Fiona Bruce

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For the politician, see Fiona Bruce (politician).
Fiona Bruce
Fiona bruce.jpg
Fiona Bruce in 2010
Born Fiona Elizabeth Bruce
(1964-04-25) 25 April 1964 (age 50)
Singapore City, Singapore
Nationality British
Education Hertford College, Oxford
Occupation Television producer, news presenter, presenter
Years active (1989-present)
Notable credit(s) BBC News at Ten
BBC News at Six
Crimewatch
Antiques Roadshow
Salary £500,000 (approx)[1]
Religion Christian
Spouse(s) Nigel Sharrocks
(1994-present)
Children Son and daughter

Fiona Elizabeth Bruce (born 25 April 1964)[2] is a British journalist, newsreader and television presenter. Since joining the BBC in 1989, she has gone on to present many flagship programmes for the corporation including the BBC News at Six, BBC News at Ten, Crimewatch, Call My Bluff and, most recently, Antiques Roadshow. From 2003 to 2007, she also anchored her own documentary series, Real Story.

Early life and education[edit]

Fiona Bruce was born in Singapore,[3] the daughter of an Englishwoman and a Scotsman who worked his way up from post boy to become managing director of a division of Unilever.[4] Her mother Rosemary was adopted.[5] Fiona has two older brothers. She was educated at Gayton Primary School in Heswall, Wirral,[6] the International School of Milan, and then the sixth form of Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College in New Cross, London. It was during this later period that she modelled for the stories in the teenage girls' magazine Jackie.[7]

Bruce studied French and Italian at Hertford College, Oxford, during which period she was a punk, and for one week had blue hair.[8]

Career[edit]

After leaving university, Bruce joined a management consultant firm for a year, but found the experience depressingly dull:[9]

After this, she worked at the advertising agency Boase Massimi Pollitt (BMP) for a couple of years (where she met her future husband, a company director).[10] She then went on to meet Tim Gardam - at that time the editor of Panorama - at a wedding and pestered him until he gave her a job as a researcher at the BBC on the programme in 1989.

News and current affairs[edit]

After becoming assistant producer on Panorama, she made the change to presenting in 1992 as a reporter for Breakfast News. She then moved to BBC South East, appearing as an occasional presenter and reporter on Newsroom South East. During this time she also appeared on some weekend main BBC News bulletins and reported for Newsnight. From 1994-95 she was a reporter on the BBC2 current affairs programme Public Eye.

In 1999, as part of a major relaunch of the BBC's news output, Bruce was named secondary presenter of the Six O'Clock News bulletin. She presented the programme as cover for main presenter Huw Edwards as well as regularly on Fridays until a presenter reshuffle in January 2003 to coincide with the retirement of Michael Buerk and the move of Peter Sissons to the BBC News channel.

Both Edwards and Bruce moved to presenting the BBC News at Ten and have presented the programme on their respective days since. By becoming presenter, she became the first woman to present the bulletin from launch in 2000. More recently, Bruce has once again taken up the role of Friday presenter and main relief presenter on the BBC's Six O'Clock News.

Following the murder of Jill Dando, Bruce took over the position of co-presenter on Crimewatch alongside Nick Ross, until both were replaced by Kirsty Young towards the end of 2007.

In 2006 in light of a court case whereby British Airways requested that a Christian employee conceal her cross because it infringed the airline's dress code, the BBC disclosed it had some concerns over the fact that Fiona Bruce often wore a cross necklace although she was not banned from doing so.[11]

Antiques programmes[edit]

In September 1998, she became the presenter for BBC2's The Antiques Show, which was in its fourth series. She presented it for a further two series, showing her interest in presenting antiques programmes nearly a decade before presenting the Antiques Roadshow.[12]

On 22 June 2007 it was announced that Bruce was to replace the retiring Michael Aspel as presenter of the Antiques Roadshow in Spring 2008.[13] She appeared in a tongue-in-cheek BBC HD advert in 2008, featuring the show (which is one of the BBC's main programs on its HD service), where she drove a car through a wall, before running towards a falling vase; the car explodes as she jumps to save the vase from crashing.

