March 1, 2024

British TV presenter Gregg Wallace usually enjoys calm Saturdays, we are told, but he has had a less serene week, trading brickbats with the UK press, in a debacle that has highlighted the perils of the apparent “tell-all” celebrity magazine feature.

This began seven days ago, when Wallace – a familiar face on TV screens as the longtime presenter of Masterchef and a catalog of other food-related shows – was featured in The Telegraph’s regular ‘My Saturday’ slot, detailing his usual routine on the first day of each weekend.

The backlash was swift, with journalists picking up on Wallace’s various revelations, after he gave details of his home life including the time he spent with his son (commenters said not enough), time on his computer game (too much, apparently) and the fact that he hadn’t wanted his youngest child, so he cut a deal whereby the pair went on holiday alone once a year.

The Guardian’s Michael Hogan called it “hilariously bananas” asking what was the best bit: “Is it when he makes it crystal clear he didn’t want his youngest child and only relented so his fourth wife, Anne-Marie Sterpini, would keep him in his favourite white-bean soup? Is it that he spends more time locked in his home office playing Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia than he does with his autistic son?”

In The Times, Caitlin Moran commented: “Quite how Anne-Marie finds time to get her “white bean soup” ready on the table is a mystery, as she and Wallace have a four-year-old son, Sid, who is nonverbal autistic. Wallace’s schedule reveals a slot for his son between 1.30pm and 3pm.”

Wallace hit back at his critics, saying tearfully on Instagram that this wasn’t the only time he spent with his son – he was just “logging the blocks.”

He said: “So it didn’t mean that’s all I saw [of] him that day. If you’re living in a house with someone, you’re interacting with them all the time.

“Not only that – that is a snapshot of one Saturday. And the other thing as well – and I’m almost going to cry over this – people saying that Sid was unwanted. It took us two years to conceive with Sid. Two years.”

This isn’t the first time Wallace has faced criticism on social media. In 2013, this exchange on then-Twitter made for less than favorable optics:

A member of the public asked on Twitter: “Hi Greg. I am cycling just over 180 miles in two days for Macmillan Cancer Support. Any chance of a retweet?” Rather than obliging, Wallace replied with one word, correcting the spelling: “Gregg?”

“No worries, mate,” responded the cyclist. “It’s only people with cancer. You worry about your extra G.”

Wallace will be hoping today to have a quieter Saturday.

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