It seems, according to a bbc.co.uk report that Ms Katona arrived just in time for her interview, therefore the producers of her show had no time to "assess" her beforehand.
Fern referred to Katona's past addiction problems - fairly, I thought, not only because they're in the public domain, but because they were obviously worried about her; Schofield's manner was redolent of a Dad concerned for a friend that his daughter's brought home in a vulnerable state.
Mark Croft, Katona's husband, referred to "bipolar depression", by which I imagine he means bipolar affective disorder where, when active, depression is the predominant feature - I'm not being pedantic, I have the same thing. (And when I'm ill there's no stopping me from doing something I've sent my mind on.)
Croft states she's on medication, as am I. And there's the rub: medication for many mental illnesses can have some quite distressing side effects, which can include slurring of speech. Once I experienced this when one of my meds was raised, and on another occasion when a med was changed I was shaking and sweating until my body got used to it...I was mortified, imagining that people would see me coming into work in the morning with the shakes and perspiring, and draw what they might think was the obvious conclusion. The media's mentioning that she might be on Chlorpromazine - this med is so powerful that in the prison system they used to refer to it as "liquid cosh".
Any other substances can interfere with the levels of medications in your body - for example, paracetamol can keep the liver busy, which means that your blood-levels of other meds build up for a while. Alcohol can have the same effect: as Katona pointed out, she's 28 and can drink if she wants to. Painkillers taken for a hangover can complicate the picture further.
But the crux of the issue is, was Kerry ambushed? Not a bit of it, in my opinion. It might have been more comfortable for Kerry had Phil and Fern glossed over the difficulties she was obvioulsy having, but she would have faced a lot more questions today, especially as she's being followed around by a camera crew for some sort of reality show.
And Phil and Fern would find themselves being accused of collusion. You know, the sort of situation where Mother tells the kids to go to bed early again because "Dad's not well". I don't imagine it was a bundle of laughs for them asking Kerry what was wrong, but they did the right thing and I believe they will come to be vindicated for it. As Fern said:
We are just concerned for you because you're bubbly, you're funny, you're beautiful, you're quick-witted - all of those things, and we can't bear to see you not looking the Kerry we know.So well done, Philip and Fern, and get well soon, Kerry.