Vanessa Feltz

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Vanessa Feltz
Vanessa feltz podium.jpg
Vanessa Feltz at the Stonewall Awards 2011
Born Vanessa Jane Feltz
(1962-02-21) 21 February 1962 (age 52)
Islington, London, England, UK
Nationality British
Education Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls
Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Broadcaster, journalist
Years active 1980s–present
Notable credit(s) Presenting:
The Big Breakfast
(Channel 4)
Vanessa
(ITV)
Vanessa's Real Lives
(ITV)
The Vanessa Show
(BBC One 1998-9, Channel 5 2011)
Being a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother 2001
Ultimate Big Brother (2010) (Channel 4)
Columnist The Daily Express
Spouse(s) Michael Kurer (m. 1983–2000) (divorced)[1]
Partner(s) Ben Ofoedu
(2006–present)
Children Allegra (born 1986)
Saskia (born 1989)

Vanessa Jane Feltz (born 21 February 1962) is an English television personality, broadcaster and journalist. She currently presents an early morning radio show on BBC Radio 2 and a mid morning phone-in show on BBC London 94.9. In January 2011, she started hosting The Vanessa Show on Channel 5. The series ended on 24 June. Feltz is a freelance broadcaster.

Early life[edit]

Vanessa Feltz was born in Islington, London, and grew up in Pine Grove, Totteridge. On her radio show she frequently refers to Totteridge as "the Beverly Hills of North London", and her middle class Jewish background as like "growing up in Fiddler on the Roof".

Her father Norman was in the lingerie business.[1] Her mother Valerie (née Ohrenstein) was a housewife who died of cancer at the age of 57 in 1995.[2] She has one sister, three years younger.

Feltz was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls, an independent school in Elstree, Hertfordshire. She then went on to study at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a First Class Honours degree in English.[3]

Career[edit]

1980s & 1990s: Career background[edit]

After she left university Feltz moved from temping work to writing for The Jewish Chronicle then the Daily Mirror.[citation needed] She often specialised in sex advice, writing for the magazine Men Only, and her sex tips for girls book called What Are These Strawberries Doing on My Nipples? I Need Them For The Fruit Salad![4] She also presented a Jewish radio show on BBC GLR (now BBC London 94.9).[citation needed] She replaced Paula Yates on Channel 4 morning TV show The Big Breakfast, presenting a regular item where she interviewed celebrities whilst lying on a bed. She also presented a show called Value for Money.[citation needed]

She presented the ITV daytime television chat show Vanessa, made by independent TV company Anglia Television. She moved to the BBC to host a similar show, The Vanessa Show, in 1998 in a reported £2.7 million deal.[5] ITV replaced her show with Trisha.

In 1999 The Vanessa Show show suffered from bad publicity as some guests were alleged to have been actors. Despite having had no involvement in the booking of guests, she was seen to be at fault and the show was cancelled soon after.[6]

2000s: Celebrity Big Brother and reality television[edit]

In 2001, Feltz was a contestant on the first series of Celebrity Big Brother. She has appeared on its spin-off shows Big Brother's Big Mouth, Big Brother's Little Brother and Big Brother's Bit on the Side on numerous occasions.

In 2002, she made a cameo appearance in the comedy film Once Upon a Time in the Midlands. In May 2003, she was voted 93rd[1] on the list of worst Britons in Channel 4's poll of the 100 Worst Britons.

She made an appearance in a sketch in the first episode of the second series of BBC comedy sketch show Little Britain, playing a spokeswoman for fictional slimming club Fat Fighters. In 2004, she appeared in the second series of reality TV show Celebrity Fit Club in a bid to lose weight.[citation needed]

Feltz has been a regular guest on The Wright Stuff[citation needed] and presented two series of Cosmetic Surgery Live, both screened on Channel 5.[citation needed]

From late 2002 she has presented phone-in shows on BBC London 94.9. After presenting a Saturday afternoon phone-in show, she moved to a weekday afternoon slot until late 2005. She then replaced Jon Gaunt on the morning show, 9.00am to noon. The show is a phone-in on current topics, with occasional studio guests. She also presented a Saturday morning show until January 2011 with more emphasis on interviews and some music. She also writes a weekly column on her views on topical subjects, published in the Tuesday Daily Express newspaper and is the agony aunt at Reveal Magazine.[citation needed]

