Tarrant in 2009,
|Born||Christopher John Tarrant
10 October 1946
Reading, Berkshire, England
|Spouse(s)||Sheila Tarrant (m. 1971; div. 1982)
Ingrid Tarrant (m. 1991; div. 2007)
Christopher John "Chris" Tarrant, OBE (born 10 October 1946) is an English radio and television broadcaster. He hosted the ITV children's television show Tiswas from 1974 to 1982, the ITV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? from 1998 to 2014, and was a Capital Radio host from 1984 to 2004.
Tarrant was educated as a boarder in Choir House at the King's School, Worcester from 1960–1964. He represented the school at hockey and cricket and gained A, B and D grades at A-level in English, History and Ancient History. He then studied English at the University of Birmingham, having declined an Oxford scholarship. Tarrant worked as a schoolteacher and also briefly as a researcher for the Central Office of Information before joining ATV as a newsreader on ATV Today.
Tarrant rose to prominence after becoming a co-host on Tiswas, a children's television show broadcast on a Saturday morning from 1974 to 1981. In 1982, he hosted the short-lived Saturday evening show O.T.T., which was billed as an adult version of Tiswas, but this was not such a success. After this, he did a stint on the breakfast television station TV-am.
In 1984, Tarrant joined Capital Radio as a presenter, initially presenting the station's Sunday lunchtime show before moving to a late-morning weekday slot, following David Jensen. From March 1987 until April 2004 he hosted Capital Breakfast. The show was immensely popular, increasing Capital Radio's audience share in London. Tarrant had regular co-presenter Kara Noble as his sidekick for the early years until she moved to Heart FM in 1995, with regular contributions from Russ Kane, the flying eye traffic reporter, and news reader Howard Hughes. Tarrant won the coveted Sony Radio Academy Awards, Breakfast Show Gold in 1995 for this show.
Another notable point was the release of a photo in early 1999 of Sophie Rhys-Jones who was a public relations representative at Capital, and was photographed sitting next to Tarrant in a taxi whilst having her top pulled down on an outside broadcast. The photo was released in 1999 by ex co-host of the breakfast show Kara Noble, by now working at Heart 106.2 in London when Rhys-Jones was about to marry Prince Edward.
At 9.00am, on Friday 2 April 2004, after hosting 4,425 shows over 17 years on Capital Radio and giving away prizes to the value of £3.5 million, Tarrant said his farewell to the station.
Tarrant began to host the popular television quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in 1998. The show has gone on to have series in over 100 other countries, and in 2002, the UK version merged with the Irish version. Tarrant has coined catchphrases such as "But we don't want to give you that!" and "Is that your final answer?" throughout the show. It was confirmed by UKGameshows.com that Tarrant has been the regular host for at least one full series of more game shows than anyone else on British television, with sixteen different series to his credit.
In October 2013, it was confirmed that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was to come to an end after airing for 15 years on ITV. The channel made the decision following to coincide with Tarrant stepping down as host. Of this, Tarrant said: "It's been a huge part of my life for 15 years and I've loved every minute of it, but it is time for me to move on from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?". Tarrant's final live edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was a Celebrity edition which aired live on Thursday 19 December 2013. On the day before (18 December), Tarrant pre-recorded two other Celebrity episodes to be shown in February 2014.
In 2008, he presented the game show It's Not What You Know on Challenge. In January 2009, Tarrant began to host new ITV show The Colour of Money, which was cancelled after just seven episodes after failing to perform well in the ratings.
Other shows by Tarrant include a 1994 revival of the show Pop Quiz (previously hosted by Mike Read), Cluedo (based on the board game of the same name, which was part panel quiz and part murder drama), and a show called Lose a Million (where the object was to lose as much of a fictional million pounds as possible, with the winner getting a real £5,000 in the end).
Tarrant hosted Everybody's Equal in 1989, although the programme came to an end in 1990 (the format was revived in 1997 by Channel 5 as Whittle, with Tim Vine as host). In 1991 he hosted the second series of Cluedo. On 1 January 1993, when Thames Television dissolved and was replaced by Carlton Television, Tarrant hosted the first programme of the franchise, A Carlton New Year. Also in 1993, Tarrant hosted Lose A Million, in which contestants started off with a million pounds and were required to lose it by aiming to incorrectly answer a set of questions. Ironically Tarrant would go on to host Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, where the objective of the game is to do the complete opposite. From 1996 to 1999 Tarrant hosted the UK edition of Man O Man.
Tarrant is also the long-term host of Tarrant on TV, a programme which shows clips featuring a number of unusual television programmes from around the world. He presented the show from 1990 to 2006.
In 1998, Tarrant released a compilation album entitled Ultimate Party Megamix on PolyGram Television's record label. A second edition entitled Ultimate Summer Party was also released. Both albums contain songs compiled by Tarrant himself in the form of a megamix.
In 2002, he did voice over work on the film Johnny English, where he starred as himself hosting a radio presentation of Sauvage's coronation.
In June 2008 it was announced he would return to radio, hosting a weekly Saturday morning show for the GMG Radio network of stations including London's 102.2 Smooth Radio, Real Radio in Scotland and the North West's Century Radio. The show would air in direct competition to Jonathan Ross's show on BBC Radio 2 and began on 26 July. It was aired for 12 months until July 2009.
In 2009, UKTV signed Tarrant to present a show for Watch called Tarrant Lets the Kids Loose. The eight-part series, beginning on 4 October, gives three- to six-year-olds the chance to fulfil their greatest ambitions in the adult world; whether running a photographic studio, a radio station or an ice-cream van.
