Rylan Clark

‘The modern day Diana’: Why we as a nation would all collectively die for Rylan Clark

From joke act to national treasure, this weekend proved we’ve got Ar Ry’s back

Over the weekend, The Mirror posted a video of Rylan Clark on a night out. It was an exposé that went down like a lead balloon. It was the kind of exposé intended to cause scandal, gossip, and frame Rylan as “troubled” – but instead, it became an outpouring of love and support for one of the most likeable people in the industry, and resulted in the journalist deleting their Twitter account. Rylan Clark is one of us. We will defend him to the grave. Here’s why Rylan is not just a national treasure, but OUR national treasure.

From joke act to prime time presenter

It didn’t take a genius to work out the formula of The X Factor. Every year, without fail, the act that Simon Cowell just spent six weeks of auditions, bootcamps and six chair challenges rolling his eyes at like a pantomime villain suddenly winds up in the top 12. We saw it with Jedward, Wagner, Honey G, Bratavio… and Rylan Clark. The chirpy and flamboyant Essex raised hopeful came on after being a finalist on Katie Price’s shortlived reality show Signed By Katie – all smiles on The X Factor’s stage, mediocre vocals but buckets of likability. Gary Barlow was wearing a thinly disguised Simon Cowell veneer for that season, and was the only judge to say no to Rylan – which came as a shock to a grand total of no one.

Rylan’s reaction to Nicole Scherzinger putting him through to the live shows is a scene of reality TV legend – a weep and a wail like no other, a facial expression given eternal life online as a reaction meme for the rest of time. When Rylan got through, it didn’t feel like an injustice. He was just someone everyone was happy to have on their tellys.

Full circle successes

When Rylan won Celebrity Big Brother in 2013 it was a full circle moment – he had a place on civilian Big Brother in 2007 but got his place taken away from him after some housemates were leaked by the press. His win solidified that he was a figure cherished in the nation not as a camp laughing stock poor singer, but a wholly likeable and down to earth character who had a great knack at appealing to a wide variety of people. The girls loved him, the gays loved him, the lads liked him and your nan thinks he’s great.

It’s easy to see why Rylan’s career has gone from strength to strength: Because he’s so bloody good at it. Everyone he interviews clearly feels at ease and happy in his presence. He’s worked across nearly all major channels at all times of the day and has had the TV career most dream of. A national treasure was born!

No one likes a grass

The reason The Mirror’s Rylan “GOTCHA!” has crashed and burned is not just because we collectively enjoy Rylan, but because we don’t seek to see celebrities in the public eye crash and burn in the media for going on a night out. Nobody cares. The desire to see people have some kind of fall from grace feels like an archaic leftover remnant from a time where we didn’t pay the same amount of attention to celebrity mental health as we do now. Rylan has been completely open about his struggles since his divorce last year, and took a step back from his TV work. To think people would react to this exposé with anything other than support for Rylan shows utter contempt for public opinion on him.

Rylan supremacy

Rylan’s Twitter bio says “Started off as the joke, and still laughing”, and is a quote that I’ve always think sums up the way he takes everything in his stride so aptly. He’s going to continue to laugh through a career that gets better and better – and he’s been a positive force for young queer people on mainstream TV for most of my formative years and for many other LGBTQ+ people in the UK who can look up to him as a openly gay and endearingly honest prominent presenter who shows that if he can get there and do it, evolving from a joke act to a treasure, anyone can. No wild night out is ever going to change that.

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