In December 2006 she made a comeback to ITV as the host of talk show Vanessa's Real Lives,[1] and she played herself in an episode of BBC drama series Hotel Babylon.[citation needed]

Feltz and Ben Ofoedu have taken part in a number of television programmes as a couple: in April 2007 they participated in an episode of Channel 4's Celebrity Wife Swap, in which she moved in with magician Paul Daniels for one week, while his wife Debbie McGee moved in with Ofoedu.[citation needed] On 22 September 2007 Feltz and Ofoedu won £150,000 for a cancer charity on the celebrity version of ITV's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.[citation needed]

In 2008 Feltz won £10,000 for Cancer Care as a victorious member of Anton Du Beke's team on BBC One gameshow Hole in the Wall.[citation needed]

On 11 May 2009 Feltz was named Speech Radio Personality of the Year at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.[citation needed]

Vanessa has also appeared on three different episodes of The Weakest Link. On two episodes, she made it to the final round but lost to Sue Perkins on one episode and to Tony Slattery on the other. The third episode she appeared on was the Special 1,000 Celebratory episode to celebrate 1,000 episodes of The Weakest Link made, where she was the 6th one voted off.

2010: Ultimate Big Brother [edit]

In 2010, Feltz and Ofoedu won their episode of the Virgin 1 show A Restaurant in our Living Room, catering a dinner at their home for 25 people.

Feltz returned to the Big Brother house on 3 September 2010 during Ultimate Big Brother,[7] the last series to be broadcast on Channel 4.[8] She was evicted from the house on 8 September, two days before the final. Vanessa then went onto be the lead singer with the infamous "Gastric Band"

2011: Radio broadcasting and presenting[edit]

Feltz took on a greater workload of radio and TV presenting in January. She took over the BBC Radio 2 Early Breakfast Show in January starting at 05:00 until 06:30 each weekday in the slot formerly occupied by Sarah Kennedy. Writing of her Radio 2 debut, Daily Telegraph radio critic, Gillian Reynolds described Feltz's voice as "like lemon tea with honey."[9] She also continued her morning phone-in programme on BBC London 94.9 at 09:00 until 12:00 each weekday. On 10 January, Feltz launched TV chat show, The Vanessa Show on Channel 5 produced by Princess Productions broadcast Monday-Friday from 11:00 to 11:45. The programme suffered from poor ratings with a rapid drop in its audience from 170,000 for the debut show to only 40,000 just a few days later.[10][11]

On 7 March, Channel 5 moved The Vanessa Show to an afternoon slot at 14:15 following disappointing ratings for the morning slot. The move allowed Feltz to record live editions of her TV show after her morning radio commitments.[12] In March 2011, the Daily Mail reported that The Vanessa Show could be facing the axe at the end of its run in June due to mixed ratings since the change in scheduling.[13] Ratings eventually improved and a second series of the show was planned to commence in September 2011, but did not occur. The guardian.co.uk's "Media Monkey" blog dubbed Feltz "officially the hardest working woman in broadcasting" due to her weekday broadcasting commitments.[14]

2013: Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

On 29 August 2013, Feltz was officially confirmed as one of the fifteen celebrity contestants, participating in the eleventh series of Strictly Come Dancing. She was partnered with professional dancer, James Jordan. She was voted off the show on 13 October 2013.

On 7 September 2013, she re-entered the Celebrity Big Brother house to take part in a task. She left the house the same day.[15]

Personal life[edit]

She married Michael Kurer, a surgeon, in 1983. They have two daughters, Allegra and Saskia, and divorced in 2000.[16] In 2006 Feltz met Anglo-Nigerian singer Ben Ofoedu. They became engaged in December 2006,[17] and originally planned to marry the following year.[17] Ofoedu later said that the couple would marry in late 2011,[18] but no wedding took place. She lives in St John's Wood, London, in a house previously occupied by Reverend John Hugh Smyth-Piggott, and by Charles Saatchi, and which was featured in Sir John Betjeman's 1973 film Metro-land.[19]

References[edit]

External links[edit]