Veteran crooner Chris Rea has attacked the young pop stars of today, accusing them of being bad role models for children.

The singer, 55, believes the current trend of skinny girl groups and solo artists encourages youngsters to diet and lead unhealthy lifestyles.

The father of two daughters says, "I would rather my girls followed Madonna. She always knew what sex was about and wasn't emotionally damaged by it. I'd prefer her as a role model than these silly blonde pop stars who encourage girls to be like them when they haven't eaten for 19 years.

"They send out the wrong message. The problems we have with our children are caused by this kind of rubbish. When you've been brought up serving in a working class coffee bar and moved through the music business like I have you know this nonsense isn't real, but young girls don't."