Is Cheryl Cole mania a sign that we’ve all gone stark raving mad?

Cheryl Cole is a singer who became famous with Girls Aloud (then in her maiden guise as Cheryl Tweedy), became a solo artist, a judge on the X-Factor and who married England footballer Ashley Cole (they’ve just divorced).

And she seems, at 27, to be just about the most famous person on the planet.

Last Saturday revealed a rather disturbing image of Britain; the nation was glued to its TV sets and it watched, in no particular order, Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1 (featuring Tory MP and aged spinster Anne Widdecombe, who can’t dance but got lots of votes from the TV audience), the X Factor (featuring judge Cheryl Cole) and Piers Morgan’s Life Stories with the former Mirror editor interviewing, yes, you knew already, Cheryl Cole.

This Saturday even more UK viewers will be glued to their sofas to watch Cheryl on the X Factor.

Prior to the Morgan interview, which gained an audience of 7.15m, a record for the show and 34 per cent of the avialable TV audience at the time, Cole had featured in an interview with Simon Hattenstone in the Guardian magazine (‘my last interview’ she claimed, I just want to get this out of the way and move on) which probably had a rather smaller audience (about 100,000 readers max I’d say).

But Simon, being a gent, gave her an easy time because she’s an attractive and winsome thing and seemed upset about her divorce from Ashley. But he never asked the obvious question: why are you so bloody famous just for getting divorced from a footballer?

Because that’s the top and bottom of it. Cheryl may be a feisty young gal from Gateshead who overcame a heap of obstacles to claw her way up through singing and modelling but the reason she’s so famous is that she’s the most likeable (and possibly talented) WAG (wife or girlfriend of famous footballer) to be ill-treated by her Carlos Kickabout other half.

When Tweedy and Cole married they foolishly posed for wedding pictures as the ultimate bling-adorned couple. This was probably intended, in part at least, as a joke but it nailed them forever in the eyes of the public (and, more importantly, the tabloids).

It didn’t help that Cole (despite being an undeniably talented left back) went on to engage enthusiastically in the over the top antics of the Chelsea football squad, set a heroic example by then England captain John Terry. It was a case of girls all round, rather than Girls Aloud, fuelled by oceans of Crystal champagne and vodka fountains, often finished off by a photo text from Ashley with his shirt off.

Cole was already hated by a large part of North London for the way he, or his agent, engineered a transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea and is, anyway, one of those blokes that girls seem to find irresistible and blokes think are just tossers.

Meanwhile poor old Cheryl was sitting at home waiting for Ashley to topple out of the handiest Premier Inn while his shepherd’s pie spoiled in the oven. But at least she had her mother to talk to, who she’d moved in to a wing of the Surrey mansion. More charitable souls might have seen this as a reason for Ashley’s absences but Ashley just doesn’t attract supporters.

But this really rather mundane domestic scenario is the reason why Cheryl Cole, for all her media accomplishments, is so famous and why the febrile TV viewers of weekend British TV care so much about her.

She’s just a gal who’s been turned over by another bloody footballer. The difference being she’s got a few millions to soften the blow.

So does this mean that we’ve all (or mostly) gone stark raving mad?

Yes, actually.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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