EastEnders’ Clair Norris in tears as she reflects on being bullied over her weight

Melanie Clark Pullen stars as Mary Flaherty in EastEnders in 1998

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Panorama’s Obesity: Who Cares If I’m Bigger aired on Wednesday night as EastEnders star Clair Norris investigated whether Boris Johnson’s strategy to help the nation lose weight is working. Clair, who is overweight herself, broke down in tears during the instalment as she opened up to her mum about being subject to bullying in school.

Standing in a school playground, the actress reflected on the treatment she received from her classmates.

She said: “This is probably where the name-calling would have happened I don’t say it’s bullying that’s my own personal thing.

“I don’t remember specific names I don’t remember it very clearly but I suppose if it happens every day it blurs into one.”

However, the EastEnders actress pointed out her mum remembers events much more clearly.

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Opening up to each other at home, Clair’s mum Sam said: “You didn’t even see it as bullying because people were calling you names and it wasn’t until other people pointed it out and said, ‘But they’re calling her this,’ and you’d say, ‘They call me chubby but that’s just their nickname for me.’

Sam comforted the actress as she broke down in tears. 

“It worried me that you never thought that was an issue,” Clair’s mum continued while also wiping away tears.

“That it was okay for people to call you names and you just accepted it.”

Reflecting on the conversation with her mum, Clair added: “Maybe mum’s right when I look back the name-calling might have hurt more than I realised at the time.”

Earlier in the episode, 24-year-old Clair opened up about her weight.

She remarked: “I’ve tried losing and it hasn’t worked for me either.”

Returning to her primary school in Thamesmead, Clai reflected on her childhood. 

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“This is where it started for me, in nursery I was a very fussy eater by the time I got to reception I was eating Turkey Twizzlers at school, cake and custard, all of them things.

“That is where the weight started to pile on as I went through primary school years.”

“Other kids were eating the same school meals so why did I put on the weight?” Clair questioned as she looked to her mum for answers. 

As the pair looked back at pictures of Clair as a child, Sam admitted she didn’t realise her daughter was gaining weight at the time. 

“As a parent, all you worry about is feeding your child and not having them be starving so if you find something they like you carry on you don’t necessarily worry about whether it’s particularly healthy or not,” Sam said. 

In the Panorama episode, Clair met with teenagers on a weight management scheme in Sheffield.

She also visited a man-versus-fat football team in Norfolk and a dance class for plus-size women.

Obesity: Who Cares If I’m Bigger? is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. 

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