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Jan Leeming with a three-year-old cheetah in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa
5 January 1942
|Occupation||TV presenter and newsreader.|
Born in Kent, England, and educated at the St. Joseph's Convent Grammar School, she worked as an actress and presenter in Australia and New Zealand before becoming a well-known face on British television in regional and children's programmes. After a stint presenting the BBC One afternoon show Pebble Mill at One between 1974 and 1979, during the 1980s she became one of the United Kingdom's best-known newsreaders on that channel and also hosted the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest.
She has kept a relatively low profile since leaving the newsroom in 1987, with bit parts and one-off specials including as a stand-in newsreader for the Channel 4's breakfast show The Big Breakfast during the 1990s. Her most recent appearances include one as herself in the film Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?, starring Tom Courtenay, in 1999; and latterly on The Harry Hill Show; So Graham Norton; Lowri; Good Morning Australia; Esther and Through the Keyhole. At the Barbican she presented the RAF Concert to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Since 2000 much of her time has been spent in corporate work and her longtime passion working with a cheetah conservation charity in South Africa. She appeared in Safari School, a reality television series, which was first broadcast on BBC Two during January and February 2007.
I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
In November 2006, Leeming was a contestant on the sixth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! on ITV. Leeming has done a record number of six 'Bush Tucker' trials. For one of the trials Leeming volunteered and for the other five she was voted to do them by the British public. Some of Jan’s trials have included being lowered into a dark tunnel with various unpleasant creatures, shut in a box amongst snakes, jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet to catch falling stars and perhaps one of the most disgusting trials: having to eat various insects and Australian delicacies in order to win food for camp. During that trial Leeming ate a vomit fruit and a witchety grub smoothie. However, she refused to eat a kangaroo's eye, tongue, anus and reproductive organs. Leeming was evicted on the 19th day of the series where she came 6th.
Leeming has been married five times:
- BBC sound engineer John Staple, in 1961.
- Estate agent Jeremy Gilchrist (1972–1973).
- BBC Radio 2 announcer and news reader Patrick Lunt (1980–1986). Leeming and Lunt had one child Jonathan in 1981.
- RAF Red Arrows pilot Eric Steenson (1988–1995). Leeming became stepmother to Steenson's two children.
- Kent headmaster Chris Russell in 1997.
On 22 August 2007 Leeming was a special guest in an episode of the live television programme Doctor, Doctor broadcast on channel Five, in which she talked with the presenter and GP, Mark Porter, about the clinical depression that she used to suffer from. She reported that she had been free of depression for about 10 years since recovering with counselling, medical help, and by taking Prozac antidepressant tablets.
On 23 September 2008 Leeming appeared on MSN Entertainment stating she had joined a dating agency website, Kindred Spirits, Leeming added it is a "civilised way of meeting people with similar attitudes".
In February 2010 Leeming appeared in a special celebrity episode of the dining programme, "Come Dine With Me" for Channel 4.
She is a patron of the charity Fight for Sight.
- The face - Times Online
- L is for ... — tv.cream.org
- Jan Leeming interview — sundaymirror.co.uk
Doireann Ní Bhriain
|Eurovision Song Contest presenter