed with a child was while sitting on a South Coast beach watching the sun set. But, in truth, we feared the worst.

“I love The Flintstones,” Ruddock said, disturbingly proudly. Amid the raucous laughter from the studio audience, many would have felt for the child – and society in general. And a desperate hack would have been rubbing his hands with glee.

Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test