Paul Coia

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Paul Balmoral Coia (born 19 June 1960 in Glasgow) is a Scottish television presenter and continuity announcer who was the first voice on Channel 4.

Early life and career[edit]

Coia was schooled at Merrylee Convent, John Ogilvie Hall and St Aloysius' College and then at the University of Glasgow before going into hospital radio and eventually getting a job as a disc jockey at Radio Clyde. His ambition was to become a dentist but it remained unrealised as his exam results were not to the level required.[1]

In the late 70's a young Paul Coia DJ'd at Paisley Tech students union, now the university of West of Scotland. In the history of Paisley Tech Coia said that he "owed his big break to the Tech's resident DJ, Danny Disco. Coia said, "This guy who looked like a toilet brush with binoculars gave me his soul record collection. I never looked back." In the early 1980s Paul Coia became a continuity announcer for Scottish Television. After dropping his script and continuing by ad libbing, Paul was given his own chat show, ‘Meet Paul Coia’.

In 1982 he joined Channel 4 on its launch, was the first voice heard on air. Unusually for continuity of the time, Coia could also be seen in-vision, usually late-night, especially immediately before closedown. Subsequently, he became a presenter of BBC One's daytime magazine programme, Pebble Mill at One.

During 1987, Coia made his second chat show, this time for Grampian Television The Paul Coia Show which was broadcast as well on Scottish television, and he also made his first gameshow, Split Second.

In 1988 Coia became the host of the BBC gameshow Catchword, memorable for the fact that seemingly every contestant endeavoured to employ the words floccinaucinihilipilification or pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis or antidisestablishmentarianism during their efforts. He has since presented a number of other quizzes on various satellite and cable channels.

Coia took an acting role in an episode of the sitcom Rab C. Nesbitt called 'Holiday', first shown in 1990, in which the Nesbitt family and their neighbours the Cotters go to Fuengirola. He plays an annoyingly upbeat holiday rep called Andy.

He stood in once with his wife, former Miss Great Britain Debbie Greenwood, for Gloria Hunniford's afternoon chat show on Five. Coia and Greenwood also sat in for Derek and Ellen Jameson on the late-night show on BBC Radio 2, and Coia (broadcasting solo) also deputised for other presenters on that station. He is a former Scottish Radio Personality of the Year.

In 2002 Paul created a Quiz show for the BBC, The Enemy Within [2]

Coia can occasionally be seen on the shopping channel QVC in the UK, where he mainly sells mechanical and electronic/audio-visual products.

Coia was a continuity announcer and trail voiceover (all pre-recorded) for the now-defunct digital channel ABC1. He has also been heard on 102.2 Smooth Radio since February 2008. Paul took over the Drivetime show from December 2008 until the end of 2010 after Martin Collins left the station.[3] Since April 2012 he has been a regular weekend presenter on South West London's Radio Jackie. Starting 7 April 2013 he is a Sunday morning presenter for BBC Radio Berkshire.

Personal life[edit]

Coia lives in London with his wife, former QVC presenter Debbie Greenwood. They have two daughters, Annalie and Luisa. He has a twin brother Gerard.

TV shows[edit]

  • Meet Paul Coia (1980 Scottish TV)
  • Pebble Mill at One (1983–86)
  • Six Fifty-five (1983)
  • Zig Zag (BBC Schools programme) 1984-90
  • Domesday Detectives (1986)
  • The Paul Coia Show (Grampian TV. 1987)
  • Split Second (1988)
  • Catchword (1988–1995)
  • Telethon ‘88, 90 & '92 - Host for Scotland.
  • BBC Railwatch (1989) - Correspondent
  • Rab C Nesbitt: 'Holiday' (1990)
  • Garden Party (1990–1991, BBC)
  • Press Your Luck (1991-1992 HTV)
  • Spellbound (1994–1996, Sky one)
  • Don't Drink the Water (1997)
  • Heaven Knows (1997–98)
  • Pull the Other One (1998)
  • Flash in the Pan (1999)


External links[edit]