Police managed to break up a potential riot outside a west London court yesterday as fans of female TV presenters confronted each other.
The fans gathered to support three men facing assault and damage charges following a brawl during the filming of Newsnight earlier this month.
They appeared on the programme to discuss whether top female documentary presenters should try for more ratings by presenting naked (Spoof report, Sept 10).
Subjects of the fans' adulation are Alice Roberts, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Bettany Hughes. Two groups are divided over whether they should take their clothes off or wear "sensible" outdoor gear.
A third set - the Bettany Hughes Is A Top Historian Club -believe that the women should be accepted simply as the professionals they are.
The story has been snowballing since August 26 when one of the men explained his group's desire to see more of Dr Roberts in programmes like Coast and Digging For Britain.
When the cases were adjourned yesterday, the three accused - Bernard Frot, Fred Ilkley-Moor and Lawrence Chondroitin - emerged to cheers and catcalls from the groups who had gathered at the court.
A police spokesman said: "About 200 people had gathered to see the men. Some had placards saying 'Get 'em off girls,' others 'Brains not bosoms' and so on. We identified groups supporting more presenters like Kate Humble and Kirsty Wark in the crowd.
"Initially we only had a couple of officers at the scene, but we despatched riot control officers and managed to defuse the situation."
But the potential for trouble has not disappeared. The groups have promised to come out in support when the men appear in court again next month.
Colin Verdi, of Viewers For Kirsty Wark's Cleavage, said: "We plan to come and support Bernard next time - he's standing up for what a lot of us want."