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Mariella Frostrup (born 12 November 1962 in Norway) is a UK-based journalist and television presenter, well known on British television and radio, mainly for arts programmes. Her 'gravelly' voice is often used on television commercials and was once voted the sexiest female voice on television; research has found that Frostrup's voice was one of three voices (narrowed from fifty) best suited to contribute to a Post Office Telecoms study resulting in a "perfect female voice".
Frostrup was born in Oslo, Norway, but moved with her family when she was six to Ireland in 1969, living in Kilmacanogue, a small village near the town of Greystones in County Wicklow. Her Norwegian father, an alcoholic who died aged 44 when she was 15, was a journalist on The Irish Times, and her Scottish mother an artist. She has four siblings, including a sister who was believed to be the incorrect age for a decade, until her birth certificate was discovered whilst moving house.
After the death of her father, in 1977 she moved to London. There, she worked as a public relations executive for Phonogram Records between 1980 and 1990; coordinated the publicity for the Live Aid concert at Wembley in 1985; and, after leaving Phonogram, started television work as a presenter and film critic.
She also presented Thames Television's Video View from 1990 and, after Thames lost the London ITV franchise, reprised the role straight afterwards on The Little Picture Show for Carlton Television from 1993.
Frostrup has interviewed many celebrities, writers and artists and has presented a variety of television programmes, including one on travel, and has appeared in other television shows such as the series Have I Got News for You and the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. She made several guest appearances as herself in the series Coupling, including an episode where one of the characters fantasizes about her, then meets her in person. She has also appeared in fictionalised form in Michael Paraskos's novel In Search of Sixpence.
She has written for The Telegraph as a Travel writer, The Guardian, The Observer, The Mail on Sunday, Harpers & Queen and the New Statesman. She is also an art critic and has been on the judging panels for the Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Evening Standard British Film Awards.
In 2008, Frostrup received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from Nottingham Trent University in recognition of her contribution and commitment to journalism and broadcasting.
She presented the BBC Radio 2 show The Green Room and is the regular presenter of BBC Radio 4 programme Open Book, interviewing authors and publishers and reviewing new fiction and non-fiction books. As the presenter of The Book Show on Sky Arts 1, she interviewed an extensive list of guests on their recent works and their "favourite heroes and heroines from fiction". The show was cancelled in 2013.
She also is the voice in lifts on the London Overground.
Frostrup's political views have been described as "a bit left-of-centre". She has been active in the charity sector for two decades, having worked on Bank Aid and Comic Relief along with various fundraising initiatives for Oxfam, The Children's Society and Save the Children. Campaigning for women's rights and gender equality has become her main focus; she has recently made several trips to Africa to meet women and young girls in their communities, and experience first hand the realities and inequalities of the lives that they lead.
In 2010 she created, along with three other trustees, the Gender Rights and Equality Action Trust. This foundation aims at fostering gender equality and raising awareness and funds, to support grass roots gender equality projects in Africa and beyond. The GREAT Initiative works in partnership with Femmes Africa Solidarité, an African charity.
In 2015 she signed an open letter which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures for; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the African Union in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation.
Frostrup was first married (1979–1984) to Richard Jobson, former lead singer with the punk rock group Skids. On a charity trek in Nepal, aged 39, Frostrup met human rights lawyer Jason McCue. They married two years later. They live near Bruton, Somerset (with a flat in London), and have two children.
- "Jordan – Surprise Entry in Sexy Poll". ShowBiz. BSkyB. 19 May 2005. Archived from the original on 27 April 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
- "Formula 'secret of perfect voice'". News. BBC. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
- The TV That Made Me s2 e5, 11 March 2016
- Mariella Frostrup: "When I order herring on Norway, why does it feel as if I have asked for crack cocaine?", The Guardian, Sunday, 18 April 2010.
- Mariella Frostrup: "Mariella Frostrup: Everyone's best friend (especially George Clooney)", 'The Independent, Sunday, 06 July 2008.
- Was It Something I Said?. Season 1. Episode 1x03. 20 October 2013. Channel 4.
- Season 2, Episode 2 My Dinner in Hell, TV.com
- Michael Paraskos, In Search of Sixpence (London: Friction Fiction) (ISBN 9780992924782)
- Assinder, Nick (26 September 2007). "Gordon the tease melts Mariella". News. BBC. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
- Burrell, Ian (21 May 2007). "Television Arts: Move over, Melvyn". The Independent. Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
- Tracy McVeigh. "Poverty is sexist: leading women sign up for global equality | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- Lucy Cavendish Published: 12:01AM BST 1 April 2007 (1 April 2007). "Gina Genie". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
- Frostrup, Mariella – Dear Mariella: an Indispensable Guide to Twenty-First Century Living – Bloomsbury, 2004 ISBN 978-0-7475-7441-5