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Former TV presenter declared bankrupt

A TV celebrity who has battled with bipolar disorder and anorexia among a series of health problems, has been declared bankrupt.

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Gail Porter, 45, has racked up more than £100,000 in tax debts owed to HMRC – which has now called in the debt.

 

Porter gained popularity in the 1990s after presenting Top of the Pops and The Big Breakfast – both household staples of television at the time that are no longer broadcast.

 

In recent years she appeared as an entertainment pundit for Channel 5 and endured a stint on the channel’s Celebrity Big Brother.

 

Since her heyday as a presenter, the former TV presenter has suffered a string of mental and physical health illnesses during the past two decades.

 

She has battled with aneroxia, post-natal depression and been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She also suffers from alopecia, which left her bald and impacted her career.

 

After a breakdown in 2011, she was sectioned in the psychiatric unit at The Royal Free Hospital for 17 days under the Mental Health Act.

 

In recent years Porter’s career turned a corner, as she appeared on Radio Scotland panel show The Fame Game and picked up work as a pundit for Channel 5 compilation shows.

 

She has also undertaken charity work, completing a 50km trek across England and Wales for Mind, the mental health charity.

 

But during this time she has accumulated unpaid tax bills. Unable to repay the tax authority in full, she was declared bankrupt at the High Court of Justice on January 17.

 

Porter’s is the latest in a steady stream of celebrity bankruptcies in the past five years, including Duncan James, singer with naughties boyband Blue, ex Eastenders star Martine McCutcheon and reality TV and popstar Kerry Katona.

 

Accountancy firm Mazars, which is appointed on more bankruptcies than any other firm in the UK every year, said this trend is largely due to celebrities’ inability to manage their tax affairs.

 

Paul Rouse, partner and head of the National Creditor Services division of Mazars, said: “Often, a celebrity has a sporadic income, with small peaks and long troughs.

 

“In this age of 15 minutes of fame, the lifestyle that they aspire to and the lifestyle that they enjoy when times are good and when work floods in, is unsustainable when times are bad, either professionally and personally.

 

"Often there is a sad tale behind the scenes and they are not always well represented or advised properly in matters of finance.”

 

He added: “An insolvency practitioner will now likely be appointed to manage Gail’s affairs and hopefully this will allow her to get back on her feet financially.

 

"Being in this position can cause a great deal of stress; but Gail can take advantage of some of the free advice and support on offer, from charities such as Mind, StepChange Debt Charity and Rethink.”

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