Fergie at Netto -- Duchess slums it in bizarre TV experiment


Last updated at 00:35 07 March 2008

Her own weight battles were carried out in the public glare.

So you might think the last thing the Duchess of York would do is inflict the same fate on others - but it would seem not.

Sarah Ferguson is helping a family living on benefits in one of the poorest areas of Britain overcome their obesity problems – by putting them on TV.

The ITV show sets the Duchess, who has spoken at length about her weight issues, the challenge of improving the diets of the Sargerson family from Hull.

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A WeightWatchers ambassador for 11 years, Sarah said yesterday: "This programme is an attempt to explore solutions to the growing obesity problem in the UK.

"I want to see whether we can help families all over the country, no matter what their budget, to improve their lifestyles."

Tonia and Mick Sargerson live with four of their children, aged seven to 16, on the Preston Road Estate, where income levels are among the lowest in Britain.

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ITV admitted the Duchess, 48, was not a dietary expert. Rather she would use her experience of eating disorders, low self-esteem and family conflict to help the Sargersons.

Locals have already spotted the royal shopping in budget supermarket Netto.

During months of filming, Fergie stayed in a £40-a-night bed and breakfast, a far cry from the Manhattan penthouse she has made her home.

An insider on the show said: "She would have stayed with the family, but it was only a two-bedroom.

"The hotel is certainly not what she is used to.'

The show, provisionally titled The Duchess In Hull, will be broadcast in the summer.

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