The Money Programme[edit]

Main article: The Money Programme

Bruce also occasionally presented special editions of The Money Programme. In one, she profiled the entrepreneur, Lord Alan Sugar.[14] She said of the experience: "It was a bit like being in front of a hair dryer at very close quarters. He's not backwards in coming forward in his opinions." During the documentary, Bruce – who has always publicly identified herself as a feminist – challenged Sugar's view that women should openly disclose their childcare commitments to a potential employer. Her belief was that if men were not required to declare their ability to meet the demands of their job, it wasn't right that women should do so.

Top Gear[edit]

Main article: Top Gear

Bruce was featured in an episode of Top Gear (series 10, episode 3), which saw her sharing a lift with presenter of the show, Jeremy Clarkson and then having to push him out (as he was stuck in a Peel P50, which has no reverse gear). As she walked away, Clarkson commented, without her knowledge until the programme was aired, "She does have quite a nice bottom... I said that out loud, didn't I?" Bruce returned to Top Gear in the next series (series 11, episode 4), alongside fellow newsreader Kate Silverton, for the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car feature. As a riposte for the "nice bottom" comment, she slapped Jeremy's and declared that it "needs a bit of work". Since then, she has also occasionally stood in for a holidaying Clarkson in his Sunday Times car review column, which she referred to as the ultimate revenge; "perching my bottom – nice or otherwise – on his patch."[15]

Children in Need[edit]

Main article: Children in Need

A less serious side of Bruce is also displayed each year on the BBC's Children in Need telethon, in the regular section where newsreaders break out from behind their desks to take part in a song and dance number. Having a better singing voice than most of her colleagues, her turn in the 2007 performance, as Velma Kelly – with a rendition of "All That Jazz" – so impressed the makers of the revival production of Chicago that they invited her to the London performance of the 10th anniversary gala, where she appeared on stage in a parade of Velmas.[16]

Victoria: A Royal Love Story[edit]

In 2010 Victoria: A Royal Love Story is a BBC documentary written and presented by Fiona Bruce charting the story of one of history's great royal love affairs between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and in the twenty years they spent together they gave each other a dazzling collection of paintings, sculptures, and jewellery that shows a new and passionate side of the royal couple.

Fake or Fortune?[edit]

Main article: Fake or Fortune?

In 2011, she co-hosted with Philip Mould the series Fake or Fortune?, looking at the process of using modern techniques to establish the authenticity of works of art which have divided opinion amongst art experts.[11]

The Queen's Palaces[edit]

Main article: The Queen's Palaces

In 2011, The Queen's Palaces is a BBC documentary in three parts written and presented by Bruce that tells the story of the Queen's three official residences, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse which are amongst the few working royal palaces in the world today.[17]

Parody[edit]

In the TV version of the satirical impressions show Dead Ringers Bruce is parodied by Jan Ravens, ruthlessly exaggerating her idiosyncratic feline mannerisms through overt sexual innuendo. For example, "Hello, my name is Fiona Bruce and let me tell you there's no hosepipe ban when I'm around", "Hello, my name is Fiona Bruce sitting on the luckiest chair in Britain",[4] and "Hello, I'm Fiona Bruce; don't touch what you can't afford."

Bruce claims that she does not recognise Ravens' portrayal of her as a genuine part of her character, but says she is flattered by the attention it provokes. "People don't start salivating when I go into the newsroom. I can’t think of anything further from the truth. But if Jan Ravens chose to see me like that, well then: result."