In April 2010, Tarrant become one of the first three celebrities to be subjected to the British version of the American institution of a comedy roast, on Channel 4's A Comedy Roast.
Also in 2010 he presented ITV1's The Door, a game show in which celebrities faced unpleasant and scary challenges to win money for charity.
In 2012, Tarrant filmed the Chris Tarrant – Extreme Railways series for Channel 5, with locations including the Congo Ocean Railway, the Ghan across Australia and the Konkan Railway. The series was aired in December 2012. A second series was shown in 2015.
In 2013, Channel 5 aired a new series called Chris Tarrant Goes Fishing. The show was a hit with the viewing figures. A year later Tarrant began appearing in the ITV daytime game show Show Me the Telly as the TV legends team captain.
Tarrant met his second wife Ingrid Dupre-Walsh when they both worked for TV-am. The couple married in 1991 and divorced in 2007 when it was revealed that Tarrant had a "close" relationship with Fiona McKechnie, a schoolteacher and co-patron for Headway. After a series of tabloid stories, on 18 September 2006 the couple announced that they were separating. The couple previously lived with their two children, daughter Sammy and son Toby in Esher, plus two children from Ingrid's previous marriage, Dexter and Fia, the latter a radio presenter with Reading 107 FM. Tarrant also has two children from a previous marriage to Sheila Tarrant, Helen and Jennifer.
In a statement in September 2006, Tarrant said: "I am deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused to my loyal wife and wonderful children, all of whom I adore. I have only myself to blame for the breakdown of my marriage."
Tarrant is a big fan of British rock group Status Quo, and in 1991 followed them on their Rock Til You Drop tour which covered four concerts in one day (Sheffield, Glasgow, Birmingham and London) in aid of Nordorff-Robbins.
Tarrant's charity work, for which he received an OBE in 2004 includes: being an ambassador for the homeless charity, Centrepoint; Trustee/Patron of the New School at West Heath for disadvantaged children (the school previously being a private school for girls that Diana, Princess of Wales attended); patron of Milly's Fund, set up in memory of murdered Surrey teenager "Milly" Dowler; patron of the Phoenix Centre for children with special needs.
He was a patron of the Headway Thames Valley, until details of his affair with trustee Fiona McKechnie became public and he resigned.
On 13 May 2007, Tarrant was arrested on suspicion of assault at an Indian restaurant and released on police bail. The incident took place at the MemSaab Restaurant on Maid Marian Way, Nottingham, where Tarrant, who had been joking with a couple dining at an adjacent table, threw an item of cutlery towards the man.
Tarrant admitted to the BBC that he did jokingly "lob" some cutlery onto the couple's table after asking them to leave him alone to discuss work with his colleagues. He said: "I've no idea what his [the accuser's] motives were – it genuinely makes no sense. I got back from the station at 1 am and to this minute I am completely bemused by what happened."
Awards and honours
- Winner of the "Lifetime Achievement" at the 2000 National Television Awards
- Voted Number 38 in ITV's TV's 50 Greatest Stars
- Winner of the "Lifetime Achievement" 2006 UK comedy award
- Album 'Tiswas presents The Four Bucketeers'
- Single 'The Bucket of Water Song/Smello'
- Single 'Water is Wonderful/Raspberry Rock'
- Album 'Saturday Scene'
- Album 'Ultimate Party Megamix'
- Album 'Ultimate Summer Party'
- Ross, Deborah (8 January 2001). "Chris Tarrant: Confident?". The Independent (London). Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "My Life in Media: Chris Tarrant". The Independent (London). 22 November 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
- Tiswas website Archived 12 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
- "ITV axe Who Wants To Be A Millionaire as Tarrant steps down after 15 years". Daily Mail (London). 22 October 2013.
- "UK Game Show Records: Host of the most game shows".
- "'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' to end after 15 years". Digital Spy.
- "Lost in TV audience services". lostintv.com.
- "Chris Tarrant's latest show axed". STV Entertainment. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
- Sweney, Mark (30 June 2008). "Tarrant v Ross: let battle commence". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 August 2009.
- Chris Tarrant launches iPhone fishing app, 20 August 2010, Angling Times
- Fishing with Chris Tarrant website
- Chris Tarrant – Extreme Railways, 6 December 2012, Channel 5
- "Tarrants are granted fast divorce". BBC News. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "The blonde at the centre of Chris Tarrant's marriage problems". Daily Mail (London). 17 September 2006.
- "Tarrant confirms marriage is over". BBC News. 19 September 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "Tarrant fury after boat fire". BBC News. 22 June 2000. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "Chris Tarrant likes being one of the fans at Reading FC". BBC News (London: BBC). 11 April 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "Chris Tarrant recovering in hospital after 'mini-stroke'". BBC News. 12 March 2014.
- "Tarrant 'proud' to receive honour". BBC News. 22 June 2004. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- Whitaker, Thomas (17 May 2007). "Chris Tarrant quits tryst fund". The Sun (London).
- Hyde, Nathan (5 October 2015). "Trooper Potts: Reading's only Victoria Cross winner commemorated with statue outside Forbury Gardens". Get Reading.
- Walker, Peter (14 May 2007). "Tarrant held over alleged assault". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Chris Tarrant arrested for 'assault'". Metro.
- "TV's Tarrant 'bemused' by arrest". BBC News. 14 May 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "Tarrant cautioned over curry row". BBC News. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "Tarrant arrested in assault claim". BBC News. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2010.