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Abi Titmuss: A Modern Day Morality Tale (2005)

Abi Titmus was the girlfriend of television presenter John Leslie when he was accused of rape and torn to shreds by the tabloids. She stood by him in the court case until he was found ... See full summary »

Director:

Simon Egan
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Cast

Credited cast:
Sean Borg ... Himself
John Leslie John Leslie ... Himself (archive footage)
Rod Liddle Rod Liddle ... Himself
Abigail Titmuss ... Herself (as Abi Titmuss)
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Storyline

Abi Titmus was the girlfriend of television presenter John Leslie when he was accused of rape and torn to shreds by the tabloids. She stood by him in the court case until he was found innocent and then she decided to "make something good of this situation" and left her £16k pa nursing job and hired a publicity agent. This got her some nice work (Richard & Judy for one) and the money was coming in nicely - until a tabloid broke a "story" about her having group sex with Leslie and some strangers. She denies it at first but then milks it by getting £50k for a "confession" to a Sunday paper - a confession she says the papers twisted. However, her denials were for naught when a sex tape showing the whole thing hit the internet. However, getting the profits from that film when it was released on dvd, Abi also found herself in demand from the tabloids and men's magazine. Owning half the rights to the photographs is a nice earner for her, along with the publicity do's, the calendars and other... Written by bob the moo

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Genres:

Documentary

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Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 2005 (UK) See more »

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Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

Not perfect but still an interesting and depressing tale
20 June 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Abi Titmus was the girlfriend of television presenter John Leslie when he was accused of rape and torn to shreds by the tabloids. She stood by him in the court case until he was found innocent and then she decided to "make something good of this situation" and left her £16k pa nursing job and hired a publicity agent. This got her some nice work (Richard & Judy for one) and the money was coming in nicely – until a tabloid broke a "story" about her having group sex with Leslie and some strangers. She denies it at first but then milks it by getting £50k for a "confession" to a Sunday paper – a confession she says the papers twisted. However, her denials were for naught when a sex tape showing the whole thing hit the internet. However, getting the profits from that film when it was released on DVD, Abi also found herself in demand from the tabloids and men's magazine. Owning half the rights to the photographs is a nice earner for her, along with the publicity do's, the calendars and other deals put her firmly on the A list in the UK but is she a model for others to follow? That is the question posed by this documentary and, given the obvious slant put on the presentation, it is only ever going to come down on the "no" answer. Of course it damages its case that the film is going for the laddish audience who read men's magazine while also looking down its nose at her. It is hard to think that the whole Titmus thing is "good" when you watch this film; even if you think she's got "nice t*ts" it is difficult to think that the tabloid culture of celebrity is going a good way – Titmus is the best example at the moment but really the nature of celebrity is the same for many like her and it is not pretty to watch. Basically if you can get scandal with a established celebrity, and you are a sexy young girl then you're in the money – Rebecca Loos is another example. Despite her wide-eyed, innocent and cheeky personae, Titmus comes off as a cynical, money grabbing media-whore, releasing "candid" holiday shots, gloating that a kiss and tell guy got less for his whole story that she did for the photos (that she owns) that appear alongside the story.

I think she knows that this is fleeting – she is not stupid, so she seems to be getting as much money as possible quickly so that she can live the rest of her life off it. However it is easy to get rather annoyed with her gradual release of her tape combined with her denials that it exists. At moments she almost seems ashamed and annoyed by the sex tape but then at the same time she is milking it for all she can. It is depressing as well to see how basic the tabloids are and, at the end of the day, sex sells and Titmus has been expertly marketed from the very start so that she is more than just a porn star – which, lets be honest, is what she is famous for. She is a seaside postcard come to life and it is easy to get angry that someone like this would get so rich – but I'll hold my hands up and say I, like many others, am as jealous as I am angry. Her claims that she is good for women and helping to free up women to explore their sexualities while also controlling all the men's magazines and showing girl power are just absurd though. In the film she does nothing for anyone but herself – lining her pockets. As a female role model she only does what countless other women do – use their bodies to get money without ever needing to do anything else. This gets her paid but to suggest it is liberating for women generally is just plain offensive! Overall this is an uneven film that judges Titmus but also benefits from her fame – it would have been better using her as one of several examples and making this an indictment of the modern nature of celebrity and the tabloids; the title suggests that what it wanted to do but it mostly comes off as a celebrity profile with teeth. However, regardless of the film's failings the subject is still interesting and it will annoy and bewilder many viewers by showing us this terrible PR world where sex sells. As a Times man, it is depressing to see what the majority of paper readings class as "news". Titmus will not have been damaged by this film and she is only making hay while the sun shines but it her story is an unsavoury view of the "sex and celebrity" mass culture and it is only more depressing because we get the media we deserve and even the night club owner that Abi is working for at one point in the film describes her fans in the club as "animals" – a view I'm sure she holds deep in her private thoughts as she attempts to make enough money to rise above this life very soon. Not a great film but interesting and rather depressing.


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