Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

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Tara Palmer-Tomkinson
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.jpg
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson
Born (1971-12-23) 23 December 1971 (age 43)
Hampshire, England
Occupation Author

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson (born 23 December 1971) also known as T P-T,[1] is an English socialite, "it girl", television presenter, columnist, model and charity patron.[2] Her activities have been well-covered by the British tabloid press, and in the mid to late 1990s, she wrote a weekly column for the Sunday Times and subsequently contributed to The Spectator, The Mail on Sunday, GQ, Eve, Harpers and Queen, Tatler, InStyle and The Observer sporadically.

Early life[edit]

Her parents are Charles and Patricia Palmer-Tomkinson (née Dawson). Palmer-Tomkinson's father has represented his country as a skier at Olympic level. Tara grew up on her parents' estate in Dummer, Hampshire, and was educated first at Hanford School,[3] then at Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset. After she left school she worked briefly in the City of London for Rothschilds bank.

Television appearances[edit]

In 2002, her public profile was revitalised[clarification needed] when she made an appearance on the British television series I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, finishing runner up. This included being gunged in the "Jungle Shower", one of the first 'bush tucker' trials. In November 2005, Palmer-Tomkinson presented her third 'behind the scenes' series on ITV2 for the hit show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here! Now.

She has also appeared on the reality shows Spelling Bee and Cold Turkey, which followed her attempts to quit smoking with Sophie Anderton, celebrity specials of A Place in the Sun and Blind Date and in episodes of Tabloid Tales, With a Little Help from my Friends, Russian Roulette, Celebrities Under Pressure and Project Catwalk. Palmer-Tomkinson also appeared on Top Gear in 2002 as their "star in a reasonably-priced car".

Palmer-Tomkinson's presenting credits include Animals Do the Funniest things with Tony Blackburn, Junior Eurovision, The British Comedy Awards...Party On, What Kids Really Think, Popworld, Top of the Pops, SM:TV Live, Company Magazine Bachelor of the Year, Dumb Britain, Extreme, a role as a team captain on Bognor or Bust which was hosted by Angus Deayton and work for GMTV, Five, LBC radio, the music channel The Hits and the Living TV programme Dirty Cows.[4]

Palmer-Tomkinson is a regular talking head on celebrity based documentaries and in 2005, was named Woman of the Year by New Woman magazine. She played herself in the film Mad Cows[5] and an episode of Footballers Wives, has acted in a film version of An Ideal Husband and was for a period the face of Walkers Crisps replacing Victoria Beckham. She appeared on an episode of Airline as a member of EasyJet Cabin Crew for a day.

In 2014, Tara appeared on the celebrity special edition of The Jeremy Kyle Show in which she revealed the depths of her cocaine addiction and the truth behind her reported relapse.

Palmer-Tomkinson has been a contestant on Comic Relief Does Fame Academy for the BBC. She gave away tickets to see her compete in the show to "ordinary people" who had helped her out (the other contestants generally giving their free tickets to other celebrities). She invited the policeman who found her stolen car, the locksmith who helped when she was locked out of her house and her parents' local shopkeepers.[6] On Friday 16 March 2007 (Red Nose Day – Comic Relief) Tara won Comic Relief Does Fame Academy, beating Tricia Penrose in the final. She was a guest on the BBC's Would I Lie to You?, a comedy quiz which was aired in the spring of 2007 and August 2008, alongside regulars Lee Mack and David Mitchell. In episode 7 of series 2, she revealed that she had been shopping in Sainsbury's "wearing nothing but a trenchcoat".[7]

Other work[edit]

Palmer-Tomkinson plays the piano, as was demonstrated at events at the Royal Festival Hall with the National Symphony Orchestra, at the Royal Albert Hall with Mozart, and at The Coliseum during a Leonard Bernstein Tribute. She was also the star host of the Classic FM Gramophone Awards 2005. She once said she practises the piano daily for around 90 minutes.[8]

She will be releasing an album of self-written music (originally planned for January 2008), which will be preceded by a single, I Don't Need You Anymore which she revealed is "about a narcotic, but I guess if you were listening to it, you could relate it to anything you liked."[9]

In September 2007 her book The Naughty Girl's Guide to Life, co-authored with Sharon Marshall, was published by Sphere.[10] It was serialised in The Sunday Times Style magazine and reviewed widely.[11]

In October 2010 her first novel, Inheritance, was published by Pan Books.[12]

