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Now actress is one of the nudes of the world.

Byline: Hannah Jones

Here's a thought which may put you off your breakfast: I don't, can't and won't sleep with anything on.

Still with me? Good. I'm am neither a hussy or an exhibitionist but I just can't cwtch up in a nightie, pyjamas or pair of knickers.

I can't get comfortable and that's from someone who could sleep on a chicken's lip.

My friends know this about me, and realise that if I'm ever in the position of having to share a bed with them out of necessity, the kit has to come off.

However, I certainly don't embrace nakedness. If it could be accomplished, I'd shower fully clothed.

My body isn't something I'm that comfortable with and I'm certainly not built - emotionally or physically - to be , run their fingers through their hair and head off to the kitchen to make a full English breakfast (wholemeal toast and the fat cut off the bacon, naturally).

No, I'm too busy trying to get out of bed without the aid of an industrial-sized hoist in the first place.

Nakedness, for me, isn't empowering.

But for actress Lara Pulver, it has been.

Although you may not know the name, she will be forever now known as That Woman Who Stripped Off In Sherlock Before The 9am Watershed.

And although I've personally seen more skin in a shower gel advert - or in any art gallery at any time of the day - it's got the prude brigade bristling.

To be honest, I don't really care about the rights and wrongs of the morality issues. I'm more Barbara Woodhouse than Mary Whitehouse when it comes to that. What's tickled me about this whole issue is that Lara said she found the whole stripping off for zillions of viewers "empowering".

She obviously didn't feel naked being, well, naked.

Lara appeared in the first episode of the series as dominatrix Irene Adler, who stripped down to her birthday suit, much to the surprise of the straitlaced detective.

The actress said she was given "invisible" props to cover her modesty as she filmed the scenes.

But when director Paul McGuigan said to her they could spend hours shooting it to avoid seeing straps then suggested she could just take it all off so he could shoot it quickly, time, it seemed, was of the essence.

"I thought I couldn't put myself through being there all day, practically naked anyway, so I might as well get completely naked and get it done in a few hours," she said.

Asked by her co-star Una Stubbs, who plays Sherlock's landlady Mrs Hudson: "So you took it all off?" Pulver replied: "Yes... There's nothing to hide behind, no mask, and something really empowering takes over."

Hmmm.... do you think that if someone shaped like me (and I'm assured round is a shape by my doctor) was an actress and started parading about in a pair of high heels, sparkly earrings and a dash of Eau du Starkers on the telly, that I would be applauded for baring all? I'd be Gok Wan-ed before you could say some of us really, really don't look good naked.

One hundred viewers (out or more than 10 million who switched on mind you) complained about the scene where perfect, confident Lara's character stripped naked to surprise Sherlock when he came to her house to question her.

It wasn't for, well, titillation though. Oh no - it was done to honour the work.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Holmes, said he thought it was great publicity for the show and told the Radio Times: "I think there's an awful lot of support for the way that we did it and the taste that we did it with.

"And if it creates more interest in the programme, thank you very much for that.

"It's not supposed to be a source of stimulation for the audience.

"It's supposed to throw Holmes' radar off, which is exactly what it does."

Shall I tell you exactly what throws regular people off their stride, Ben boy? Accidental nakedness, or being caught out looking not entirely dressed but positively, completely, utterly stupid.

Exhibit A: The one and only time I went to a nightclub.

There I was, thinking I was the kiddie strutting through a hallway made up of mirrors when I noticed, in one of them, that my dress was caught in my knickers.

Bright yellow knickers. Did that throw me off my stride? Come on, why do you think it's the only time I've ever been to a nightclub? I'm not going to run the risk of ritual humiliation to a Stock, Aitken and Waterman soundtrack again.

Nakedness is fine in the right context, even if that is 8.30pm on a Sunday night for us all to see. Or not, as the case may be.

But empowering? For mere mortals, looking down when fully clothed and feeling fine is perhaps as good as it'll get.


* Actress Lara Pulver says she found stripping off for the BBC Sherlock Holmes series empowering
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 13, 2012
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