Referring to Jeremy Clarkson's adoration of her — he once described her as "agonisingly gorgeous"[18] — she remarked, "In my 20s, I was virulently opposed to anyone commenting on my appearance. But it’s not an issue for me now. If he pays me a compliment, then fine, how nice. Thanks Jeremy."[19]

Political causes[edit]

Bruce has often been outspoken regarding her commitment to feminism, expressing concern at a 2006 poll that suggested almost three quarters of women no longer saw feminism as necessary; "The contradictions are still there [in society] which is why I think feminism is still very relevant for me and it's just such a shame that it's become a byword for mustachioed, man-hating women from Lebanon."[20] Despite her firm views on the subject – including a "disappointment" in women who don't like working with other women[20] – she claims to have softened her more extreme views from her university days, where she once ran a "hilarious" anti-pornography campaign. More recently, she has also contributed to Sky Real Lives' Embarrassing Problems, a show about promoting health and well-being, where she called for women to be as open as possible about reproductive conditions.[21]

Fathers 4 Justice controversy[edit]

Bruce was criticised for showing "blatant bias" when interviewing Matt O'Connor, founder of Fathers 4 Justice, for a BBC programme in 2004.[22] Bruce, who had featured in advertising campaigns for the feminist charity Women's Aid, was accused of having an axe to grind on the issue of domestic violence. Many, including O'Connor, felt she let her own personal view on domestic violence as an issue of gender take over the programme.[23] There were also concerns that O'Connor had originally been invited to speak about CAFCASS and the Family Courts, yet the programme was changed to focus on domestic violence.[24]

Later, a BBC Committee, investigating on behalf of the BBC Governors, concluded that there were "some weaknesses" in the programme when considered against the BBC's journalistic values of "Truth and Accuracy, Serving the Public Interest, Impartiality and Diversity of Opinion, Independence and Accountability" but that the programme "still made a valuable contribution to the debate on parental rights". Overall the Committee "did not think that these matters were sufficient to constitute a serious breach of editorial standards" and found that "the programme had provided appropriate and balanced information around the allegation that violent men had infiltrated F4J".[25]

Charity work[edit]

Bruce is an Honorary Vice President of optical charity Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) alongside fellow newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald. In February 2005 Bruce did the voice-over for VAO's Lifeline Appeal. In 2007 Bruce launched VAO's Annual Review. Later that year she was one of nine female celebrities to take part in the What's it going to take? campaign for the feminist charity Women's Aid.

In 2009, the NSPCC inducted her into its Hall of Fame in honour of her continued work on their behalf. In accepting the honour, she said, "The work of the NSPCC and ChildLine is desperately important and I do little compared to what needs to be done. But I'm very honoured to be included in the Hall of Fame."[26]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2009, aged 45, Bruce ranked at Number 98 in FHM's list of 100 Sexiest Women, the oldest entrant on that particular list. The following year, her noted derrière became headline news after some viewers of her art documentary Victoria: A Royal Love Story complained that shots of her from behind, while wearing tight trousers, were too frequent.[27] The attention raised from this saw her awarded the female Rear of the Year title for 2010.[28] Bruce later condemned the award, calling it "hypocritical and demeaning".[29]

Personal life[edit]

Bruce met Nigel Sharrocks when he was director of the advertising agency where she worked.[4] He is non-executive chairman of Digital Cinema Media.[30] They married in July 1994 in Islington. The couple have two children, son Sam (born January 1998) and daughter Mia[9] (born November 2001), and live in Sydenham, Oxfordshire.[31] Bruce encountered much publicity for her decision to return to work with Crimewatch 16 days after the birth of baby Mia.[32][33]

Financial affairs[edit]

