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Noel Edmonds

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Noel Edmonds
Noel Edmonds 2006.jpg
Edmonds in 2006
Born Noel Ernest Edmonds
(1948-12-22) 22 December 1948 (age 68)
Ilford, Essex, England
Occupation Broadcaster
Years active 1969–present
Spouse(s) Gillian Slater
(m. 1971; div. 1982)
Helen Soby
(m. 1986; div. 2004)
Liz Davies (m. 2009)[1]
Children 4 daughters
Website http://noel.world/

Noel Ernest Edmonds (born 22 December 1948) is an English television presenter and executive. Edmonds first became known as a disc jockey on BBC Radio 1 in the UK, and has presented light entertainment television programmes for more than forty years. Originally working for the BBC, these have included Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, Top of the Pops, The Late, Late Breakfast Show and Telly Addicts. From 2005 to 2016, he presented the Channel 4 game show Deal or No Deal.

Early life and radio career[edit]

The son of a headmaster who worked in Hainault, London, Edmonds attended Glade Primary School in Clayhall and Brentwood School in Brentwood.[2] He was offered a place at the University of Surrey but turned it down in favour of a job as a newsreader on Radio Luxembourg,[3] which was offered to him in 1968 after he sent tapes to offshore radio stations. In 1969, he moved to BBC Radio 1 where he began by recording trailers for broadcasts and filling in for absent DJs, such as Kenny Everett.[3] In April 1970, Edmonds began his own two-hour Saturday afternoon programme, broadcasting from 1 pm–3 pm, before replacing Everett on Saturday mornings from 10 am–12 noon in July of that year. In October 1971, he was moved to a Sunday morning slot from 10 am–12 noon before being promoted to host The Radio 1 Breakfast Show from June 1973 to April 1978, taking over from Tony Blackburn. Edmonds moved back to Sunday mornings from 10 am–1 pm in 1978 and also presented Talkabout, an hour-long talk show broadcast on Thursday evenings.[4]

Edmonds left Radio 1 in March 1983,[3] although he briefly returned in 1985, sitting in for Mike Read for two weeks on the breakfast show, and again in 1992, where he presented a special edition celebrating Radio 1's 25th birthday.[citation needed]

In 2003, Edmonds made a brief radio comeback, taking over the 'drivetime' broadcast on BBC Radio 2 for eight weeks while Johnnie Walker was treated for cancer. His stint on Radio 2 lasted from 4 August until 3 October.[5] In December 2004, Edmonds played a detective on a radio murder mystery play on local station BBC Radio Devon.[6]

Television career[edit]

Noel Edmonds in May 1976

Edmonds hosted Top of the Pops at various points between 1970 and 1978, during which time he also presented a phone-in programme for teenagers called Z Shed on BBC1 as well as a programme called Hobby Horse. He hosted the children's Saturday morning programme Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, which ran from 1976 until 1982. With the Swap Shop regulars Maggie Philbin and Keith Chegwin Edmonds was a member of the trio Brown Sauce, which recorded the single "I Wanna Be a Winner" in 1981. It reached number 15 in the UK singles chart.[7][8] In 1980 Edmonds took part in the Eurovision Song Contest, introducing the UK entry live on stage at the final in the Hague. During Swap Shop's run Edmonds hosted Lucky Numbers, an evening phone-in quiz programme which required viewers to call in and answer questions based on clips of films shown, and a revival of the 1960s pop music series Juke Box Jury.

Edmonds was one of the original presenters of the BBC's motoring series Top Gear during the late 1970s. During his time on the programme he rubbished the Fiat Strada, saying it "wasn't very good", which caused Fiat to threaten to sue the BBC unless he apologised for the comments.[9] Edmonds reappeared in one episode of Top Gear in the 1990s, to road test the classic 1960s Ford GT40 supercar, because former host Jeremy Clarkson - at 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) tall - was unable to fit into the cockpit. In the 1980s Edmonds hosted a series on BBC1 called The Time of Your Life, in which celebrities recalled the time they were at their happiest professionally. It ran for three series from 1983.

The Late, Late Breakfast Show[edit]

The Late, Late Breakfast Show was Edmonds' first Saturday evening light entertainment show on the BBC. Presented by Noel Edmonds live on Saturday evenings from 4 September 1982 to 8 November 1986, initially with co-host Leni Harper, it also featured Mike Smith and John Peel.

