Jan Leeming

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Jan Leeming
Jan Leeming and a 3 yr old cheetah 12s2004.jpg
Jan Leeming with a three-year-old cheetah in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape, South Africa
Born Janet Dorothy Atkins
(1942-01-05) 5 January 1942 (age 76)
Dartford, Kent, England
Occupation TV presenter and newsreader.
Children 1
Website www.jan-leeming.com

Jan Leeming (born Janet Dorothy Atkins; 5 January 1942) is an English TV presenter and newsreader.

Early life[edit]

Born in Kent, England,[1] and educated at the Assumption Convent, Charlton & St. Joseph's Convent Grammar School, Abbey Wood.


Presenter and actress[edit]

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. An early UK TV role came in the BBC sitcom Hugh and I in December 1966.[2] In 1969, she joined the presenting team of BBC1's children's science programme Tom Tom, which she co-hosted until 1970.[3] In 1976, she fronted the 10–part BBC2 handicraft series Knitting Fashion[4] which was repeated several times through to 1978 and from 1977, she was the anchor of the BBC's regional programme Zodiac & Co for the South West area,[5] switching to the Midlands for the regional show Midlands Tonight in 1979.[6] Leeming began a long stint presenting the Monday–Friday BBC1 afternoon show Pebble Mill at One between 1976 and 1979, during which time she also often co-presented Radio 4's Woman's Hour.[7] Beginning in April 1980, she became one of Britain's best-known newsreaders across the BBC and also hosted the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest.

She has kept a relatively low profile since leaving the newsroom in 1987,[8] 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 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.[citation needed] 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.

In February 2010, Leeming appeared in a special celebrity episode of the dining programme Come Dine with Me for Channel 4.

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here![edit]

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.[citation needed] For one of the trials, Leeming volunteered and for the other five she was voted to do them by the British public. Some of her trials 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 having to eat various insects and Australian delicacies 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.

Searching for René[edit]

In 2013, Leeming researched, wrote and presented a Documentary on WW2 Free French Pilot - René Mouchotte. BBC 1 South East 'Inside Out' Currently considering writing a book about her 6 year extensive Search. Through her research she met the Director of the Allied Air Forces Museum at Elvington near York.[9] Ian Reed was able to source historic material which added to Leeming's programme. She is now a Vice President of the Museum.[citation needed]

The Real Marigold Hotel[edit]

In January and February 2016, Leeming appeared in the three-part BBC series The Real Marigold Hotel, which followed a group of celebrity senior citizens including Miriam Margolyes and Wayne Sleep on a journey to India.[10] In December 2017, she also appeared in the second season of The Real Marigold on Tour to Havana.[11]

Celebrity First Dates[edit]

Broadcast on 2 November 2017, Leeming took part in a special celebrity edition of Channel 4's First Dates, in aid of Stand Up To Cancer.[12]

Money for Nothing[edit]

Celebrity edition. Leeming donated the money raised to the Brooke Sanctuary.[citation needed]

Marigolds on Tour - Cuba[edit]

Leeming joined Miriam Margolyes, Wayne Sleep and Bobby George in BBC 1 programme 'Marigolds on Tour'[13] when they visited Cuba to look at how Cubans treat their elderly and the way the elderly spend their retirement. She also went on a date with a local.

Personal life[edit]

Leeming has been married five times:

  1. BBC sound engineer John Staple, in 1961. The marriage failed and Leeming left the UK in 1962.
  2. Estate agent Jeremy Gilchrist. Met in 1969. Married in 1972.
  3. BBC Radio 2 announcer and news reader Patrick Lunt (1980–1983). Leeming and Lunt had one child Jonathan in 1981.[14]
  4. Met RAF Red Arrows manager Eric Steenson in 1983. Married 1988–1997. Leeming became stepmother to Steenson's two children.
  5. Kent headmaster Chris Russell in 1997. Divorced in 2002.

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.[citation needed]

On 23 September 2008, Leeming appeared on MSN Entertainment stating she had joined a dating agency website.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biography - Jan Leeming". www.jan-leeming.com. 
  2. ^ "Hugh and I". 8 December 1966. p. 37 – via BBC Genome. 
  3. ^ "Tom Tom". 20 November 1969. p. 43 – via BBC Genome. 
  4. ^ "Knitting Fashion". 14 October 1976. p. 33 – via BBC Genome. 
  5. ^ "Regional programmes". 24 November 1977. p. 66 – via BBC Genome. 
  6. ^ "Regional programmes". 1 February 1979. p. 62 – via BBC Genome. 
  7. ^ "Woman's Hour". 12 October 1978. p. 61 – via BBC Genome. 
  8. ^ L is for ... – tv.cream.org
  9. ^ "Museum role for Jan Leeming". York Press. 
  10. ^ "Series 1, The Real Marigold Hotel - The female residents - BBC One". BBC. 
  11. ^ "Cuba, Series 2, The Real Marigold on Tour - BBC Two". BBC. 
  12. ^ "Celebrity First Dates with Roman Kemp, Sinitta and Michael Fabricant: Everything you need to know". London Evening Standard. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  13. ^ "The Real Marigold on Tour - BBC Two". BBC. 
  14. ^ Jan Leeming interviewDaily Mirror
  15. ^ "Entertainment news". MSN. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Doireann Ní Bhriain
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
Succeeded by
Marlene Charell