7:30am Tuesday 3rd July 2007
By Andy Whelan
TV fashion gurus Trinny and Susannah clashed with the county's Pagan chiefs after they gave the Long Man of Wilmington a sex change.
About 22 Pagans gathered beside the historical and religious site to protest against filming by ITV.
The Long Man has been given a sex change as part of the new five-part series, Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation.
ITV invited 100 women from Sussex to take part in the show and change the shape of the Long Man by lying on its outline.
Pagans are angry people have trampled across the religious site to decorate it with breasts, pigtails and rounded hips.
They are also concerned about the damage the TV crew and participants could do to the archaeological site.
Druid battle chieftain Arthur Pendragon, 53, who is nomadic, said: "We are very angry because this is so disrespectful.
We, the Pagans, would not in our wildest dreams consider putting female breasts and clothing on effigies of any of the Holy Prophets, be it Jesus Christ, Buddha or any other revered figure of another faith.
"Why, then, does ITV commission Trinny and Susannah to do so at the Long Man of Wilmington?"
TV crews and volunteers arrived on the South Downs on Sunday for a dress rehearsal and the show was filmed yesterday.
Druid Greg Draven, 31, of Larch Gardens, Eastbourne, helped organise the protest.
He said: "We decided to protest to make them aware of our views.
"We spoke to Trinny and Susannah.
"We told them what we thought about their show and they told us their views.
"I oppose this for two reasons. One is the offence to my spiritual belief because this is a sacred site. The other is because it is an archaeological site which already suffers from soil erosion.
"There is a sign at the bottom of the hill which tells people to keep off the Long Man."
Pagan Siobhan Thomas, 35, of Felbridge Close, East Grinstead, said: "The feeling among the Pagan community was those who took part in the show had no idea what the site actually is.
"I feel it was disrespectful there were breasts and pigtails put on the Long Man.
"In my view they could have done the same thing in the field next to the Long Man by copying its dimensions."
Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine were given permission to film at the Long Man by the Sussex Archaeological Society.
The Long Man is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and has been owned and maintained by the Sussex Archaeo l o g i c a l S o c i e t y since 1925, when it was given to the society by the ninth Duke of Devonshire.
Archaeologists have examined the Long Man on numerous occasions and concluded it was created in the 16th century. The earliest written evidence is dated 1711.
An ITV spokeswoman said the crew and volunteers stopped lying on the white cinder blocks after being advised not to by the Sussex Archaeological Society yesterday.
She said: "ITV has sought and gained the relevant permission from the Sussex Archeological Society for the purposes of filming around the public area of the Long Man of Wilmington.
"The utmost care will be taken to protect this historical site and representatives from the society will oversee the filming.
"The figure itself will not be permanently changed or affected in any way."
The Sussex Archeological Society was unaware people were lying on the white cinder blocks during the dress rehearsal.
A spokeswoman for the society said they told the crew to stop volunteers lying on the blocks when they found out.
She said: "As the site is a scheduled ancient monument, it is an offence to damage the Long Man.
"Our professional staff judged that the activities involved in filming this sequence, essentially walking and lying on the monument, will not damage the archaeology underneath.
"Thousands of scheduled ancient monuments are walked on every year, not least Stonehenge at the recent solstice."
Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation will be screened in the autumn.
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