12 June 1979
Jodie Prenger (born 12 June 1979) is an English actress and singer, best known as the winner of BBC television series I'd Do Anything on 31 May 2008 and the second series of The Biggest Loser in 2006.
Prenger was educated at Elmslie Girls' School in Blackpool and Blackpool and the Fylde College before starting work in the area as an entertainer. She has performed extensively on the cabaret circuit in Northern England and particularly her hometown of Blackpool and Fylde coast where she has also worked as an agony aunt. In June 1998 she appeared in two different shows each night in two Blackpool theatres. First she had a solo spot in the Tiptoes Summer Spectacular at the resort's Opera House theatre before appearing 20 minutes later in one of the main roles in a Blackpool and the Fylde College production of the musical comedy Hot Mikado at the Grand Theatre.
Prenger's first appearance on television came in 1999 when she appeared on A Taste for Travel on Granada Television with her mother. In 2000 she took part in the Dale Winton show The Other Half on BBC One in which she had to pretend to be the wife of boxer Chris Eubank. Later that year, she played the role of the good witch Hurricane in a non-skating role in Halloween Spectacular On Ice at Alton Towers in Staffordshire. In 2001, she spent eight months as one of four main entertainers in a team of 19 aboard the cruise ship Disney Wonder.
The Biggest Loser
Prenger won the second series of The Biggest Loser in 2006, making her the first female in the world to win the show, starting the show a size 22 and weighing 115 kilograms (18.1 st). During the series, she lost over 51 kilograms (8.0 st). Her final weight was 61 kilograms (9.6 st) and she slimmed down to a size 10 before settling at a size 14/16. Prenger won £25,000 for winning the series. In 2006, Jodie Prenger was also featured on Charlotte Coyle's Fat Beauty Contest on Channel 4, where Coyle searched for plus sized models for a beauty pageant.
On 10 March 2009, Prenger appeared on The Paul O'Grady Show and spoke about her time on The Biggest Loser. On seeing a picture of herself after initially losing weight, she said that she believed she lost too much weight and became too thin at that time. She also commented that she believed all women should have curves, which she had also stated in a Daily Mail article on 16 February.
I'd Do Anything
Prenger was the winner of I'd Do Anything on 31 May 2008, giving her the opportunity to play Nancy in a West End revival of the British musical Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Prenger attended auditions for the show in Manchester in January 2008, and made it through to the final 42 at "Nancy School" from where she was eventually chosen as one of the twelve finalists to perform in the live shows each week.
After her performance of "Chasing Pavements" in the first live show of the series, Prenger was the joint favourite to win. Panelist John Barrowman said, "I love you to death, you connected with everyone and told the story – that's making a good Nancy!" while Denise Van Outen, another panellist, commented that "Nancy needs to have a lot of life experience and I see that coming through in your performance. It was absolutely brilliant". Barry Humphries, another panellist, who had played Fagin in the original Lionel Bart stage production, said "You've got that toughness and also a tenderness. A beautiful performance and a fine actress." Head judge Andrew Lloyd Webber said that Jodie could "absolutely play this role." In week five Humphries said that Prenger was "destined for the West End", and in week eight Barrowman labelled Prenger his "perfect Nancy". In the week leading up to the final in week ten, the Nancy finalists posed for publicity pictures recreating some of Madonna's iconic images. Prenger posed in a wedding dress to recreate the cover of the album Like a Virgin. On 30 May, Webber revealed that theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh, who produced the show in the West End, and joined the panel in week nine, was concerned about her curvaceous figure saying, "Cameron thinks she is a bit too big and has more or less said so". However, Webber defended Prenger, saying that she had both the vocal talents and personality for the role, saying "Jodie could be anybody's idea of Nancy – I can see it absolutely. She has got a lovely voice and a super personality. She has experience as well." In the final, on 31 May, Prenger performed a total number of seven songs including her performance of "As Long as He Needs Me" after she was announced as winner. She also performed "I'd Do Anything" with all the Nancy and Oliver finalists; "Son of a Preacher Man"; "Getting to Know You" from the musical The King and I with Laurence ; "Maybe This Time" from the film Cabaret with Jessie Buckley and Samantha Barks as well as also singing "As Long as he Needs Me" and "I Have Nothing" from A Star Is Born before the final vote. Of her performance of "Son of a Preacher Man", Mackintosh said: "Jodie has convinced me that she could make a Nancy. You absolutely deserve to be in the final." Barrowman said, "every song she sings, you believe the words. I look forward to the day I can guest star with you on the West End stage!" and Webber said, "that was a very, very, very good performance. You have an outsize talent, and a very strong voice. I just don't know if it's going to be quite enough tonight, but it might be." In the second part of the live final, Prenger performed her favourite song from the series, "I Have Nothing", and Nancy's tragic love ballad, "As Long As He Needs Me". After she was announced as the winner, Prenger said, "You have genuinely given me my dream, I can't actually put into words how I feel. I'm so grateful and so chuffed. I'm just Jodie from Blackpool and to be here is my dream." Andrew Lloyd Webber said, "The people's Nancy. Jodie was always going to be the people's choice," adding " I think people love her, they love her open personality. I think they relate to that personality and I think that's what makes her Nancy for the public. Her strengths are her personality and her very, very strong voice." Mackintosh said, "I'm thrilled for Jodie, congratulations!" adding, "She is obviously the public's view of what they want to see as Nancy. She'll give a terrific performance and I really look forward to putting her into training and getting her into rehearsals."
