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Fun-size Bridget Jones hasn't even a slim chance of pleasing her fans

IT'S never going to work. Giving us a slim Bridget Jones in the upcoming sequel is like Superman without his red cape.

Bridget, a woman who occupies a special place in the hearts and minds of women the world over, is a good size 14 with saddle bags and a big bottom and wobbly thighs.

Yet if, as has been so breathlessly reported in recent days, actress Renee Zellweger reinhabits the character for a third film, she'll be doing it from the smug confines of a svelte size eight figure.

Thanks, but no thanks.

There's only one Bridget Jones, and she's certainly not a waif-like creature with a washboard stomach.

A word to the wise for the brains behind this production, it's a disastrous idea. Why mess with something that's not broken? Why tamper with the emotions of millions of women who adored the hapless Bridget in the original Helen Fielding books and in the movie adaptations?

We all identified with the cuddly character and her endless dieting, her love affair with wine, her angst at not having a partner for awkward family occasions, and of course those horrendous granny knickers that suppressed the worst lumps and bumps.

We felt her pain when she was treated like dirt by her cad of a boss Daniel Cleaver and we swooned when she found romance with the dashing Mr Darcy.

Okay, so in real life a smouldering Colin Firth probably wouldn't settle for a pudgy neurotic with bunny boiler tendencies, but that's the beauty of Bridget's story.

Hers was the ultimate fairytale, a story of a plain Jane who was swept into the arms of a magnetic, successful lawyer.

Frankly, I'd be rather bored by the prospect of watching Firth and a still-slim Ms Zellweger canoodling on screen. If the talented actress remains at her current dimensions, then surely she's just feeding into the banality of Hollywood which decrees that handsome leading men get together with gorgeous, slim leading ladies.

Where's the entertainment when they get dressed up to go to formal events in the third film? Slim Bridget can simply pull on any old dress and look dazzling.

Yet it could never live up to the hilarity that ensued when plump Bridget attempted to squeeze herself into a ball gown by way of a torturous roll-on device.

Audiences love Bridget because they understand her insecurities. Give us a drastically reduced version of the character and we stop finding similarities.

If the new film follows Helen Fielding's last instalment of newspaper columns, the new funsize Bridget could find herself in the midst of a paternity crisis, not knowing whether Darcy or Cleaver is the father of her unborn child.

It should be a riveting storyline, and yet I'm already switched off.

Take those extra inches off gaffe-prone Bridget's hips and all of a sudden she ceases to be the girl who taught a generation that it's okay to be single and wanting to find love.

With her innocent round face, her low self-esteem and her spirited eternal optimism that Prince Charming is just around the corner, Zellweger's original Bridget Jones was a genuine inspiration.

She taught us to laugh at our own physical failings, to suck in the stomach and thrust the chest out with a confidence we may not have felt.

And when crisis struck, she showed us how to unleash our inner screaming harridan.

When we looked into mirrors, we saw a bit of Bridget in ourselves and it was strangely comforting.

Ask any Bridget Jones fan and they'll tell you they genuinely loved every flabby, pimpled bit of her.

So why on earth would anyone want to make less of the woman we all know and love?