The programme is remembered for several accidents during its regular "Give it a Whirl" stunt slot; in particular the death of Michael Lush. The show was cancelled by the BBC on 15 November 1986, following the death of Lush two days earlier. While rehearsing a bungee jump to be performed live on the show, Michael Lush plunged 120 feet (37 m) to his death when his rope came loose. Noel Edmonds quit the show immediately afterwards.

In late June 1986, Noel hosted "The Noel Edmonds Show" for American Broadcasting Company. The series was a one-week trial week in late night, following Nightline.[10][11][12]

Telly Addicts[edit]

Telly Addicts was a BBC1 game show hosted by Edmonds, broadcast from 3 September 1985 until 29 July 1998. Questions were based on past and present television programmes, and generally took the form of a short clip being shown followed by a series of questions either specifically about the clip or more generally about the programme from which it had been taken. Two teams sat opposite each other on sofas. In 1991 he presented a prime time series called Noel's Addicts, but this show had no similarity to the Telly Addicts format and only ran for one series.

Noel's Saturday Roadshow[edit]

Noel's Saturday Roadshow was Noel's second BBC television light entertainment show, broadcast live on Saturday evenings from 3 September 1988 to 15 December 1990.[13] Presented by Edmonds, it was his first major TV project since the demise of The Late, Late Breakfast Show two years earlier. The programme contained several elements found in its predecessor, such as phone-in quizzes, celebrity interviews and bands performing in the studio. The premise for the new show was that unlike The Late Late Breakfast Show, which had been broadcast from the BBC's studios each week, the Roadshow would come from a new, different and exotic location each week. These 'locations' were in fact elaborate studio sets dressed to resemble each week's location, such as the North Pole, a space station, Hollywood, Niagara Falls. The irony of this was not lost on Edmonds, whose self-deprecating presentation style frequently made light of the low-budget production values.

The programme was a slow-burning success and, following the third series in 1990, Edmonds' popularity and reputation were sufficiently re-established with the public for Edmonds to pitch Noel's House Party to the BBC.

The show introduced regular features such as the Gunge Tank, the Gotcha Oscars and Wait 'Til I Get You Home, which would all be carried across and subsequently developed in House Party. Another item was "Clown court", in which a guest actor from a TV series would be on trial for all the bloopers made during the shooting of that show, for example Sylvester McCoy for the title role of Doctor Who, and Tony Robinson for his character of Baldrick in Blackadder the Third.

Noel's House Party[edit]

Edmonds returned to television with The Noel Edmonds Saturday Roadshow in 1988, after presenting a show called Whatever Next? earlier in the year. By 1991 the Saturday Roadshow morphed into Noel's House Party. This latter series ran for eight years, supposedly from Edmonds' mansion in the fictional town of Crinkley Bottom. Regular features included NTV, in which cameras were secretly hiddenly in viewer's homes, often in VHS tape cases. There was also the "Gotchas", with celebrities caught in elaborate and embarrassing set-up situations.

In one incident NTV's hidden cameras caught celebrity psychic Uri Geller apparently bending a spoon with his hands while demonstrating his "powers" to a member of the public. When then-Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis was "Gotcha'd infamously yelled "You are a dead man!" He later participated when Edmonds himself was "Gotcha'd". Mr Blobby, a pink and yellow spotted character, initially appeared in the "Gotcha" section, and became a regular feature of the programme. The character even achieved the 1993 Christmas No. 1.[14]

Noel's House Party was a staple of BBC1's autumn and spring schedules for more than eight years. Several reformats failed to reverse its declining popularity, and in the final programme, broadcast on 20 March 1999, Edmonds appealed that viewers' memories should be kind to the programme.[15]

Deal or No Deal[edit]

Edmonds made his television comeback, presenting the gameshow Deal or No Deal on Channel 4 (produced by Endemol), from a format that had already proved popular in numerous countries. The programme was recorded in a set of studios in Bristol converted from an old warehouse. It began UK transmission on Monday 31 October 2005, and was broadcast on afternoons six days a week. In March 2006 Edmonds had his contract for presenting Deal or No Deal extended until autumn 2007, for a fee rumoured to be £3 million, making him one of the highest-paid personalities on UK television.[16] Edmonds was recently nominated for a BAFTA award for his work on the programme but lost out on the night to Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.[17]

On 16 March 2007, Edmonds made a cameo appearance as himself in a sketch with Catherine Tate who appeared in the guise of her character Joannie "Nan" Taylor from The Catherine Tate Show. Nan appeared on a special episode of Deal or No Deal, where she ended up cheating. The sketch was made for the BBC Red Nose Day fundraising programme of 2007.[18]

On 27 September 2015, Edmonds received an award from the Atlantic Award Group for his extensive contributions to broadcasting. This selection process was initiated by a nomination by a viewer of "Deal or No Deal". Edmonds is the first TV personality to receive an award from the AAG. He is also the first recipient from the UK in 2015.

