mind here. So maybe Miss World hasn’t changed so much after all.

‘lt’s always going to be largely a beauty pageant, and I’m not trying to apologise for that,’ Clive admits. ‘The women that take part know what’s going on. They choose to be judged largely on their faces and bodies and they choose to do so very publicly.’

According to Clive, however, the contest now attracts a more independent, career-driven woman than the presumed bimbo beauty queens of the past. Typical of this is this year’s Miss UK, Liverpool lass Emmalene McLoughlin. A trained florist and self-confessed ordinary girl. her ambition is to run her own business. It could just be this year’s patter, but it’s an

improvement on the saccharine pledge of

1997 Miss World title holder Diana Hayden (Miss India) to work with poor children and other unfortunates.

Having just touched down on a Seychelles beach, eighteen-year-old McLoughlin has trouble connecting with

'I think the female form is a gorgeous thing and I don't particularly mind looking at it, or men looking at

it: Julia Clive, TV producer

Clockwise from top: Miss UK. Miss India, Miss Brazil and Miss Ireland

the views that motivated fierce protests against Miss World over the years.

‘I don’t find it degrading to women.’ says McLoughlin, ‘because you’re using something to your own advantage. Not many people get to come out here to the Seychelles and meet all these people. I wouldn’t say that’s degrading and sexist.‘

The show and its contestants have moved with the times, but what’s really changed is the atmosphere that Miss World once considered the epitomy of sexism will re- launch in.

‘If I’d been asked to do this five years ago I’d have said absolutely no way,’ says Julie Clive. ‘I was as offended as everybody else by some of the stuff in the past. But the whole zeitgeist has changed. FHM is the fourth biggest-selling magazine in the world now. People aren’t buying that for the articles.’

Miss World, Channel 5, Thu 26 Nov, 9pm; Making Miss World. Wed 25 Nov, 9.40pm.



How Miss World has measured up over the years.

0 ’I don't think I am the most beautiful girl in the world . . . but I am the most beautiful girl here'. So said an immodest Miss Holland as she was crowned Miss World in 1962.

0 Protests against Miss World reached fever pitch in Bombay in 1996 when feminists and Hindu fundamentalists threatened to set fire to themselves rather than allow the contest to take place.

0 In 1993, Lebanon’s top public prosecutor threatened to try Miss Lebanon for collaborating with the enemy when she had her picture taken with Miss Israel.

0 The UK has won the title seven times in 48 years. The last time was in 1983 with Sarah Jane Hutt.

O This year, 73% of the contestants are at university/higher education (but remember 75% of statistics are made up on the spot).

0 Next to the World Cup, Miss World is the world's biggest outside broadcast, bigger even than the Oscars.

0 1.4 billion people in 130 countries watched Miss World on TV last year. 1998 promises to exceed this figure, as eight European terrestrial stations have now acquired the contest.

0 So confident is Miss World founder Eric Morley of the contest's renewed success that he's already booked the Albert Hall for the Millennium. See you there?

19 Nov—3 Dec 1998 THEUSTTI