Penny Smith

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Penny Smith
Penelope Jane Smith

(1958-09-21) 21 September 1958 (age 61)
ResidenceNotting Hill, London, England
OccupationNewsreader, television presenter
Notable credit(s)
Sky News
GMTV (1993–2010)
BBC London 94.9 (2013–2015)
Spouse(s)Tony Birtley (1984 - 1987) ( divorced)

Penelope Jane Smith (born 21 September 1958) is an English television presenter, newsreader and radio presenter. She has presented for Sky News, GMTV, Classic FM, BBC Radio London, and is the current presenter of Weekend Breakfast on Talkradio.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Smith was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, and grew up in Rutland.[3] She attended Uppingham Primary School[4] in Uppingham and the Rutland High School for Girls (later Rutland College) in Oakham.[5]


Smith began her career as a reporter and feature writer on the Peterborough Evening Telegraph in 1977.[6] After four years, she left to backpack through Central and South America and South East Asia where she reported and presented on a current affairs programme for Radio Television Hong Kong. In 1984 she joined Radio Trent as a reporter/presenter and then worked for Central Television as press officer for documentaries and drama.

After that she co-presented Lookaround, the local evening news for Border Television and in 1987 she joined Thames Television to co-present Thames News with Andrew Gardner. Smith left the station toward the end of 1988 to help launch Sky News in February 1989. In April 1993 she joined GMTV where she stayed on the programme until 4 June 2010.[7][8][9]

Smith has also presented Crime Net, Crime File and Crime Fighters for Carlton, Crime Monthly and Most Wanted for LWT, Going for a Song for the BBC and Celebrity for ITV. She also co-presented the 1995 series of The Krypton Factor alongside Gordon Burns. In 2001 she appeared in " Jonathan Creek" "Satan's Chimney"

In 2006, Smith starred in the BBC One show Just the Two of Us. She sang with Curtis Stigers and was eliminated on 3 March. She came fourth. She later appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2006 and several episodes of Have I Got News for You. She also appeared in Garfield 2 when Garfield was watching television. In February 2009, she appeared on the ITV1 daytime programme Loose Women as a panellist on occasion. She was asked to appear at the last moment because of blizzards in London preventing some of the regular panellists from reaching the studio.[citation needed]

In August 2010, she appeared as a panellist on ITV's new show 3@Three.[10]

Since September 2010 she has reviewed the newspapers on ITV's This Morning and is a regular contributor on The Alan Titchmarsh Show.[citation needed]

From 18 October 2010, Smith presented Market Kitchen: Big Adventure alongside Matt Tebbutt (weeknights at 7:00 pm on the Good Food channel).[citation needed]

She presented The Wright Stuff in place of Matthew Wright on Channel 5 30 July 2012.[citation needed]

In July 2010 she presented BBC Radio 2's Kiri Prize, a nationwide hunt to find an opera star.[11]

Smith has also covered the Friday Night Arts Show on BBC Radio 2 when Claudia Winkleman was away.[12]

From January 2013 to January 2016 she co-presented the weekday breakfast show on BBC London 94.9.[13][14]

Smith joined new digital radio station Talk Radio in 2016 presenting her first show on 26 March 2016. She currently present's the weekend breakfast show.[2]


1993 – 2009

On 19 April 1993 she began her career on GMTV as the show's main newsreader, as well as becoming the main presenter of the Reuters News Hour alongside Anne Davies, Matthew Lorenzo and Ross Kelly. In 1998, John Stapleton joined GMTV and then joined Penny as her co-presenter of the Reuters News Hour. In 2000, GMTV rebranded all of their programmes. With the loss of Matt Lorenzo and Ross Kelly, Smith and John Stapleton became the main presenters of the GMTV Newshour, as well as becoming the main newsreaders and relief presenters for GMTV Today. During this period Smith was sent to do travelogues in Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Florida and the Greek Islands, and also interviewed many celebrities like Ali G, Elton John, and Robert Pattinson.[citation needed]

2009 – 2010

In 2009, GMTV had a major relaunch, with all of their programmes rebranding and new studio. This meant that the GMTV Newshour and GMTV Today became GMTV, with Penny and John presenting the first hour of the show. Smith and Stapleton were the first faces and voices of the relaunch. Smith continued to be the main News Reader of GMTV. In July 2009, Kate Garraway went on maternity leave. This meant that Smith would become the show's main presenter alongside Ben Shephard until Garraway's return in October. During this time, Smith was the main relief presenter for GMTV.[citation needed]

In 2010, Smith presented the 9:00 news update from the GMTV newsroom for GMTV with Lorraine. In the Spring of 2010, Smith began to share presenting duties with Helen Fospero until her departure in June.[citation needed]

On 3 March 2010, it had emerged from Smith's Twitter account that she had decided to leave the programme after 17 years of being the main face of the show. This was said to be part of a cost-cutting exercise by ITV. On 4 June 2010, Smith presented her last show.

Other work[edit]

Smith has written for a number of national newspapers and magazines, including a beauty column for "Femail" in the Daily Mail and articles in Essentials magazine, Good Housekeeping, and Woman and Home.

She has produced three yoga videos: Penny Smith's Power Yoga, Penny Smith's Essential Guide to Yoga presented alongside Howard Napper and Penny Smith's Yoga Masterclass.

Personal life[edit]

Smith married journalist Tony Birtley in May 1984 in Grantham, but they divorced in 1987. She counts Rory Bremner and Paul McKenna amongst her ex-boyfriends. Since September 2001, Smith has been in a relationship with the actor Vince Leigh.[15]

Smith lives in Notting Hill, West London.



  • Smith, Penny (4 October 2008). "Diary". The Spectator. 308 (9317): 9. Archived from the original on 22 November 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2008.


  1. ^ "Eastwood-born Penny Smith of GMTV on her new novel". This is Nottingham. 20 November 2008. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Eamonn Holmes signs up for show on talkRADIO". talkRADIO. 6 March 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  3. ^ The TV That Made Me, s1 e17
  4. ^ "Uppingham Church of England Primary School". Uppingham Primary School. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  5. ^ "Penny Smith remembers flushing her sports pants down the loo and hanging out with the bad-girl outlaws" Daily Mail 31 December 2011
  6. ^ "PENNY SMITH: 'I won't give up my day job' – Environment". Peterborough Today. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  7. ^ GMTV stars Penny Smith and John Stapleton leave the sofa in cut backs Mirror, 4 March 2010
  8. ^ Old pro Penny Smith keeps mum on the GMTV sofa after being axed... but tweets: 'Let the partying commence' Mail Online, 4 March 2010
  9. ^ Tears as Penny Smith leaves GMTV BBC News, 4 June 2010
  10. ^ "3@Three Presspack, ITV Press Centre, 26 July 2010".
  11. ^ 'I'm off the sofa at last': Penny Smith on leaving the hot seat at GMTV Mail Online, 6 June 2010
  12. ^ "BBC - Radio 2 announces schedule changes - Media Centre".
  13. ^ Presenter Penny Smith to join BBC London 94.9 FM BBC, 10 December 2012
  14. ^ Plunkett, John (23 October 2015). "Vanessa Feltz to take helm at flagship BBC Radio London show" – via
  15. ^ Richard Barber (7 April 2008). "He's is a puffed-up co-presenter on an ego trip – but GMTV's Penny Smith says the character in her novel is NOT based on Eamonn Holmes". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  16. ^ "Coming Up Next: Penny Smith". Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  17. ^ "After the Break: Penny Smith". Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  18. ^ "Penny Smith at Vipopedia, biography, posters". Vipopedia. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2010.

External links[edit]