From November 2013 Tara was Patron of Scottish charity Speur Ghlan for a year. Speur Ghlan delivers early intervention for young children diagnosed with autism or developmental delays. The appointment garnered media attention for having been facilitated through social media.[13][14][15] She announced her acceptance of the role with the statement "It is a huge honour to have been chosen as patron of the Speur-Ghlan charity; I have been following with admiration the tireless work it does to bring help to children who have an autism diagnosis or developmental delay, and very importantly, the families and friends who surround them." The following year Palmer-Tomkinson herself was diagnosed with "high degree of autism. According to Palmer-Tomkinson the diagnosis "was a shock but could explain why I’ve always lived my life at such a frantic level".[16]



  • Inheritance (2010)
  • Infidelity (2012)

Other Books[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson by Paul Harvey

Personal life[edit]

Palmer-Tomkinson hails from a family of landowners and Olympians. Her paternal great-great-grandfather was the landowner, and Liberal politician, James Tomkinson. His wife, Emily Frances, was the daughter of Sir George Palmer, 3rd Baronet. Palmer-Tomkinson's grandfather James Palmer-Tomkinson, uncle Jeremy Palmer-Tomkinson and father Charles have all competed at multiple Winter Olympic Games. Palmer-Tomkinson is the youngest of three children. She has a brother James and a sister, Santa Montefiore (née Palmer-Tomkinson). Her brother-in-law is the historian Simon Sebag Montefiore.

Palmer-Tomkinson's family have a close relationship with the British Royal Family. Her parents are friends of The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. She attended the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

In 1999, she was treated at the Meadows clinic in Arizona for a cocaine addiction, and since her recovery has supported various drugs charities.[18]

In 2006, Palmer-Tomkinson received extensive publicity after her septum nasi collapsed due to her former £400-a-day addiction to cocaine. Pictures were printed in several British tabloids. She underwent cosmetic surgery to have it rebuilt, at a cost of £6,000.[19] Some sources claim the surgery was carried out by cranio-facial surgeon Martin Kelly, the late husband of actress Natascha McElhone.[20]

On 22 December 2014, Palmer-Tomkinson was arrested at Heathrow airport.[21] This followed her reaction to being refused access to a first-class lounge.[21] Following her arrest, the former reality television star said a panic attack triggered her behaviour. She stated "I wasn't drunk, there was no disorderly. I was cautioned, I saw a doctor, they were nice to me.", before flying to Switzerland to celebrate her 43rd birthday.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Walker, Andrew (30 August 2002). "BBC News "Tara Palmer-Tomkinson: Still got It?"". Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "It-girl Tara backs autism charity". The Herald Scotland. 2 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Swann, Yvonne (13 February 2009). "Me and my school photo: Tara Palmer-Tomkinson". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Tara bags the prize in her TV dating show". Daily Mail (London). 8 September 2007. 
  5. ^ "Mad Cows". IMDb. Retrieved 7 July 2008. 
  6. ^ "Sky News "Tara's Kind Gesture"". 
  7. ^ "Would I Lie to You?". Would I Lie To You?. Series 2. Episode 7. 22 August 2008. BBC.
  8. ^ "This Is London "My Life is so Lonely"". 
  9. ^ "Tara's Musical Plans". Sky News. 11 December 2007. 
  10. ^ Palmer-Tomkinson, Tara; Marshall, Sarah (2007). The Naughty Girl's Guide to Life. Sphere. ISBN 1-84744-137-8. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Sharon Marshall (12 August 2007). "The naughty girl’s guide to life". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  12. ^ Palmer-Tomkinson, Tara (2010). Inheritance. Pan Books. ISBN 978-0-330-51326-5. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Tara P-T named as charity patron". Paisley Daily Express. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "Tara P-T named as charity patron". Localnews.co.uk. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "Breaking News: Tara P-T". A&C Advertiser. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  16. ^ I'm not on drugs... I only seem odd because I'm autistic: Yes, I've had drink problems, says Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, but now if you spot me wild-eyed and tearful, it's NOT what you think Daily mail 2 August 2014
  17. ^ Milner, Frank ed. The Stuckists Punk Victorian, p.76, National Museums Liverpool 2004. ISBN 1-902700-27-9
  18. ^ "Daily Mail "The terrible toll cocaine has taken on Tara's face"". London. 29 June 2006. 
  19. ^ "Sky News "Tara's Drugs Ban"". 
  20. ^ Margarette Driscoll (14 September 2008). "Interview: Natascha McElhone". The Times (London). Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  21. ^ a b c . Sky News. 22 December 2014 http://news.sky.com/story/1396092/tara-palmer-tomkinson-arrested-at-heathrow. Retrieved 23 December 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Edith Bowman
Comic Relief Does Fame Academy Winner
Series 3 (2007)
Succeeded by