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Dawn O’Porter has told how she turned down the chance to appear on a US show commenting about celebrities – because she didn’t want to make any enemies in Hollywood.

The TV presenter and writer – who is married to IT star Chris O’Dowd – has made documentaries investigating nudism, mail order brides and polygamy, but decided she didn’t want to be part of a show commenting on the lives of the rich and famous.

“I actually got asked to go for a screen test in Los Angeles. E! [entertainment channel] had a new panel show which is about celebrity. I was on my way to the audition when I called my manager and said, ‘I’m not going, I don’t want to be on a show where I have to slag people off all day’.

“It’s grim, and I don’t want to be at parties and think, ‘Oh I said something really horrible about her that she probably saw and probably felt like s*** about’.”

Dawn, 35, is fronting a new show for Channel 4, This Old Thing, in which she will try to introduce a “vintage virgin” to retro clothes.

But Dawn – who has published two teen fiction novels, Goose and Paper Aeroplanes – admitted she prefers writing to presenting.

Dawn said she would pick writing “100 per cent” over TV, if forced to choose.

“Writing is stressful, but it’s just the best. It’s so much more satisfying when someone says, ‘I’ve read your book’, rather than, ‘I’ve watched your show’,” she added.

“Obviously, TV has not done my writing career any harm at all. I’m really lucky to have a profile, because I know it’s really hard to sell books. So I think I’ll always do bits of TV.”

This Old Thing begins on Channel 4, Wednesday, June 25, 8.00pm.



– Press Association