Andy Akinwolere

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Andy Akinwolere
Born (1982-11-30) 30 November 1982 (age 31)
Nigeria
Occupation Television presenter
Known for Blue Peter presenter

Andy Akinwolere (born 30 November 1982) is a British television presenter.

Early life[edit]

Akinwolere was born in Nigeria in 1982, and moved to the United Kingdom with his family when he was eight years old. They settled in Birmingham, where he was educated.

Education[edit]

Akinwolere attended St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Kings Norton, a suburb of Birmingham, and at Sheffield Hallam University, from which he graduated in 2004, with a BA degree in Media Studies.

Career[edit]

His first job was as a 'runner' for the BBC. He was asked to audition by one of the Blue Peter directors he met whilst eating out with work colleagues; he had previously intended to go into documentary-making and radio. Akinwolere began co-presenting the BBC television programme Blue Peter on 28 June 2006. He is now a senior presenter and was nominated for the prestigious Presenter of the Year Children’s BAFTA and subsequently nominated with Blue Peter the following year for Best Factual Programme.

His first challenge, as a presenter, was to complete a 150 yard abseil and an 1100 ft Hele Bungee. He has presented the show with Konnie Huq, Zöe Salmon, Gethin Jones, Helen Skelton, Joel Defries and Barney Harwood. As a presenter he has had great experience from guest presenting on CBBC’s Safari 8 to the established art show SM:ART. Akinwolere most recently presented the BBC red button coverage of the London Mini-Marathon. Akinwolere also co-presented a show held in front of a 3,000 strong crowd, and hosted Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate 50 years of Blue Peter, the most established children’s programme in the country. He also presented a ceremony in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI during his tour of the United Kingdom in September 2010. He is currently working on programme ideas with BBC Switch and BBC 2

He took part in the Ready Steady Cook TV programme, competing against fellow presenter Konnie Huq in December 2007. In the same year he appeared on the "Weakest Link" where he was the fifth to be eliminated.

He accidentally dropped the star that had topped the 70 ft (21 m) Trafalgar Square Christmas tree for ten years as he was attaching it to a crane, leaving it slightly damaged; nonetheless, he was allowed to try again once it had been taped up.[1]

On 4 April 2011, he mentioned on-air, that he was planning to leave the show, and it was also reported at the same time in his Blue Peter Blog. It had been reported two days earlier in the Daily Mail [2]

On 25 April 2011, Akinwolere was a contestant on Total Wipeout's second Celebrity Special of series 4 but had to quit in The Wipeout Zone because he hurt himself on Killer Surf. He came second in The Qualifier and Crash Mountain and came first in both Dizzy Dummies rounds.

In June 2011, he set a new world record for the deepest location for an open water swim, when he swam more than five miles across the Palau Trench in the Pacific Ocean - the first person to have done so. This was significant as 10 weeks before he was scared of water and said to be 'terrified of swimming open stretches of water.'[3][4] On 28 June that same year and after five years on the show Akinwolere made his final show on Blue Peter on the day the show was moving to Salford.

In July 2012, it was revealed that he would co-present the third season of Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge alongside Laura Hamilton.

In January 2013 he appeared in a special series of The Great British Bake Off.

Personal life[edit]

Andy has four siblings - three brothers and one sister who live in the United States - and speaks Yoruba in addition to English. His mother and father both lived abroad for a while and he spent a small part of his childhood living in Nancy, France. He has been quoted as saying he has seen 118 different cities around the world. He mentioned on Blue Peter on 8 April 2009 that he shares a flat with CBBC presenter Johny Pitts. He is an amateur photographer and has had pictures published in National Geographic Kids Magazine and the 2010 Christmas edition of Vogue Bambini. He is also a keen collector of rare vinyl and rare music.

World Record Swim[edit]

Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere has set two world records for swimming in one of the deepest stretches of water on the planet. Mr Akinwolere swam five miles across the Palau Trench, an 8,000-metre deep abyss in the Pacific Ocean. He is the first person to swim across the deepest part of the trench, and now holds the record for the deepest location for an open water swim. He took three and a half hours to complete his swim. His records were verified by the World Open Water Swimming Association. Until a few weeks ago, Mr Akinwolere was unable to swim a length and was terrified of open water. He said: "It's an absolute triumph to have completed this swim, after having had just over 10 weeks of swimming training I still cannot believe how far I've come. "I could not swim a length before this and now I have swum over one of the deepest parts of the world. "All the hours of gruelling training will be worth it if my challenge inspires more children from ethnic minorities to learn to swim."

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Description
2006–2011 Blue Peter Himself Main presenter alongside various co-presenters
2007 SMart Himself Guest presenter (one episode)
Ready Steady Cook Himself Participant alongside co-presenter Konnie Huq
2008 The Weakest Link Himself Contestant on Blue Peter special
SMart Himself Guest presenter (one episode)
2009 Coronation Street Himself Guest cameo (one episode)
2010 The Big Assembly Himself Main presenter, with Pope Benedict XVI, of school assembly simulcast to over 2000 Catholic schools and 100,500 people in Britain on 17 September
England's Worst Ever XI BBC 3 Himself Guest presenter
Teensville BBC Two Himself Main presenter
100 Greatest Toys Channel 4 Himself Guest presenter
2011 Total Wipeout Himself Contestant (had to quit in Wipeout Zone because of injury)
2012 - Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge Himself Co-presenter alongside Laura Hamilton
2013 The Great British Bake Off Himself Guest presenter

Awards[edit]

In 2008 and 2010 Akinwolere was nominated for Presenter of the year at BAFTA Children's Award. BAFTA Children's Awards 2008 nominees

References[edit]

  1. ^ "UK | Blue Peter's falling star moment". BBC News. 17 December 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Lara Gould (4 March 2011). "Now Blue Peter is in crisis as presenter Andy Akinwolere quits over move North | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Blue Peter's Andy Akinwolere sets two swimming records". BBC News. 5 June 2011. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "Andy Akinwolere Faces His Deepest Fears In Deep Water". WOWSA. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Matt Baker
Blue Peter Presenter No. 32
2006-2011
Succeeded by
Lindsey Russell