Paxman missed his chance to get insight on implants

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STEVE CANAVAN: The case of the 'kitchen' door is open and shut

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There should have been a ‘viewer warning’ flash up just before one particular episode of Newsnight last week.

‘Don’t adjust your sets,’ it should have read, ‘Katie Price hasn’t got lost on her way to the Take Me Out set. She is meant to be a guest on our show.’

I can’t have been the only viewer to do a double-take when I realised Pricey – her of the inflatable chest and more pink than you’d find on a three-year-old – was about to share airtime with Jeremy Paxman.

Predictably, there’s been a bit of a backlash in the wake of her appearance from those who think the chavvy brand of style she represents has no place mixing with the highbrow world inhabited by Paxman and co.

But let’s not fall into the trap of being snobby about this.

When you’ve got a feature on breast implants, who are you going to call? Robert Peston? David Starkey perhaps?

Come on, Price was the ideal candidate and, wearing a demure-ish top, she spoke honestly about the subject and with more control than fellow guest, feminist author Naomi Wolf.

Sadly though, the former Page Three girl was unable to offer any meaningful reflection on the insecurities that drive the cosmetic surgery industry – and as the debate about PIP implants rumbles on, that was my problem with her guest spot.

There was a time when only glamour models had heard of breast implants.

When I was at school we didn’t know about silicone and the part it could play in creating ball-like breasts.

But then along came Price with her unique ability to appeal to men and women and she somehow achieved what should have been impossible – to make this kind of procedure seem like the norm.

Of course it’s not Price’s fault that safety fears have now emerged. But she must take some of the blame for encouraging women to think that the only way to get ahead is to go down the fake, surgically-enhanced route. And for peddling the myth that appearance is everything.

If only Paxman could have employed some of that persistence he’s so revered for to get that point across to Price while he had the chance.