Fat Families – Steve Miller Interview: “Bring On The Chawners”

Rehabilitated ‘fattie’ Steve Miller returned to on our screens with a new series of SKY1’s Fat Families last week and we met up with him to discuss how the government should set about the task of tackling our obesity problem, how he’d charge chunky people double the price for airline tickets and why he’d love to take on iconic porkers, the Chawner family. We think even you might have your work cut out with the last bit Steve…

Why do you think the gastropods on Fat Families let themselves get so tubby Steve?
I think some people get entrenched in bad habits and start suffering from ‘Cantbebothereditis’. People just get lazy, fall into nasty habits and then they reach the stage when these habits are just so old that they don’t know how to get out of them.

Yes, yes. Do you think that Fat Families is watched primarily by other obese people or cruel slim folks looking for a laugh?
Surprisingly, a lot of the audience is made up of kids because they like the entertainment factor. It’s quite light entertainment (ed – not literally!) I get loads of kids coming up to me and telling me they watch Fat Families and they’ll copy some of my tongue-in-cheek sayings…

Are they fat children?
Not all the time. I get lots of mums talking to me in the street as well. They say the kids love the show and they learn from it as well which is nice. They come up to me and say “Melt that Lard!” and that sort of thing…

Have you seen a programme called Fat and Proud?

It’s a documentary that shows how some ‘people of size’ have regained their confidence by attending specially organised events. That’s brilliant of course, but other sections of it include suggestions that more needs to be done to accomodate obese people in British society. What do you think about that?
I think that if someone’s fat and happy then of course that’s alright. I don’t really have an issue with it. However in the real world, if you’re fat, you’re much more suceptible to some pretty serious illnesses. Secondly, I don’t think it sets a good example for the kids. We do have an obesity problem in this country and anything which trys to cover that up is a bit dangerous…

Do you often meet people who are fat and happy?
I’ve got some friends who are fat and say they are happy, but I have to say they are quite rare. Out of all the people I meet, I’d say that about 1% are happy being fat, but most of the big people I meet would love to get rid of the fat. They’re just desperate for someone in their lives to put their foot down with them – in a warm way. I am warm and very straight-talking and I don’t complicate weight loss because I think that’s something we’ve got wrong in this country.

Have you ever had a go at an obese person who was gorging themselves in public?
No, I certainly wouldn’t do that. It would be very innappropriate. But there have been occasions when I’ve observed such situations and thought: “What the hell are you doing?!” I get especially angry when I see people over-feeding children, I think it’s child cruelty.

Indeed. Now Jamie Oliver has recently taken his healthy eating bandwagon to America. Do you think that’s where your biggest challenge lies?
We have talked about taking the show to America, but what I’d love to do is take on British families who have gone to America and got fat by living in American culture. I’d also love to go abroad in Europe as well and asking “Who ate all the Paella?”

Nice. Now there’s a lot of debate going on about obesity these days, if you could do three things to tackle the rising number of morbidly obese people in this country, what would those three things be?
Firstly I would motivate the country – everything would be about motivation. No 1. I would start charging fat people for two seats on an aeroplane if they had brought that condition on themselves. But not if there was a medical reason for their chunkiness. Motivation is also about punitive measures and not about strokey strokey stuff. No 2. If I was in the government there would be no more health education on what to eat because I think we’ve overloaded the population with information. A lot of people are confused. And thirdly, I would spread information about how families can lose weight together. Often case studies are all about individuals.

You must have heard of the Chawner family? Would you like to bring them on to Fat Families? Surely they would be your biggest challenge yet?!
I think they would be a massive challenge, but I’d definitely work with them. There would definitely be more tantrums than there were in My Big Fat Challenge. They would get the strongest home truths that they’ve ever received. The only thing is that they probably get quite a lot of attention from the media for being fat and they probably enjoy it! They’re famous for being fat and for not working so I’m not sure if they’d come on the show. But bring on the Chawners!