- Please note this is a list of her individual performances only
|Week 1||"Chasing Pavements"|
|Week 2||"I'm Every Woman"|
|Week 3||"Send in the Clowns" from the musical A Little Night Music|
|Week 4||"9 to 5"|
|Week 5||"I Have Nothing"|
|Week 6||"Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls|
|Week 7||"If I Ain't Got You"|
|Week 8 (quarter-final)||"Holding Out for a Hero"|
|Week 9 (semi-final)||"Out Here on My Own" from the musical film Fame.|
|Week 10 (final)||"Son of a Preacher Man"|
"As Long as He Needs Me"
"I Have Nothing"
In June 2008, it was confirmed that Prenger would be performing six of the eight weekly shows of Oliver! after it opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 12 December 2008. She performed on Monday and Tuesday evenings, Wednesday matinees, Friday evenings and both the matinee and evening shows each Saturday. Prior to that she appeared in the ensemble in Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre from 26 August 2008, in order to gain some experience of performing in the West End. Oliver! opened successfully on 14 January 2009, and Prenger received positive reviews. On 16 March 2009, a new cast recording of the revival was released with Prenger and the rest of the cast. For her role as Nancy, Prenger received the Theatregoers' Choice Whatsonstage Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. She played her final performance as Nancy on 27 March 2010, and was succeeded by fellow West End leading lady Kerry Ellis, who is best known for her role as Elphaba in the hit musical Wicked. Prenger reprised the role of Nancy once more, for two one-off performances on 13 November 2010, whilst Ellis was absent.
After winning I'd Do Anything, Prenger was given a civic reception in her hometown of Blackpool on 7 June 2008, with a specially erected stage in front of the town hall where she performed several songs from Oliver!. On 24 August 2008, she performed in a "Music Under the Stars" event at the annual Faenol Festival held near Y Felinheli in Gwynedd, North Wales.
Prenger played the role of The Lady of the Lake in the UK tour of the hit musical Spamalot, which began performances at New Wimbledon Theatre on 29 May 2010. She was also cast as Diane in the new drama series, Candy Cabs, about a group of friends who set up a female-only taxi company in a seaside town in Northern England.
Prenger appeared in One Man, Two Guvnors at the Haymarket Theatre in London, alongside Owain Arthur who took over the role of Francis Henshall from Tony award-winning actor James Corden. Prenger played Elsie Tanner in the ill fated Street of Dreams, the Coronation Street musical written by Trisha Ward. The show finally premiered in May 2012 after its opening was delayed by more than a month at the Manchester Arena and then was supposed to tour around major UK arenas, It closed after a couple of nights amid controversy. Prenger was in an episode of the food factory titled "Just Add Water".
Jodie performed in the UK tour of Tell Me On A Sunday before taking on the title role in the UK tour of Shirley Valentine. She will play the lead role of Kelly in the world premiere of Fat Friends the Musical.
Television and radio
In 2013, Prenger participated in Let's Dance for Comic Relief. Boyzone's Keith Duffy had originally planned to participate in the programme, but was unable to compete due to private matters. Prenger then took his place on the show. Her first appearance was in the third heat on 2 March 2013, where she danced to the song "Word Up" by Cameo. She was saved by the public, and as a result, made it through to the final on 9 March 2013 where she finished second place to Antony Cotton.
In July 2009, Prenger was a guest panellist on ITV's Loose Women.
