They’ve already crowned themselves king and queen of our out-of-control
celebrity culture, but now Posh and Becks are to be deified – it’s official.
Well not quite, but our favourite couple might have thought twice before
presenting themselves to the public as the mother and father of baby Jesus.
No such qualms for Madame Tussaud’s who have dusted down the Beckhams’
waxworks, dressed them up in ‘ancient robes’ and installed the couple as Joseph and Mary in their nativity scene.
At least it lets Becks dress in the style to which he’s accustomed – a long
flowing gown – but Victoria won’t be happy about the shapeless garment she’s
been decked out in for Christmas. And neither of them will be too pleased
about their less than five-star accommodation in the stable.
Still, at least they’ve got some fellow celebs for company, in the shape of
Hugh Grant (holding a lamb), Samuel L Jackson and Graham Norton as the three
shepherds and Kylie as an angel… assuming angels are accustomed to posing
with their bottoms sticking out provocatively, in which case Heaven is
looking more attractive by the minute. And then, surely pressing the wrong
elevator button at the pearly gates, there’s a scary trio of George Dubya,
Tony Blair and Prince Philip as the Three Wise Men – surely a first for at
least two of them.
Of course it’s a great stunt for Madame Tussaud’s; they have even protected their corporate asses by putting it to a punters vote, its their choice not the Tussard’s group after all , cynical pr commentator that I am I have seen it all before. Yup it’s a quick fix for column inch nirvana but there will be a sting in the tale mark my words
Madame Tussard’s is a strange place, it does have an enormous queue snaking down Baker Street but has anyone met anybody that has visited since childhood. It’s always a great PR stand-by to dust down some of your older product and give it a makeover in return for column inches. And hey they certainly succeeded in that. But has anyone asked the celebs how they feel about being thrust into the
nativity scene, or the fact that some practising Christians (Bush, for
example) might consider this nothing short of blasphemy? What does Prince
Philip make of being reinvented as a wise man? What, come to that, does the
public make of being asked to swallow Bush and Blair as wise men?
One half of me says who cares when the only people likely to be seeing this
nativity scene are Slovakian students who read that Tussaud’s was a must-see
attraction in a dog-eared 1975 guide book of London that they picked up in a
Lada-boot sale in a Bratislava backstreet.
But the other says that this shows exactly why celebs so carefully guard
control of their images. It’s why Catherine Zeta-Jones went to court to seek
compensation for an unapproved photographer taking snaps of her eating her
own wedding cake at her own wedding reception.
It may have sounded like the craziest case of someone wanting to have their
own cake and eat it, but it was the thin end of a wedge that Madame
Tussaud’s is now exploiting. It used to be regarded as the ultimate honour
for a celeb to be immortalised in wax and put on display in a place that was
once Britain’s most popular tourist attraction (CHECK?). But they are all
going to think twice if the result is that they are made to look a fool a
few years down the line.
Most celebs employ armies of managers, minders, assistants, publicists and
stylists to protect the image they present to the public. At one stroke
Tussaud’s is fooling around with their brand. The next generation of celebs
will think twice before agreeing to be cast in wax if the result is going to
imitate life, with them ending up in a pantomime for which they had no
If Tussaud’s can get away with this, what comes next? Can they get away with
putting their Hugh Grant waxwork in the driver’s seat of a white BMW with a
waxwork Divine Brown leaning over his lap? Now that really WOULD be a good
publicity stunt! Well maybe not for a family attraction but it would make me smile.