In a scandal hereon to be known as ‘bumpgate’, Denise Van Outen has been ousted from Andrew Lloyd Webber's new talent show Over the Rainbow – in her opinion because she’s expecting a baby. In her place, Charlotte Church who, though 12 years younger, has a lot less experience than Denise, who’s been a judge on Webber’s last two talent-search shows, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do.
'I feel disappointed and let down,’ said Denise, ‘Being pregnant is not an issue for me, I feel fit and healthy.’
If her pregnancy is the reason behind the host-swap (and the Beeb valiantly deny the claims) we can understand why Denise’s so upset. It’s not like she’s a contestant, expected to sing, dance and make jazz hands, she’ll be sitting motionless on a judging panel – how will a bump effect her performance?
According to the BBC, the decision bore no relation to Denise’s condition.
'Over The Rainbow is a brand new show for BBC1 with a completely new line-up of judges,’ said a BBC rep, ‘As a result neither Denise Van Outen nor John Barrowman will be taking part on the panel.'
However a friend of the mum-to-be claims this isn’t the full story.
‘Denise had a bit of a shock when a senior member of production told her ‘You're pregnant, so of course there's no way you can do the show This was then repeated to her by another producer.'
Is having a baby a sackable offence? Baby brain, restricted movement, can it effect how efficiently you work? Or is Denise right to be outraged?
By Amy Molloy