On 19 August 2016, Edmonds was informed by Channel 4 that the series was being cancelled. The studio-based version would be axed in the autumn, and further episodes will be shot on tour around the UK at the end of 2016.[19]

The National Lottery: Everyone's A Winner![edit]

On 21 August 2006 it was announced that Edmonds would be returning to the BBC to host a one-off programme called Everyone's A Winner! celebrating National Lottery "good causes". The programme was broadcast on 23 September 2006.[20]

Edmonds had in fact presented the very first National Lottery in 1994 before handing over to Anthea Turner and Gordon Kennedy.[21]

Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old?[edit]

On 24 May 2007 Sky One announced that Edmonds would host the UK version of the American hit Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, titled Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old?. The programme made its debut on Sky One on 7 October 2007, at 6.00 pm. Edmonds hosts the peak-time showing of the programme, whereas the Daily Programme is presented by Dick and Dom.

Noel's HQ[edit]

Sky1's autumn 2008 season saw Edmonds host Noel's HQ, a new live entertainment show with a philanthropic purpose, his fees going to a charitable trust.[22][23] This was later developed into a series. The show received negative reviews.[24] Sky edited a repeat broadcast after Edmonds launched an extended verbal attack on a council press officer.[25] In March 2009 Sky1 announced the cancellation of the show.[26]

Cheap Cheap Cheap[edit]

In 2017 Noel started presenting Cheap Cheap Cheap, a cross between a sitcom and a game show. Noel came up with the concept and Channel 4 commissioned 30 hour-long episodes. The action takes place in 'Noel’s Store' and according to the Radio Times, "contestants are presented with three similar items – be it laundry detergent, noodles, baked beans, coffins, live poultry or lottery tickets – and must identify the cheapest one of the three in order to win money." A cast of actors play workers at the store.[27] Stuart Heritage of The Guardian said that "It's like watching a weird piece of existential Lithuanian amateur community theatre [...] It's the worst idea in the world, stretched out for all eternity".[28] The Daily Telegraph's Ed Power described it as "naff, tacky and numbingly dull" and "mind-bendingly outlandish".[29]

Other television appearances[edit]

Edmonds was involved in the historic Live Aid concerts in 1985, transporting stars to and from the Wembley concert via helicopter and appearing on stage at Wembley to introduce the set by Sting and Phil Collins. Edmonds also took Collins to Heathrow Airport, where Collins boarded Concorde to fly to America to perform at the Philadelphia concert.

Noel's Christmas Presents was an annual broadcast made on Christmas Day in which Edmonds delivered special presents to various people. Some of the gifts included arranging trips to Lapland for ill or disadvantaged children, or arranging family reunions.[30] Noel's Christmas Presents was originally broadcast on BBC One from 1989 until 1999, before it returned to UK screens courtesy of Sky1 on 23 December 2007. Further editions were screened on 21 December 2008, 20 December 2009, 18 December 2010 and 18 December 2011.[31]

In 1997 Edmonds was involved in an episode of the Chris Morris spoof documentary series Brass Eye, in which he unwittingly pledged his allegiance on camera to a campaign to rid the country of a new killer drug, the entirely fictitious 'cake', which apparently made ten seconds appear as a few hours to a user by stimulating part of the brain called Shatner's Bassoon.[32]

The Curse of Noel Edmonds, a documentary tracing the rise and fall of his showbiz career, was transmitted by Five on 9 November 2004, with former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read being one of the contributors to the programme.[33]

He was also a guest host for the fourth-series episode of The Friday Night Project, broadcast on 26 January 2007.[34]

He was visited by Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor in 1993 in the introduction of the 30-year Doctor Who anniversary Children in Need special Dimensions in Time, during which the Doctor (correctly) mentioned that Edmonds would still be on television in the year 2010. In 2014 he appeared in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern as himself.

