Ade Adepitan

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Ade Adepitan
Adepitan in 2010
Personal information
Full nameAdedoyin Olayiwola Adepitan
Born (1973-03-27) 27 March 1973 (age 50)[1]
Maryland, Lagos, Nigeria
Employer(s)BBC, Channel 4
Medal record
Wheelchair basketball
Representing  Great Britain
Wheelchair Basketball World Championship
Silver medal – second place 2002 Kitakyushu Men's wheelchair basketball
European Wheelchair Basketball Championship
Bronze medal – third place 2003 Italy Men's wheelchair basketball
Silver medal – second place 2005 Paris Men's wheelchair basketball
Paralympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 2004 Athens Men's wheelchair basketball
Paralympic World Cup
Gold medal – first place 2005 Men's wheelchair basketball

Adedoyin Olayiwola "Ade" Adepitan MBE (/ˈædi əˈdɛpiˌtæn/; born 27 March 1973) is a Nigerian-born British television presenter and wheelchair basketball player. As a presenter, he has hosted a range of travel documentaries and sports programmes for BBC television. Adepitan is a disability advocate and one of the first physically disabled television presenters in the UK, with a career of over 20 years.

Adepitan was born in Lagos. As an infant, he contracted polio, resulting in damage to his legs that left him a wheelchair user. At the age of three, he moved with his family to the United Kingdom, where he grew up in East London. Becoming a wheelchair basketball player, he was part of the British team that played at the 2004 Summer Paralympics, securing a bronze medal. Involved in a range of charities promoting access to sport for disabled people, in 2005 was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to disability sport.

During the 2000s, Adepitan began appearing on British television. His early appearances included as an actor in the shows Casualty and Desperados. He also moved into presenting, initially primarily for sports programmes during the 2000s. From the 2010s, he increasingly appeared on travel documentaries, initially for episodes of the Channel 4 series Unreported World and then for the BBC series Africa with Ade Adepitan (2019) and Climate Change: Ade on the Frontline (2021).

In 2021, he was chosen to present open-access meetings of an unaffiliated scientific group set up to report to the public on the changing state of the global environment, following in the footsteps of Independent SAGE.[2]

Early life[edit]

Adepitan was born in the Maryland district in Lagos, Nigeria. At the age of fifteen months, Adepitan contracted polio which resulted in the loss of function of his legs, and ultimately prevented him from walking.[3][4]

At the age of three, Adepitan and his mother migrated to the United Kingdom to join his father; who lived in the London Borough of Newham. He was educated at Southern Road Primary School in Plaistow which he credits with helping him with his disability and problems at home. From an early age, he had aspirations of becoming an international sportsman. He also attended Lister Community School.[5]

Basketball career[edit]

Adepitan is an accomplished wheelchair basketball player, for his club Milton Keynes Aces[chronology citation needed][6] and as a member of Great Britain team that won the bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and the gold medal at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup in Manchester.[7]

Television and media career[edit]

Adepitan has featured on many television programmes and series as an actor, presenter or guest, particularly for the BBC. He often uses television as a platform to campaign against racism and disability discrimination. He was one of three wheelchair basketball players featured in the 2002 BBC One ident Hip-Hop. He was one of the main presenters of the children's programme Xchange produced for CBBC and has appeared in the soap opera EastEnders. He starred as wheelchair basketball coach, "Baggy Awolowo", in the TV series Desperados.[8]

In 2005, Adepitan participated in Beyond Boundaries which was a four-part documentary in which Adepitan trekked through rainforests, deserts, rivers and mountains in Nicaragua and made his own video diary filmed in London and Spain, talking about his sporting aspirations and how he coped as a London boy living in Zaragoza unable to speak any Spanish.[9]

Adepitan has become increasingly involved in making documentaries for Channel 4; he was appointed as one of the main presenters on Channel 4 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and co-presents That Paralympic Show with Rick Edwards.[10] and in 2013, he presented a Channel 4 Dispatches programme, Britain on Benefits, as well as a documentary for Channel 4's Unreported World about Cuban basketball players, Cuba, Basketball and Betrayal.[11] He was also part of the Channel 4 2014 Winter Paralympic Games and the Rio 2016 Paralympics presenting team alongside Clare Balding.

Adepitan has also worked with the BBC, having presented the Invictus Games, guest-presenting an episode of The One Show alongside Alex Jones. In 2016, Adepitan co-presented three-part BBC Two series New York: America's Busiest City alongside Anita Rani and Ant Anstead. Since 2016, Adepitan has co-presented the BBC's Children in Need appeal. In 2017 he co-presented World's Busiest Cities with Anita Rani and Dan Snow. In 2019, Adepitan presented a new four-part series for BBC Two Africa with Ade Adepitan,[12] traveling across Africa, from West Africa and city of his birth - Lagos in Nigeria - through Central and Eastern Africa and on to the deep south of the continent. In 2021 he was one of the BBC presenters for the Global Citizen Festival,[13] a panelist with the BBC game show Blankety Blank [14] and celebrity contestant of Catchphrase on 30 October, competing against his Paralympics co-presenter Clare Balding.

