Former snooker champion Willie Thorne has been blasted on social media for checking into a hotel while taking part in an experiment to find out what it’s like to be homeless.
Thorne was appearing on Famous Rich and Homeless on BBC 1 for Sport Relief in which he and Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, comedian Nick Hancock and TV personality Kim Woodburn were challenged to sleep rough for a week to immerse themselves in the reality of lives on the street.
But at the beginning of last night’s episode, when the celebrities received a briefing from Big Issue founder John Bird, it was revealed that he’d spent the previous night in a hotel.
Willie Thorne(left) has been criticised for staying at a hotel while appearing on Famous Rich and Homeless on BBC 1 in which he and Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury (right), comedian Nick Hancock (second right) and TV personality Kim Woodburn (second right) were challenged to sleep rough for a week to immerse themselves in the reality of lives on the street
‘I got to the end of my tether really, I was really struggling,’ he admitted. ‘I said, “I’m happy to continue this, but I just need to have a night off”. I didn’t want to quit but I cam very close to quitting.’
On the final night of the experiment Willie’s foot swelled up and he went to have it X-rayed.
‘There’s nothing broken and nothing a good night’s rest wouldn’t help,’ he explained afterwards.
So he checked into a hotel with homeless man Pierre, saying: ‘I’m actually glad I’ve got the bad foot now because it meant Pierre could have a night’s sleep in a hotel.’
On the final night of the experiment Willie’s foot swelled up and he checked into a Premier Inn with his homeless companion Pierre
How Clean Is Your House presenter Kim Woodburn also came under fire for being judgmental
Viewers were deeply unimpressed by his lack of resilience and took to Twitter to criticise the former professional snooker player who is now a sports commentator.
Dale Maycock said he was ‘very disappointed’ in the sports star, while PurpleRuby8 said he was ‘a joke’.
‘He needed a night off, homeless people don’t get a night off,’ she tweeted.
Lee Tallen added sarcastically: ‘Watching Willie Thorne immerse himself in the world of the homeless from a Premier Inn.’
Emma Lake questioned what the point of Willie being on the show was, saying: ‘He is pathetic and has no respect for these poor people.
Viewers criticised the former professional snooker player turned sports commentator for booking into a hotel and saying he couldn’t sleep in a tent
Sam agreed, adding: ‘You are a wimp. I can’t believe that you scammed a hurt foot to get out of the reality.’
Chloe McLaughlin commented: ‘Would someone explain to Willie Thorne that if he was homeless he’d have to sleep on the streets, sore foot or not.
Viewers also took Willie to task after his homeless companion Pierre set up a tent for him.
After commenting: ‘I can’t do a tent’, he’d wandered off to the bus stop.
‘Willie with that old-chestnut of “I needed some air” whilst sleeping outside,’ Anthony Melia commented.
SadiexxBee added: ‘Willie: “I can’t do a tent.” You can’t do much, can you?’
Willie tried to silence his critics pointing out that a lot of people do nothing to help the homeless and was supported by Stephen Denton but his comments fell on deaf ears
Agent Claire Bear seemed to sum up viewers’ thoughts when she commented: ‘One thing I’ve learned from watching Famous, Rich and Homeless is that Willi Thorne is an absolute d***.’
However, Willie took to Twitter himself to hit back at the armchair critics.
‘There are some lovely people out there who do b***** all to show how tough it is for the homeless and just criticise me. Thanks,’ he wrote
His comments didn’t silence Emma Rowley who said he’d made a mockery of the experiment, but Oliver Gray came out in support of the pundit, saying: ‘That Willie Thorne took a hotel only highlighted further just how hard it is to be street homeless.’
Stephen Denton also backed him up, saying: ‘Anyone who hasn’t been homeless had no right to criticise Willie Thorne. At least he tried and saw the hell.’
Presenter Kim Woodburn left viewers outraged when she said one teenage girl on the streets was a ‘lazy bum’ and called her a disgrace
Willie was not the only celebrity who came in for criticism though.
Kim Woodburn, who found fame co-presenting How Clean Is Your House, was pulled up by John Bird at the beginning of the programme for having the impression there are ‘two kinds of homeless people’.
Without hesitation she replied: ‘Most definitely. I’ve found lazy bums and I’ve found wonderful people.’
But Julia and John challenged her to explain what she means by ‘lazy bums’.
‘I came across this girl, 18, and I told her: “You’re a lazy little bum and you’re a disgrace”,’ Kim replied.
Nick Hancock interjected to say her opinion was not fact, but Kim replied: ‘It is.’
Julia added: ‘You don’t know what’s going on at home. You don’t know what her mum is.’
Rachel Hubbard praised them for challenging her, saying: ‘Might be her perception but untrue and she doesn’t know back story.’
Emma Rowley also expressed her unhapiness, tweeting: ‘Really wish they hadn’t chosen Kim for this programme. The woman is ignorant and stuck up. Who is she to judge.;
Pachacutiqueen added: ‘So demotivating how Kim Woodburn feels the need to pass judgments.’
Danielle Moylan was blunt in her response: ‘Shut up Kim. You can go home to you lovely house, she can’t.