New Magazine April 11 2005 - Sanjeeta Bains
I'VE BEEN ON THE HEARTBREAK DIET
Brian Dowling talks to NEW about losing nearly a stone after his recent split with the love of his life, and about his new role in Footballers' Wives TV.
Despite the fact he is nursing a broken heart following his split with Arthur, his boyfriend of 2 years, TV presenter and Big Brother winner Brian Dowling is in a good mood when we meet up on a sunny afternoon in Soho, London. And it's not long before Bri tells us there is an upside to his break up - weight loss.
Brian broke up with the 24-year-old Belgian dancer in February this year, and since then his weight has dropped by nearly a stone. Despite all the upset, though the former air steward is looking better than ever - and his TV career isn't doing too badly either.
After winning a Bafta for Children's show Sm:tv live and helping to fill the shoes of Ant and Dec, Brian, 26 has been steadily honing his presenting skills in a variety of shows such as ITV1's Brian's Boyfriends. This week Brian will also appear in ITV2's Footballers' Wives TV which airs straight after ITV1's Footballers' Wives.
Brian cant wait to have a gossip about the series, but it's not the only thing he wants to spill the beans about! Here, the Irish presenter and New! get cosy for a good old goss about speed dating, diets and, of course what he really thinks about his fellow BB alumni...
Brian, you're in fabulous shape - have you been working out?
No. I've been on the heartbreak diet. I lost 10lb in less than a month after the break up [with Arthur]. I've been doing a lot of brisk walking, so that's helped to keep the weight off, too.
My friends tells me, ''At least you're single and thin. That's better than being single and chubby!''. I'm going speed dating soon and I'd love to go on a blind date. Someone please ask me out!.
What exactly happened with your relationship?
It was on the cards for a while - all it takes is for one person to say it. So, he said it, and there was no going back. It's the first time I have really spoken out about this and it's still very raw. When I listen to sad songs on the radio I start crying.
How did you meet?
I met him in a bar. I saw him and thought, ''Oh, he's gorgeous!''. But he was way out of my league. He was dark and handsome and very fit. But we started chatting and I took his number. Bizarrely he was working on Sm:tv as a backing dancer the next week, but he didn't know I presented the show. I think we were fated to meet. He is quieter than me, so we complimented each other. It ended more or less amicably, as there was no one else involved.
Do you still see Arthur?
Yes, we still text and call each other. I do want us to get back together. They always say that you have only one love in your life, and I keep thinking Arthur was mine. All my life I wanted a relationship. For my BB application I wrote by the time I was 30 I wanted to be happy, living with my boyfriend and cooking a shepherd's pie!.
What do you think went wrong?
I didn't give 100% to my relationship with Arthur, but I've learned my lesson.
And now you're looking so trim. Exactly how much weight did you gain in the BB house?
Two stone! I started comfort eating as I couldn't cope with the attention. Before I broke up with Arthur I was over 13 st; now I'm under 12. I still haven't gained my appetite fully back yet, but I still look fat on TV.
Do you keep in touch with anyone from BB?
Only Narinder. She had a really hard time when she came out, but she's a really good friend to me - and that's what counts. I also went for dinner with BB5 winner Nadia last week.
Are you envious of Jade's success?
No, I was asked to do Back to Reality and the Big Brother Panto, but I said no. I don't want to have to sell my life like Jade has done. I can't have a boob job like Jade to keep myself in the public eye - but I can't see Jade doing live TV for two hours. I never fully cashed in on BB fame and made s### loads of money like the others. Before BB I was on £16,000 a year at Ryanair, so I felt happy enough winning £70,000.
Are you excited about BB6 starting next month?
Do people really give a f### anymore? From all the BB series, only Craig, me, Jade, Kate and Nadia are doing stuff. Where is everyone else?
How are you enjoying your presenting career so far?
I love my job. I've been very lucky. I did Sm:tv for two years, which was a very high profile job, but I only got it off the back of BB. On SM:tv I proved I can present, but now I have to go on proving myself and work twice as hard. Recently, there were opportunities to do two really big shows but nothing came of either - it wasn't meant to be.
Would you like to do Cd:uk?
No. Been there, done that.
Would you like to have a career like Graham Norton's
I'd love to be like Graham but I'm only 26 - it took Graham years to get where he is. Graham is a very astute businessman. There are not many gay men who are powerful in TV, so he's achieved so much.
You're good friends with Vernon Kay and Tess Daly - how's their new baby, Phoebe?
She is beautiful! Phoebe used to look like Vern, but now I think she is growing to look like Tess. Tess is a natural at motherhood. I love Tess and Vern - they are such a normal couple.
Do you have loads of other celeb friends now?
Kimberley Walsh from Girls Aloud is a really good mate. The last time we went out in London I gave her a lap dance in a club and my Gucci trousers ripped My bum was hanging out - it was horrible. Antony Cotton who plays Sean in Coronation Street is a good friend of mine, too.
Tell us about Footballers' Wives TV
It's very shopping channel- esqe and makes fun of celeb culture. I play a reporter who is a very exaggerated version of me. I tell viewers how to slim by selling them tablets and soup. It's all very tongue-in-cheek.
Which footballer do you fancy?
I love Calvin Klein model - Freddie Ljungberg. Cheryl Tweedy's boyfriend Ashley Cole is really handsome too.
Do you think Chery and Ashley have star potential as a couple?
Cheryl is beautiful. Sometimes I look at her and think she could turn me straight! Ashley is nice but footballers don't have a great reputation of staying faithful do they?
Who do you think is the ultimate footballer's wife - Coleen McLoughlin or Posh ?
Coleen will never be Posh! Posh is a style icon - she puts things together effortlessly, but with Coleen it's quite vulgar. I'm sure she is a lovely girl though!
Footballers' Wives TV is one ITV2 on Thursdays at 10pm. Brian hosts a showbiz slot on Vernon Kay's Radio 1 show, every Saturday from 10am-1pm.