Business ventures[edit]

Unique Group[edit]

In 1985, Edmonds formed the Unique Group, which now consists of various operations. The Unique Broadcasting Company Media Group plc (UBCMG) is an independent producer of audio programming in the UK, supplying BBC and independent radio. Michael Peacock was an executive of the group between 1989 and 2005, and former Radio 1 controller Johnny Beerling joined the group following his departure from the network in 1993. It owned Classic Gold Digital before selling the stations back to GCap Media who merged them into the Gold network.[35] Edmonds resigned as non-executive director of UBCMG in March 2006 as a direct result of the success of Deal or no Deal.[36] Edmonds also has interests in Unique Motor Company, a producer of small off-road vehicles.[37]

Theme parks[edit]

Edmonds-licensed theme park attractions based on Crinkley Bottom and Mr Blobby were set up in existing parks at Cricket St Thomas in Somerset and Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park in Lowestoft, Suffolk. A park was also built in Morecambe, Lancashire, on the site of the former Happy Mount Park. Following disappointing visitor numbers, and in the case of Morecambe, legal disputes with the local council, the deal was scrapped and the park closed. The two existing parks reverted to their previous state. Edmonds was said to be very critical of Lancaster City Council's management of the Morecambe park.[38] A report by the District Auditor found that the council had behaved 'unlawfully' in its dealings with Edmonds, which cost £2.5m, and two former senior officers were found to have committed 'misconduct', although this was not deemed to be 'wilful'.[39] The affair was dubbed 'Blobbygate' by the media.[40]

Buying the BBC[edit]

In March 2014, Edmonds declared on Newsnight that he was part of a consortium which planned to buy the BBC, because the corporation is "sleepwalking itself to destruction".[41] He said that he did not have a TV licence and watched BBC programmes only on catch-up.[42]

Politics[edit]

Edmonds is a trustee of the Renewable Energy Foundation, (REF)[43] an organisation which is strongly opposed to wind farms. He was said to have joined "because of the threat near his home in Devon".[44] He has been quoted as saying that, "Politicians are promoting the wind industry as a green icon, but they are misleading the public into believing the propaganda of the wind industry. The reality is that wind power is too costly and can never meet our energy needs; but it will destroy the countryside".[45] His view is that those who are promoting wind farms are energy companies with a vested financial interest and that wind turbines are not reliable enough as a source of sustainable energy.[46]

Edmonds also opposes immigration[47] and the BBC's Welsh Language Service.[48]

He coordinated the Heart of Devon campaign to provide information for farmers affected by the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001.[49]

TV licence boycott[edit]

Edmonds claimed that he had stopped payment on his TV licence in early 2008, in response to the sometimes controversial methods used to enforce collection of the licence. Edmonds declared that it is wrong to "threaten" and "badger" people, in response to the collection authority's common assumption that the non-possession of a licence can mean licence evasion, as well as the large fines which can be used as enforcement for non-payment.[50] TV Licensing later claimed that he did possess a valid current TV licence, but this claim was denied by a spokesman for Edmonds who said that TV Licensing had their facts wrong.[51]

Spiritualism[edit]

For many years Edmonds has been a believer in Spiritualism, in particular the concept of cosmic ordering, a subject he became interested in after being introduced to Bärbel Mohr's book The Cosmic Ordering Service - A Guide to Realising Your Dreams by his reflexologist.[52] He had not worked on TV since the end of his BBC TV show Noel's House Party in 1999 and one of his wishes was for a new challenge. Later he was offered the chance to return to TV to work on Deal or No Deal.[53] Edmonds later went on to write his own book[54] titled Positively Happy: Cosmic Ways To Change Your Life.[55][56]

Edmonds said in 2008 that he is constantly accompanied by two melon-sized "spiritual energy" balls, which appear over his shoulders and which he believes to be the spirits of his dead parents. "Orbs are little bundles of positive energy and they think they can move between 500 and 1,000 miles per hour," according to Edmonds. "They look like little round planets but they come in all shapes and sizes."[57] He has asserted that the orbs appear only on digital photographs.[58]

In August 2015, Edmonds gave an interview to the Daily Mirror in which he stated that the greatest problem facing humanity was "electrosmog" due to Wi-Fi and other "systems", causing the destruction of "our natural electro-magnetic fields". He also stated a belief that death was impossible because the body was merely a container for "a universal energy", and that this had "been known for a very long time". When he dies, Edmonds' anticipates that "My energy will return to where it came from - part of a massive, incomprehensible universal web of energy".[59]

EMP Pad[edit]