Bruce set up a service company called "Paradox Productions". Daily Telegraph journalist Stephen Adams alleged in 2009 the purpose of the company is for Bruce to avoid paying then 50p tax rate as it enables her to be employed freelance by the BBC. A number of other highly paid BBC staff also use the practice.[34] Bruce is paid approximately £500,000 per year by the BBC.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/news/home-news/pay-packets-of-the-bbc-s-star-players-1.1132345[dead link]
  2. ^ Profile of Fiona Bruce. Hello magazine. Accessed from 7 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Fiona Bruce's Singapore". The Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group Limited). 13 September 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Cadwallader, Carole (6 August 2006). "'I'm no career bitch'". London: The Observer. Retrieved 26 January 2008. 
  5. ^ Sharon Feinstein (24 October 1999). "The day I discovered my long-lost family". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 26 January 2008. 
  6. ^ "Paul O'Grady Show". 23 October 2009.
  7. ^ "Fiona Bruce Modelled for Jackie Magazine". Merry Media News. 9 April 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2007. 
  8. ^ "60 SECONDS: Fiona Bruce". Metro. Associated Metro Limited. 12 December 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2007. 
  9. ^ a b Wallis, Lucy (18 December 2003). "Fiona Bruce's wild days". BBC News. Retrieved 26 January 2008. 
  10. ^ "Sex, lies and hospital dramas; Crimewatch's Fiona Bruce confesses to a little white lie that had painful repercussions.". Daily Mirror. 5 August 2000. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Cross row stokes Christian anger". BBC Online. 15 October 2006. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Antiques Show British Film Institute
  13. ^ "Bruce to host Antiques Roadshow". BBC News. 22 June 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2007. 
  14. ^ "Bruce hosts Sir Alan Sugar documentary" Digital Spy
  15. ^ Bruce, Fiona (1 March 2009). "Ferrari 430 Scuderia". Times Online (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. (subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ A Decade of Chicago Giving London "The Ol' Razzle Dazzle" Broadway in London, 10 December 2007
  17. ^ Official BBC site
  18. ^ Clarkson, Jeremy (7 January 2007). "Volvo XC90 V8 Sport". Times Online (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. (subscription required (help)). 
  19. ^ Pettie, Andrew (30 January 2009). "Interview: Fiona Bruce — Ahead of her appearance on the BBC1 family history series Who Do You Think You Are? Fiona Bruce answers her critics — and impersonators". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Cadwalladr, Carole (6 August 2006). "I'm no career bitch". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  21. ^ Fiona Bruce Video on Embarrassing Problems Sky Real Lives
  22. ^ Lewis, Mike (25 November 2004). "Was Real Story 'the real story'?". BBC. Retrieved 15 May 2007. 
  23. ^ BBC's Fiona Bruce
  24. ^ Hinsliff, Gaby (21 November 2004). "Angry fathers attack 'biased' Bruce". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  25. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/appeals/govs/apps_aprjun2005.pdf
  26. ^ NSPCC[dead link]
  27. ^ No, they said an 'arts' show: Fiona Bruce's derriere hogs the screen in tight-fitting jeans Mail Online, 16 March 2010
  28. ^ Fiona Bruce collects Rear Of The Year trophy The Independent, 9 June 2010.
  29. ^ The Telegraph, 13 June 2011.
  30. ^ "Nigel Sharrocks". The Drum. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  31. ^ Jardine, Cassandra (28 June 2007). "'Life is very good'". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 26 January 2008. 
  32. ^ 'I am not a mad career monster' Telegraph, 27 November 2001
  33. ^ Emma Burstall: New mothers have a job already – they just don't go to the office The Independent, 11 January 2009
  34. ^ Adams, Stephen (4 October 2009). "BBC presenters set up companies to avoid 50 per cent tax rate". The Daily Telegraph (London). 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Jill Dando
Main presenter of Crimewatch
1999 – 2007
Succeeded by
Kirsty Young
Preceded by
Michael Aspel
Main presenter of Antiques Roadshow
2008 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Michael Buerk
Deputy presenter of BBC News at Ten
2003 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Jill Dando (first run)
Sian Williams (second run)
Deputy presenter of BBC News at Six
1999 – 2003 , 2008 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Peter Sissons
Presenter of BBC Weekend News
2000 – 2005
Succeeded by
Mishal Husain & Emily Maitlis