On 17 May 2023, Channel 4 commissioned Ade: My Week in the Whitest Place on Earth (w/t); an upcoming film in which Adepitan travels to Orania, a whites-only town in South Africa.[15]

Charity works[edit]

Adepitan does a lot of charity work, particularly supporting many charities to help other people with physical disabilities. He is a patron of Go Kids Go (formerly known as Association of Wheelchair Children). He is also a great supporter of the National Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Children Charity (NSPCC) and the WheelPower Charity. Adepitan travelled to Ghana in support of Comic Relief. He also participated in the Disabled Motoring UK Alps 2011 Challenge.[16] Adepitan is also an Athlete Ambassador for Right to Play, the world's leading sport for development charity.[17]


Adepitan was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to disability sport in 2005.[18] He was also presented with an Honorary Doctorate from Loughborough University, in recognition of his outstanding services to, and performances in, disability sport.[7] The same year, Adepitan was awarded a 'Certificate of Excellence' by the Champions Club UK in recognition not only of his efforts at promoting disability sport, but also for being a positive role model. He was particularly commended for his strong and persistent message of hope within the young black disabled community.[19]

He was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award by the University of East London in 2010, and had an Honorary Doctorate conferred by the university in November 2010.[20]

In 2020, Adepitan was included in the Powerlist of the 100[21] most influential Black British people.

Personal life[edit]

On 19 August 2018, Adepitan married Scottish singer Linda Harrison (who performs as Elle Exxe)[22][23] in St Paul's Cathedral.[24] They have a son, born 4 January 2021.[25]

Adepitan is a keen football fan; he became a supporter of West Ham United as a young boy after attending the trophy parade for their 1980 FA Cup Final victory, and is a season ticket holder at the London Stadium.[26][27]


  1. ^ "Ade's Olympic dreams". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 September 2022.
  2. ^ Watts, Jonathan (20 June 2021). "Head of Independent Sage to launch international climate change group". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 June 2021.
  3. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (18 August 2013). "Ade Adepitan: 'We got up to crazy things – disabled kids were wild and cool'". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Ade Adepitan". World Bank Live. 13 November 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  5. ^ Iosias, Jody (10 December 2011). Ade Adepitan. Cred Press. ISBN 978-6139885459.
  6. ^ "Ade's Olympic Dreams". BBC Sport Academy. 15 July 2002. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Ade Adepitan, MBE". The Newham Story. Newham Borough Council. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Ade Adepitan". IMDb. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  9. ^ COWAN, AMBER. "Not just anybody: Ade Adepitan". The Times. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  10. ^ The Presenters Ade Adepitan
  11. ^ "Channel 4's Unreported World with Ade Adepitan | News". Sightsavers. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  12. ^ Africa with Ade Adepitan at IMDb
  13. ^ "BBC One - Global Citizen Live: Music Festival for the Planet".
  14. ^ "Blankety Blank". BBC One. Series 1, Episode 2.
  15. ^ "Channel 4 commissions Ade: My Week in the Whitest Place on Earth (w/t), a new film by Ade Adepitan exploring one of the most extreme communities on the planet". Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  16. ^ "Disabled Motoring UK - Alps Challenge and Inaugural Awards Ceremony". Archived from the original on 21 July 2020. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  17. ^ "Ambassadors, Right to play". Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  18. ^ "MBEs for CBBC's Ade Adepitan and South Today's Sally Taylor" (Press release). BBC. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  19. ^ "Motivational Monday - Ade Adepitan". Disability Network. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  20. ^ ""East London the place to be", say ground-breaking artists" (Press release). University of East London. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  21. ^ "2019 | Alumnus named on Black Powerlist for the third time | Loughborough Alumni | Loughborough University". Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  22. ^ Powell, Interviews by Rosalind. "Relative Values: Ade Adepitan, former Paralympian, and his singer wife, Elle Exxe, on their 17-year age gap". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  23. ^ McGarrigle, Clyde (12 July 2020). "Paralympian Ade Adepitan: 'Earnings from the 2012 games enabled me to buy a flat'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Ade Adepitan marries Linda Harrison at St Paul's Cathedral". HELLO!. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  25. ^ Adepitan, Ade (4 January 2021). "I'm still buzzing!! Because at 6:36 am this morning I became a father for the first time. So much respect for my wife @ElleExxe she absolutely smashed it, and now we have a beautiful baby boy!". Twitter.
  26. ^ "My Sport: Ade Adepitan".
  27. ^ "Hammers fan preparing for marathon challenge | West Ham United F.C."

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