On 7 June 2016, Edmonds claimed on Twitter that an Electromagnetic Pulse device costing £2,315 was "A simple box that slows ageing, reduces pain, lifts depression and stress and tackles cancer. Yep tackles cancer!".[60][61] Edmonds provoked further criticism after tweeting to a man with kidney cancer, lymph node metastases and psoriatic arthritis that "Scientific fact-disease is caused by negative energy. Is it possible your ill health is caused by your negative attitude? #explore.[61][60] The following day, Edmonds appeared on ITV's This Morning television revealing that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 2013. He claimed that a "very stressful, very negative period" in life had caused his prostate cancer, "I was, I thought, very, very healthy. I know why I got my cancer... the definition of stress is negative energy. It didn't just decide to manifest itself, there was cause". He went on to add "I then had my tumour destroyed by sound waves, proving yet again energy is at the heart of this issue" and reiterated that "I believe pulsed electromagnetism has a role to play in tackling cancer and I will always believe that".[62][63]

In response, the firm responsible for the device, EMP Pad Limited, said it did not agree with his claim "in any way, shape or form", and that they had not paid him in relation to it. While EMP Pad Limited said it did not pay Edmonds to promote the product, the company's owner Maria Robertson, previously worked as an assistant to the TV presenter and acknowledged having known Edmonds for 25 years and having worked with him and his daughter.[61] Cancer Research UK produced an article to reassure the public that "the best studies looking at this topic have failed to show a link between emotional stress and an increased risk of cancer" and that "no reliable evidence has ever been produced that Rife machines – or any similar devices producing low-frequency electromagnetic pulses – have any benefit for cancer patients. Nor have organisations that scrutinise new treatments and devices (like the US Food and Drug Authority or the European Medicines Agency) approved any as a therapy for any type of disease".[64] Dr David Grimes, a cancer researcher at Oxford University, told ‘This Morning’: "It’s not just untrue, it’s patronising and victim blaming, cancer is bad luck... the healthiest people in the world get cancer and it’s not because they are negative".[65] Prof. John Gribben, Chair of Medical Oncology at Queen Mary University of London, said: “This is complete gibberish and undermines all the good work everyone does with evidence-based medicine and targeted approaches".[66] Prof. Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor at the University Of Exeter said “The reason why most of us put ‘negative energy’ in inverted commas is simple: it is a pure figment of the imagination of fantasists. That would not be so bad except that, as we see, some VIPs seem to take this nonsense seriously. The result might be that some desperate patients believe them, and choose the nonsense over the best that real medicine has to offer. And that could hasten deaths.”[66]

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority said that it was "urgently looking into" a complaint made over the claims, because advertising any proven or unproven cancer treatment would violate the Cancer Act 1939 if payments had been made.[60] Later, the ASA said that no rules had been broken.[61] The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said that it was investigating the products available from EMP Pad "to determine whether there are any breaches of the Medical Device Regulations 2002".[61]

Personal life[edit]

Edmonds married Gillian Slater in 1971, but the marriage ended in divorce after eleven years.[2] From July 1986 to 2005, he was married to Helen Soby; the couple have four daughters.[67]

In July 2009 Edmonds married his third wife, Liz Davies, a make-up artist on the programme Deal or No Deal.[68]

Edmonds is a licensed helicopter pilot, and one of his early personal aircraft was registered G-NOEL.[69] He was president of the British Horse Society between 2004 and 2007.[70]

In June 2017 Edmonds said he attempted suicide after fraud by a group of HBOS financiers destroyed his Unique Group business: "Until these criminals took me to the brink of emotional annihilation, I had always felt those who opt out by taking their own lives were selfish and cowardly... But having been cast into that bottomless dark space devoid of logic and reason, I have a much deeper understanding of life without hope... I seek no sympathy and feel no shame in admitting that on the evening of January 18th 2005 I attempted to end the overwhelming mental pain which had consumed my whole being."[71] He also blamed HBOS for his prostate cancer, saying, "I am absolutely sure the negative forces acting on me impacted on my health... There is a wealth of information from various clinical studies of a direct link between stress and cancer... I am absolutely certain there was a link in my case."[72]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jo Clements, Daily Mail, Noel Edmonds shows off his Deal or No Deal make-up artist wife after marrying for third time 24 July 2009
  2. ^ a b Rachel Cooke, The Observer, Noel Edmonds talks to Rachel Cooke, 29 January 2006
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  69. ^ Gill, Rosemary; Crispin Evans (1981). Swap Shop: Book 4. British Broadcasting Corporation. ISBN 0-563-17989-9. 
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