Jeni Barnett (born 24 March 1949 in London) is an English actress and TV presenter who grew up in Borehamwood. She is married to Yorkshire-born actor Jim Bywater and has one daughter, Bethany.
As an actress she appeared on several TV shows, including Revolting Women (BBC2, 1981) and Doctors, and has also been a panelist on ITV's Loose Women and Five's The Wright Stuff, and was a long-time presenter of the children's TV series You and Me.
Between 2002 and 2007, Barnett was host of UKTV Food's flagship food show, Great Food Live (previously known as Good Food Live) and its spin-offs, Great Food Bites and Great Food Live Extra. In 2004/2005, Barnett also hosted the second series of the ITV cookery show, Too Many Cooks.
On 16 June 2007 Barnett presented her first radio programme on LBC 97.3, when she stood in for Chris Hawkins on Saturday afternoon. Barnett soon returned to the air filling in for more presenters, including Jim Davis' Lifestyle show. As part of a new Sunday schedule she was given a new 2-hour programme talking about food.
A further change on 7 January 2008 saw Barnett move to weekday afternoons, 1 to 4 pm, as part of the new weekday line up. The programme is a topical debate featuring aspects of news and views, in which the public are encouraged to call in with their views.
Barnett continued to present the Sunday Food programme as well as the new weekday afternoon programme until 20 January 2008 when Bill Buckley replaced her on Sundays so she could concentrate on the weekday programme. Her weekday programme ended in September 2010.
Between January 2011 and September 2013, she presented a Sunday morning show on BBC London 94.9, and occasionally stands in for Allison Ferns and Danny Pike on BBC Sussex.
2009 MMR vaccine controversy
In a show broadcast on 7 January 2009, Barnett's topics included the MMR vaccine. The discussion attracted criticism of its accuracy and possible negative influence on public health by doctor and journalist Ben Goldacre, who described the show as "irresponsible, ill-informed, and ignorant". After the broadcast, Barnett admitted on her blog that she "did not have the facts to hand ... As a responsible broadcaster I should have been better prepared" when she discussed her claims with medical professionals who questioned her statements.
Barnett's broadcast was the recipient of complaints to OfCom. Based on the inclusion of alternate viewpoints from those expressed by Barnett, namely callers that included medical professionals criticising Barnett's statements, Ofcom's final ruling was that the broadcast did not violate rules against misleading portrayals of factual matters or undue prominence to minority views and opinions on matters of political or industrial controversy.
- Great Food Live, 27 Feb 2007, 6pm (UKTV Food)
- "IMDb entry for Jeni Barnett". 5 February 2009.
- "BFI TV and Film database". 11 February 2009. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009.
- Dr Ben Goldacre (3 February 2009). "Bad Science Bingo, with Jeni Barnett". Bad Science. External link in
- Dr Ben Goldacre (5 February 2009). "Legal Chill from LBC 97.3 and "Global Radio" over Jeni Barnett's MMR scaremongering". Bad Science. External link in
- "MMR and Me"[permanent dead link], Jeni Barnett, 5 February 2009
- "The Great DBH rant". Archived from the original on 14 February 2009.
- "Personal comments detract from original MMR / LBC debate", journalism.co.uk, 11 February 2009.
- Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 136 Archived 11 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine, 22 June 2009, pp. 39–44.
- Jeni Barnett (Personal website/blog)