Dame Esther Rantzen has rhapsodised over the joy of nude sunbathing, and urged neighbours who take issue with people doing it in their gardens to “look at something else”.
The TV star, 78, said she has been a fan of the practice for years and does not see it as too different to the skimpy outfits worn on Strictly Come Dancing.
She recalled shedding all her clothes to sunbathe on her 50th birthday, before posing for photos with her neighbour’s children, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You must try it, it just feels completely different, you haven’t go the sweaty bits where your clothes are overheating you, you haven’t got the bit where the straps cut into your flesh.
“You have got whatever draft or soft breeze there is on every pore and every cell of your body and it really makes you feel wonderful, and far from neighbours complaining, when I did it on my 50th birthday – I wasn’t completely nude because I was wearing a hat and a necklace too actually – the neighbours came round with their children, who started to giggle.
“It’s a good thing they did because my late husband was quite cross with me and was trying to remonstrate with me, because he’s a little bit more inhibited than me, and when he saw the girls giggling he went and got his camera.
“And so the photographs exist but the terrible thing is, in my senior moment, I’m trying to remember where those photographs are and I don’t know.”
Dame Esther said she had been offered £2,000 for nude photographs by a newspaper but refused to sell them when they would not meet her demand for £6,000.
She said: “I was a bit upset at the time, I thought they had valued me a bit cheaply.”
Last summer, police officers in Reigate, Surrey, were called to a dispute between neighbours over nude sunbathing, but Dame Esther said: “Really, if someone doesn’t like the sight of you in the nude all they have got to do is turn around and look at something else.
“The CPS says that the wider public has to be protected from harassment, alarm and distress. All that about a few extra inches of flesh! Have they seen Strictly Come Dancing? Have they noticed the public enjoys the view?
“Mind you, I don’t look very like the professional dancers these days at 78, but I’m still sunbathing in the nude.”
Asked if she was doing it right now, she replied: “Not as I speak, but I’ve got a tiny roof terrace in London and I used to throw everything off on that until I saw some very tall cranes and I realised that the gentlemen working at the top of the crane might catch a glimpse and fall off and that did worry me on humanitarian grounds – think of the court case!”