The star of the hit TV series has died in Italy, aged 51.
TV review: Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model
Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model is back - is it still worth watching though?
Supermodel Elle Macpherson is back to hunt for Britain and Ireland's next top model. This time, she is joined by male supermodel Tyson Beckford, US reality TV star Whitney Port and fashion designer Julien Macdonald. Monday nights don't get more high-fashion than this.
Moody model Madeleine may be a bitch, but she makes great telly.
You might want to turn the volume on your TV down a notch or two; there's a lot of high-pitched screaming from the models.
You may deny it, but it's almost inevitable that you've watched at least a small bit of a Next Top Model episode in the past. Whether you've been drawn into an obscure photo shoot or been amused by the sheer level of cattiness between the models, Next Top Model shows are the TV equivalent of microwave sponge puddings - they're quick
"While Tyson is a natural on the show, Whitney is out of her depth"
and indulgent guilty pleasures.
After seven successful seasons, BINTM is offering up another hearty helping of glitz, glamour and girls - but, after a slightly disappointing last series, do we really need another?
The first episode kicks off with Elle (and her impossibly long legs) introducing the two new judges Tyson Beckford and Whitney Port. Welsh fashion designer Julien Macdonald returns as Elle's right-hand-diva and the scathing Grace Woodward, who plagued the show last year, is no longer a judge. Former judge Charlie Speed has also been replaced, but seeing as it's with one of the hottest men on the planet, I can't complain.
While Tyson is a natural on the show, Whitney (who rose to fame on the US reality TV show The Hills) seems a little out of her depth - for the first half, all she does is smile behind her bug sunglasses and say 'awesome' as if she's a Paris-Hilton-bot. Still, she warms up throughout the episode and eventually voices her opinions on the contestants.
"The girls are seen parading in eye-wateringly small swimwear"
Speaking of which, there's a mixed bag of model wannabes this year - from the token bitch, to the X Factor sob-story girl, the show producers have covered all areas. Yet, I was disappointed to see no plus-sized models - in fact, all the girls looked like they could do with a generous portion of my metaphorical microwave sponge pudding.
Some of the girls stand out on the first episode, most notably diva-of-doom Madeleine , who makes it her mission to annoy as many of the other girls as she can. I love it. Soppy Vanessa also grabs a lot of camera time after she mopes around missing her baby daughter and feisty Anita causes a stir when she gets on the wrong side of Madeleine.
It's not all about personality though, as the contestants have to prove that they can actually model, otherwise they might as well have just gone on Big Brother. The debut episode sees the girls being jetted to Dubai where
"The judges are like the bitchy yet painfully cool friends I never had"
they take part in their first photo shoot, which is directed by Tyson and Whitney.
The girls are then seen parading around in eye-wateringly small swimwear, while the judges mumble criticisms of the models to each other. At one point, Whitney comes out with the insightful corker; "Penelope looks too old". Ouch - maybe Grace Woodward wasn't so bad after all.
After Tyson and Whitney are fresh out of insults, the judges all gather at the beach at sunset in an overdramatic scene which wouldn't be out of place in Ben Stiller's spoof model movie Zoolander. It all gets rather hilarious when Elle describes the prize as 'sacred' and the other judges sit nodding over-enthusiastically.
But that's why I love BINTM - yes it may be needlessly overdramatic and shallow, but for some reason I just couldn't and wouldn't change the channel. Some of the contestants are engaging to watch (Madeleine's diva strop at the photo shoot is rather funny) and the judges are like the bitchy yet painfully cool friends I never had.
I'll definitely be watching the next episode, if not just to have Tyson Beckford in my living room for another entire hour.
Verdict: Fabulously shallow - BINTM is the epitome of a TV guilty pleasure.
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'Tony Soprano' actor James Gandolfini has died aged 51 from a suspected heart attack while on holiday in Rome. .
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