Media Medium
26 March 2001


Turner Prize

Anthea Turner must have breathed a sigh of relief at surviving
Celebrity Big Brother with her credibility intact. Can she put
the bad news of the last year behind her?

Anthea Turner must have breathed a sign of relief at surviving celebrity Big Brother with her credibility intact and even modestly restored. Can she finally put the bad news of the last year behind her?

She is a butterfly Gemini and her horoscope (12.30pm, May 25 1960, Stoke-on-Trent) shows spic and span Virgo rising - all that cleaning in the Big Brother house. Venus, planet of beauty, marriage and sweeties is exactly on her Midheaven career point. This has brought her success but it is right next to a devilish fixed star known as Caput Algol. The old astrologers linked this with beheading, which is what Anthea's critics seem to want to do to her now. She has certainly been headless in handling her PR.

From last June until this March Saturn, planet of come-downs, has been crossing this area, bringing toe-curling humiliations, especially the Cadbury's chocky bar incident at her OK! wedding to Grant Bovey. Too tacky, even for the tabloids. The next twist on Saturn's downward slide came when her revelations of beatings by former partner Bruno Brookes got no sympathy and were treated as another PR ploy. Her autobiography also bombed to a media thumbs-down.

So where do her true talents lie? Born on a New Moon in the sign of the Gemini Twins, she has the best and the worst of its qualities. Chatty, bright and adaptable, Gemini is a natural media sign and is at its best networking and communicating, at its worst when it's in wheeler-dealer, tricks and porkies mode. It is all to easy for this sign to cast itself and be cast as light and superficial. As Anthea says of herself, "I am the middle of the road, light entertainment, family viewing girl next door. Sorry! That's who I am." However, the Gemini Twins are constituted in opposites - light and dark, shallow and deep, all and nothing - but above all, they are ruled by androgynous Mercury, the mischievous trickster planet. She has the youthfulness and bright eyes of the typical Gemini, but this can be the Peter Pan sign which hates to grow up. The archetypal puer or puella, Gemini is the 'eternal youth' who abhors the sober world of age, duty and commitment. Like Gemini Bob Dylan, it must stay "forever young". Quite a problem for Anthea, now she is well-turned forty.

In celebrity Big Brother, the housemates touched on the idea of the 'persona', or mask, a much-used concept in Jungian analysis. It is our public face, and celebrity image is inevitably constituted around it, but over-identification with the mask carries the danger of losing the individual behind. Anthea's bright, Tinkerbell persona is tied in with Pluto rising at her birth, and in mythology, when this lord of the underworld ascends, he wears an invisible helmet. This casts a shadow across her relationships, concealing her authenticity and her darker, deeper Twin.

While Saturn lingers in Gemini this year, she needs to remain ultra cautious about her image. Spring and early summer 2002 bring a catalyst period when Pluto progresses square to her Sun, and this is trouble if she remains constituted only in a brittle public persona. But Geminis are adaptable and can turn their hand to many things, so Anthea does have the possibility of reinventing herself. Perhaps then we will stop using her as a hook on which to hang our own media projections.

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