“TV star” Linda Barker goes window shopping in Crystal Palace

Ah, press releases. What would we do without ’em?

Linda Barker: star of TV, interior design catalogues, and now window competitions

Linda Barker: “starof TV, interior design catalogues, and now window competitions

Yesterday, among the bulging mailbag delivered by our breathless postman to the 38th floor at Inside Croydon Towers was a piece of PR twaddle that used the phrase “TV star”.

That’s never necessarily the strongest statement to make about someone’s claim to fame, even in this celebrity-infatuated era. It is the feeble stuff of the Fairfield Halls panto PR: Gary Oldman is probably worthy of the accolade of “star”; his big sister, meanwhile, is, well, a bit-part performer in EastEnders… So, the perfect “star” to headline Croydon’s Christmas panto.

Back to the press release. Who was the “TV star” referred to in the missive delivered yesterday? None other than … (cue drum roll) … Linda Barker.

Also known at Inside Croydon Towers as “Linda Who?”

If you are unable to recall who this so-called TV star is, a bit of research (Wikipedia…) suggests that for a few years in the previous decade, she enjoyed very minor celebrity when appearing on Changing Rooms, a programme that was determined to impose interior decorators’ “tastes” on the bedrooms and living rooms of ordinary people. Ikea never had it so good.

Apparently, since that series ended, Barker has also appeared on I’m a Celebrity, though she was somewhat at a loose end when there was no flock wallpaper to replace in the jungle camp. Such deprivations (dealing with Ant and Dec is a tough challenge) may not have revived this “TV star’s” TV career: most recently, Barker’s been fronting an interior design catalogue.

Not today, though. At 4pm, Barker is making an appearance at Crystal Palace, according to the press release, “to cast her eyes over the festive windows around Crystal Palace Triangle to choose which trader will be named Best Christmas Shop Window of 2012”. Seriously.

Apparently, shopkeepers are “vying”, oh yes, “for three top prizes”, including “The People’s Window”, where locals get to vote for their favourite window display and one of them wins £100 for a local charity.

The competition has been organised by Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce, and follows on from resident Calum Mason, a director at Winkworths, stepping in to pay for Christmas lights after Croydon Council had abandoned Crystal Palace Triangle, providing no “festive sparkle” this year.

Tim Sharville, the chairman of CPCC, has a good point when he says, “If as a community, we didn’t do anything it would have been a very sad and sparkle-free community Christmas.”

Winners of the Christmas window competition will be announced next Tuesday.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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