On 4 December 2011 Jodie appeared on CBeebies Justin’s House.
On 23 February 2009, Prenger released her autobiography, It's a Fine Life.
Prenger was engaged to her boyfriend, Steve Greengrass, who proposed to her after the Saturday show in week three of I'd Do Anything on 12 April 2008; a whirlwind romance which was featured throughout the series as their first date some three months earlier had been Prenger's audition in Manchester. She split from Greengrass a few weeks after the show's finale.
In April 2012, Prenger announced her engagement to boyfriend of two years, Simon Booth, soon after her father Marty died of kidney cancer.
- The Biggest Loser (2006) – Participant, winner
- I'd Do Anything (2008) – Participant, winner
- Loose Women (2009) – Guest panellist
- The National Lottery Draws (2009–2011) – Presenter
- Born to Shine (2011) – Participant
- Sing If You Can (2011) – Participant
- Waterloo Road (2011) – Linda Wickes
- Hustle (2012) – Carol, a fellow con artist and new love interest of Eddie the team's barman and unofficial 6th member
- Let's Dance for Comic Relief (2013) – Participant
- Casualty (2015) – Sorcha Greene
- Jamie Johnson (2017) – Joanne Simmonds
- Guest appearances
- Celebrity Bargain Hunt
- New Year Live (2008)
- As Seen on TV (2009)
- All Star Family Fortunes (2009)
- The Michael Ball Show (2010)
- The David Dickinson Show (2010)
- BBC's School Choir of the Year (2010)
- Daily Cooks Challenge (2010)
- Let's Do Lunch with Gino & Mel (2011, 2014)
- Justin's House (2011)
- The Chase: Celebrity Special (2012)
- Let's Do Christmas with Gino & Mel (2012)
- Britain's Brightest (2013)
- Pointless Celebrities (2013)
- Wizards vs Aliens (2013)
- Sport Relief's Top Dog (2014)
- Weekend (2014)
- Who's Doing the Dishes? (2016)
- It's A Fine Life (2009)
- Oliver! London Cast Recording (2009)
- The Very Best Of Glenn Miller (2010)
- Spamalot: UK Tour Cast Recording (2011)
- "Nancy Contestants – Jodie". BBC. 22 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- Gomm, Elizabeth (30 May 2008). "Singing for Blackpool!". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- "Blackpool's famous faces". Blackpool Gazette. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- Gomm, Elizabeth (3 June 2008). "Making of our Nancy". Blackpool Gazette.
- Neil, Beth (12 April 2008). "I'd Do Anything star Jodie Prenger's sexy secrets". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- "£25 000 prize for top TV loser Jodie". Blackpool Gazette. 9 January 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
- "Episode dated 10 March 2009". The Paul O'Grady Show. Season 5. Episode 12. 10 March 2009.
- Prenger, Jodie (16 February 2009). "Why I'd do Anything for fame: Oliver! winner Jodie Prenger on her path to stardom". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- Gomm, Elizabeth (18 March). "Blackpool girl bids for BBC stardom". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 2008-06-01. Check date values in:
- "Blackpool girl Jodie is BBC favourite". Blackpool Gazette. 1 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- "Reviewing the Situation, Week Five Result: Who were this week's leading ladies?". BBC. 227 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-09. Check date values in:
- "Reviewing the Situation, Which Nancys will make it through to the semi final?". BBC. 16 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- Roberts, Laura (27 May 2008). "The Nancies as you've never seen them before: I'd Do Anything trio pose as Madonna". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
- Fletcher, Alex (27 May 2008). "Webber: 'Cameron doesn't want big Nancy'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
- "The Live Final: How the voting will work on Saturday". BBC. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (1 June 2008). "Jodie Prenger wins 'I'd Do Anything'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- "Reviewing the Situation: Final Results, Jodie is Nancy!". BBC. 31 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
- Hyde, Nick (12 June 2008). "Ticket rush to see new West End star Jodie". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
- Powell, David (22 August 2008). "Bryn Terfel looking forward to Faenol Festival". Daily Post. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
- "West End 'Underworld' and Welsh Mafia join Faenol Festival line up" (PDF) (Press release). Faenol Festival. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
- Paddock, Terri (16 March 2010). "Jodie Prenger Joins Spamalot, Rhydian Has War". What's On Stage.com. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
- "Blackpool TV star set to wed". Blackpool Gazette. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- "'I've had to kiss a lot of frogs to find my prince!' West End star Jodie Prenger gets engaged, just days before her father died".