By Dominique Miltiadou
THEO Paphitis, the British Cypriot magnate, is one of the stars in the BBC1’s new reality show ‘Famous, Rich and Hungry’.
The show takes celebrities and places them with ordinary families on the low-income scale. The idea is that the volunteers will get a taste of what it means to go hungry in the UK and experience what it’s really like for these families.
They must deal with the physical and emotional complications their hosts have to live with and re-evaluate their own lives and priorities. The two-part documentary is also a part of this year’s Sport Relief.
Amongst the celebrity contestants will also be former Eastender Cheryl Fergison, Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing and Rachel Johnson, sister of London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The celebrities will be putting their lavish lifestyles on hold in order to experience what it’s really like for those who can’t afford the basic luxury of food.
The contestants will initially be meeting with a representative from the Children’s Society and community worker Craig Last in order to prepare for their stay with a host family.
Rachel Johnson has already been quoted telling the Daily Mail: “The poor people you see on the box are all fat. How in God’s name, can you be overweight and hungry? Now I know.”
Her host family survived off a diet of “white bread, sugar, and frozen stuff,” and she made the realisation that “poverty and obesity are two sides of the same coin.”
Paphitis, 54, will be no stranger to having earned a lot less money than he does now. He was born and raised in Limassol until about the age of nine after which he moved with his family to England.
He first took a job as a tea boy and filing clerk at a City of London insurance company and later discovered a passion for retailing. By age 23 he had set up a property finance company and cashed in on the 1980s boom.
He is best known to the public for his appearances on the BBC business programme Dragons’ Den and also as the former chairman of Millwall Football Club.
He currently has a net worth of around £210m.